Eric Boehlert: He Offered Blistering Takedowns and Analysis of Media

From a Washington Post obit by Elahe Izadi headlined “Liberal media critic Eric Boehlert dies in bicycle collision”:

Eric Boehlert, a liberal critic who offered blistering takedowns and analysis of mainstream and conservative media, died Monday in a bicycle collision in his New Jersey hometown. He was 57.

“Through his journalism, social media, books, and appearances on CNN and MSNBC, Eric was a fierce defender of democracy, social justice and truth in media,” Boehlert’s family said. “He was fearless and brilliant in his investigation of hypocrisies and double standards in the media, and his contribution was priceless.”

Boehlert’s wife, Tracy Breslin, told the Bergen Record her husband was the cyclist that N.J. Transit said was struck by a train on Monday night.

News of Boehlert’s death provoked an outpouring of grief online from friends and fans of his media criticism, which started appearing in liberal publications such as Media Matters for America, Daily Kos and Salon in the mid 2000s, before he later became prominent on social media and cable news.

“Adored his kids Jane and Ben, his dogs, biking and running and basketball and good friends, a fierce and fearless defender of the truth,” veteran journalist Soledad O’Brien wrote on Twitter. “Eric was an amazing friend. He fought to rescue journalism and democracy, which need saving.”

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch said he knew Boehlert for more than a decade, and called him “one of the great human beings in journalism — just a good-natured dad, sports lover and outdoorsman who also happened to be a relentless pit bull in the public arena in calling out misinformation or shoddy work in the media, whether it was his bête noire, Fox News, or often at mainstream outlets like the New York Times.”

Hillary Clinton tweeted: “I’m devastated for his family and friends and will miss his critical work to counteract misinformation and media bias. What a loss.”

Boehlert covered the music industry for Rolling Stone and Billboard early in his career, before he turned his attention to media criticism. He contributed to the liberal media watchdog Media Matters for more than a decade starting in the mid-2000s and also worked as a senior writer for Salon and a media critic at Daily Kos. He took aim at both right-wing media and mainstream outlets for what he saw as their failings, and in early 2020 he started his own liberal newsletter called Press Run because, as he wrote, “we can’t fix America if we don’t fix the press.”

“When a radical White House player is eagerly chipping away at our freedoms and the Constitution, we need the press to stand up to the unprecedented challenge at hand — a press corps that doesn’t wallow in ‘Both Sides’ journalism as a way to escape the wrath from Republicans,” he wrote in February 2020….

While N.J. Transit would not confirm that Boehlert was the victim, the agency reported a passenger train struck and killed a cyclist at about 9:40 p.m. on Monday near Watchung Avenue station in Montclair.

Breslin told the Record that she didn’t know specifics about her husband’s accident but said Boehlert often biked at night around Montclair, with lights and protective clothing.

She added that Boehlert was active in community organizations and “loved living in Montclair,” a town about 20 miles outside of New York City. “This was his spot,” she said.

The N.J. Transit Police Department is leading the investigation, which is ongoing.

Elahe Izadi covers media for The Washington Post. She joined The Post in 2014 as a general assignment reporter, and has covered pop culture, Congress, demographics and breaking news.
Also see the New York Times obit by Katie Robertson headlined “Eric Boehlert, Media Critic and Writer, Dies at 57.” The opening grafs:

Eric Boehlert, a veteran journalist who was a fierce critic of right-wing misinformation and hypocrisy in the news media, died on Monday in New Jersey. He was 57.

Mr. Boehlert was struck by a New Jersey Transit train while riding his bicycle near the Watchung Avenue station in Montclair. His death was confirmed by his wife, Tracy Breslin.

A frequent commentator on television and radio, as well as a prolific writer, Mr. Boehlert never shied away from searing critiques of what he saw as bias in the mainstream press and the circular impact of media on politics.

After more than a decade as a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media monitoring group, Mr. Boehlert had in recent years started his own newsletter, Press Run, as a vehicle for his commentary.

“I’m devastated for his family and friends and will miss his critical work to counteract misinformation and media bias,” Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Born in Utica, N.Y., Mr. Boehlert spent some of his childhood in Indiana before his family moved to Guilford, Conn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Early in his career, Mr. Boehlert covered the music industry at Billboard and Rolling Stone, before becoming a staff writer at Salon. In 2006, he joined Media Matters.

“His passing is a real loss for truth and will leave a void in the broader media landscape,” the group wrote in a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

Mr. Boehlert was the author of two nonfiction books: “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush,” published in 2006, and “Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press,” published in 2009.

After a stint as a media writer for the website Daily Kos, Mr. Boehlert started Press Run in 2020, which he described as “an unfiltered, passionate and proudly progressive critique of the political press in the age of Trump.”…

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