Eric Boehlert, a writer and a left-wing journalist who criticized misinformation campaigns led by prominent figures on the right, was tragically killed in a train accident on Monday.
“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,” Eric Boehlert’s family wrote in a statement released on Wednesday. “He was fearless and brilliant in his investigation of hypocrisies and double standards in the media, and his contribution was priceless. Eric was filled with vibrant enthusiasms and interests in life as a loving husband, father, sibling, uncle, and friend. We will miss him always.”
Boehlert’s wife, Tracy Breslin, broke the news of her husband’s train accident to local Bergen Record reporters. He is survived by his two children–Jane and Ben.
“Eric was brilliant and funny and kind,” his wife said. “He was an amazing father to Jane and Ben, present their entire lives.”
Jane Boehlert, his daughter, stated that he was a “magnificent father” and an “incredible person.”
“We already miss him deeply,” his daughter told reporters.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Eric Boehlert went on write about the music industry for outlets such as Billboard, Rolling Stone, and Salon. In 2006, he became a full-time staff writer at Media Matters, a left-leaning non-profit organization and media watchdog group.
“We are better for having known and worked with such a thoughtful, fearless and passionate media critic,” Media Matters said in an official statement. “Eric’s sharp wit and bright insight shone through in his fierce writing… he was direct and unsparing on social media, he was equally as warm, inspiring, and helpful to his colleagues.”
“We ask that you keep Eric and his family in your thoughts,” the organization continued.
Eric Boehlert would go on write for his own newsletter, Press Run, writing that “we can’t fix America if we don’t fix the press.”
Warm memories and messages of grief flooded social media following the news of his passing, including statements from prominent figures such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, and former The Daily Show host John Stewart.
“I’m devastated for his family and friends and will miss his critical work to counteract misinformation and media bias,” Hillary Clinton tweeted. “What a loss.”
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch also told The Washington Post that he knew Eric Boehlert for over a decade, and called him “one of the great human beings in journalism.”
“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,” he said, “whether it was his bête noire, Fox News, or often at mainstream outlets like the New York Times.”
Eric Boehlert also published two non-fiction books during his lifetime, such as 2006’s Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush and 2009’s Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press.
Richard Abate, Mr. Boehlert’s literary agent, said that Eric was “a fierce defender of democracy, social justice and truth in media.”
“He was the most kindest, gentlest, warmest, lovingest person I’ve known,” he stated, “and at the same time he was an absolute fierce warrior when it came to fighting injustice.”