In memory of Eric Boehlert
The relentless media critic was a powerful force. Losing him is an enormous loss.
It was crushing news yesterday when we learned of the death of our friend Eric Boehlert, the media critic whose PressRun newsletter here on Substack cut through the lies, deception and access journalism that has dominated mainstream press. He was vital and unrelenting in a time when Trumpism is still growing while much of the media continues to give the GOP a pass as they harshly critique President Biden, playing “both sides” games.
Eric exposed it all, unapologetically and prolifically.
Eric, who was 57 and leaves his wife, Tracy Breslin, and two adult children, Jane and Ben, died in a biking accident in his hometown of Montclair, New Jersey Monday night when he was struck by a commuter train.
My producer, Matthew McDonough, knew something was not right as we’d been trying to contact him Tuesday to come on my SiriusXM program. Eric came on the show regularly and was so much a part of the SiriusXM Progress family. He’d been working as a journalist and media critic for many years, taking on the right — and the media double standards — throughout the Bush era and beyond.
Eric was at Billboard and Rolling Stone in his early career, covering the pop music world, one of his loves (and which he also continued in his newsletter). He then moved on to political analysis and media criticism, doing stellar reporting at Salon. He later joined Media Matters for America as a senior fellow for 10 years, before moving on to Daily Kos.
And then in 2020 he began PressRun, where I believe he was doing his best work, free of the time and other constraints of editors and the pressures of publishers, and passionately, incisively taking on the press in piece after piece, which he emailed to subscribers all week. He built the newsletter into a must-read for progressives and media figures.
Eric in fact encouraged me to start this newsletter in the months after he began PressRun. He was a generous friend, and believed we needed as many voices as possible, on as many platforms as possible.
I know the listeners to my SiriusXM show were among his many readers because in those early days of his newsletter he’d tell me how amazed he was at the number of subscribers who signed up every time he came on the show. But that was also because Eric was so mesmerizing in his critique of the media when he came on the show, someone who made you yell, “yes, yes, yes!” when you heard him — and you always wanted to hear more.
Eric’s very last piece was “Why is the press rooting against Biden?” and I’m so glad he wrote that because now when people are reading the obituaries and click through to his newsletter they’re able to see his criticisms of the very media that is writing about him — from the New York Times and CNN to the Washington Post and Fox News.
Whenever he came on the show I connected with Eric in that way in which we were both reading one another’s minds, just throwing out ideas almost ahead of each other as we’re talking. And he made me laugh. He saw the absurdity of much of the Washington press corp, chasing clicks and ratings, and mocked them mercilessly for their ridiculousness.
We lost someone who was doing powerful work. I encourage you all to go to PressRun and read his pieces, if you haven’t — and read them again. Eric had a very simple message for the media: Do better. In his memory, that’s a message we should all take to the media every day.