The following item was written by Peter Dreier for the blog Talking Union:
“Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post’s editorial page editor, has fired columnist Harold Meyerson, one of the nation’s finest journalists and perhaps the only self-proclaimed socialist to write a weekly column for a major American newspaper during the past decade or two.
“At a time when America is experiencing an upsurge of progressive organizing and activism—from Occupy Wall Street, to Black Lives Matter, to the growing movement among low-wage workers demanding higher minimum wages, to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president—we need a regular columnist who can explain what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what it means.
“More than any other columnist for a major U.S. newspaper, Meyerson provided ongoing coverage and incisive analysis of the nation’s labor movement and other progressive causes as well as the changing economy and the increasing aggressiveness of big business in American politics. He was one of the few columnists in the country who knew labor leaders and grassroots activists by name, and who could write sympathetically and knowledgeably about working people’s experiences in their workplaces and communities.
“Since Steve Greenhouse retired last year as the New York Times’ brilliant labor reporter, no other major paper has a reporter who covers unions and working people on a full-time basis. Now with Meyerson’s firing, there’s not one weekly columnist who understands the ins and outs of organized (and disorganized) labor.
“ED note: There are numerous posts by Meyerson on this blog.
“If Meyerson was a European, his views would be considered those of a left-of-center social democrat, but hardly radical. Many European newspapers would welcome his views as fitting within the normal spectrum of political discourse. But in the United States, a weekly columnist for a major newspaper who defines himself or herself as a “democratic socialist” is not simply a rarity, it is now—with Hiatt’s firing of Meyerson—an extinct species.
“And how ironic is this timing? For the first time in more than half a century, Americans are having a conversation about ‘socialism,’ thanks in large measure to the Sanders insurgency. Even more ironic, Hiatt gave Meyerson the boot the same week that Michael Moore—who could be thought of as Meyerson with a camera—released his newest documentary film, Where To Invade Next, that explores different European social policies that make those societies more humane and livable. This is exactly the kind of thing that Meyerson’s been writing about in the Washington Post for 13 years. . . .”
The complete post on the Talking Union blog is available at: https://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/washington-post-fires-labor-writer-harold-meyerson/#more-26351
Peter Dreier is professor of politics and chair of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books).