Media critic, writer for Salon, Media Matters and founder of Press Run, Eric Boehlert died in a tragic bike accident earlier this week. Most of us on the web knew him through his writing and his familiar face on cable news. He always began his posts with Be healthy. Be kind. We felt like we knew him, personally, though we never met. Of all the articles marking his death, Charles P. Pierce and Chris Hayes expressed his loss best.
I got the news at the funeral of another friend. Which, I suppose, is the way things go in this year of our Lord 2022, even though it’s increasingly obvious that The Lord is taking this year off, mercy-wise. Eric Boehlert, who fashioned for himself a career as one of the only media critics who really mattered, was killed while riding his bike through his beloved New Jersey suburbs. He was 57, but his spirit was decades younger and his wisdom was decades older, and that’s just the way that was, too.
I first came to notice him back when I had a gig at what we now call the mainstream media. (I confess, until his passing, I never knew Eric had worked for Billboard.) He was a clear, clarion voice against all the free passes given out to the Avignon Presidency in the long wake of 9/11. He also was one of the people who first implanted in me the thought that the people writing on the Intertoobz seemed to be the only people writing who were having any fun at all. I have found this largely to be true as I’ve wandered along the way.
He was gloriously unimpressed by reputations. He was the implacable foe of journalistic laziness in all its forms, especially as expressed through access journalism and the reportorial arch-heresy of Both Siderism. Take him all in all, he was something of a proud throwback to what the craft of journalism ought to be. It pains me as a professional to know that a lot of famous yahoos are going to get a freer ride now that he’s gone, although I feel certain that the likes of Dan Froomkin and Margaret Sullivan—and, in its own little way, this shebeen—will carry on his work as best we all can.
We were friends, always happy to see each other at one gathering or another, every couple of years or so. May his memory be a blessing to his wife, Tracy Breslin, and to their children, Jane and Ben. And let us remember him by being kind to each other, and by being careful and skeptical readers, and by doing all we can to support the true craft of journalism so that, having done so, we can help save our poor, wounded republic. Sail on, brother. Sail on.
.@chrislhayes: “In addition to his insightful work, Eric Boehlert was also unfailingly kind, gentle, sweet person beloved by those who worked with him, those who admired his work, and of course, most of all by his wife and two children he leaves behind. I learned a lot from him.” pic.twitter.com/EPyF7hTm55
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) April 8, 2022
May the Goddess guide Eric on his road the the Summerlands. May his family and all his friends find peace. Blessed Be. The Wheel turns.
TMC for ek hornbeck