Eric Boehlert dies at 57
I heard the news at another friend’s funeral. Which I guess is the way things are going in this year of our Lord 2022, even though it is increasingly evident that the Lord is taking away this year, out of mercy. Eric Boehlert, who forged a career as one of the only media critics who really mattered, was killed while riding his bicycle in his beloved New Jersey suburb. He was 57, but his mind was decades younger and his wisdom decades older, and so it was.
I first noticed this when I had a gig in what we now call mainstream media. (I admit, until his death, I never knew that Eric had worked for Billboard.) He was a loud and clear voice against all the free passes given to the Avignon presidency in the long wake of 9/11. He was also one of the people who first implanted in me the thought that people who write on Intertoobz seem to be the only people who write and have fun at all. I found that to be largely true as I wandered along the path.
He was gloriously unimpressed with reputations. He was the implacable enemy of journalistic laziness in all its forms, especially as expressed through access journalism and the editorial heresy of Both Siderism. Take it overall, it was sort of a proud throwback to what journalism should be. It hurts me as a professional to know that a lot of famous yahoos are going to have a freer ride now that he’s gone, although I’m sure the likes of Dan Froomkin and Margaret Sullivan – and, in his own way, this shebeen — will continue his work as best as we all can.
We were friends, always happy to see each other at one gathering or another, every other year 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 one another, by being attentive and skeptical readers, and by doing all we can to support the true craft of journalism so that, in doing so, we can help save our poor republic. injured. Sail away, brother. Sail on.
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