Frederick Samuel Hiatt (April 30, 1955 – December 6, 2021) was an American journalist. He was the editorial page editor of The Washington Post, where he oversaw the newspaper's opinion pages and wrote editorials and a biweekly column.[1] He was part of the Post team that won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.[2]

Fred Hiatt
Speaking at the 2013 National Book Festival
Frederick Samuel Hiatt

(1955-04-30)April 30, 1955
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedDecember 6, 2021(2021-12-06) (aged 66)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materHarvard University
  • Journalist
  • editor
Years active1977–2021
Known forEditorial page editor, The Washington Post (1999–2021)
Margaret Shapiro
(m. 1984)

Early and personal life edit

Hiatt was born in Washington, D.C.,[1] the son of Howard Hiatt, a medical researcher,[3] and Doris Bieringer, a librarian who co-founded a reference publication for high school libraries.[4] Both of his parents came from Jewish families. Hiatt grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, after his father was named dean of the Harvard School of Public Health.[5]

Many relatives of his paternal grandfather were killed during the Holocaust.[6] His maternal grandfather, Walter H. Bieringer, served as president of the United Service for New Americans which helped to resettle European Jews in the United States after World War II,[7] and served as vice-president of the Associated Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as a member of a presidential committee which advised the Truman Administration on displaced persons before being named Head of Massachusetts Commission on Refugees in 1957.[8][7] He graduated from Harvard University in 1977, where he wrote at least 22 articles for The Harvard Crimson.[9][1] Hiatt was married to Washington Post editor and writer Margaret "Pooh" Shapiro from 1984 until his death;[5][10][11] the couple lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and had three children.[1][12]: 241 

Death edit

Hiatt had a history of heart disease.[5] On November 24, 2021, he was hospitalized after going into cardiac arrest in New York City, where he was visiting his daughter. He never regained consciousness and died on December 6, at the age of 66.[13][14]

Career edit

Reporter edit

Hiatt first reported for The Atlanta Journal and The Washington Star. When the latter ceased publication in 1981, Hiatt was hired by The Washington Post. At the Post, Hiatt initially reported on government, politics, development and other topics in Fairfax County and statewide in Virginia. Later, after joining the newspaper's national staff, he focused on military and national security affairs. From 1987 to 1990, he and his wife served as co-bureau chiefs of the Post's Tokyo bureau. Following this, from 1991 to 1995, the couple served as correspondents and co-bureau chiefs in Moscow.[14]

Editorial page editor edit

In 1996, Hiatt joined The Post's editorial board. In 1999 Hiatt was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for what the prize committee called "his elegantly-written editorials urging America's continued commitment to international human rights issues."[15] In 2000, following the death of long-time editor Meg Greenfield and a short interim editorship under Stephen S. Rosenfeld, Hiatt was named editorial page editor.[1]

The Post's editorial board prior to Hiatt's appointment was described by then-editor Meg Greenfield as collectively having "the sensibility of 1950s liberals," by which she meant that it was generally conservative on foreign policy and national defense and generally liberal on social issues.[16]

Under Hiatt's editorship, the Post added many new columnists of varying ideologies, including Eugene Robinson and Kathleen Parker (both of whom won Pulitzer Prizes for their Post work),[14] Anne Applebaum, Michael Gerson, Ruth Marcus and Harold Meyerson. Hiatt also intensified the online presence of The Washington Post's opinions sections with the addition of bloggers such as Greg Sargent, Jennifer Rubin, Alexandra Petri, and Jonathan Capehart.[17]

During this time The Post also assumed traditionally conservative positions on several major issues: economically, it defended a Republican initiative to allow Social Security personal retirement accounts, and advocated for several free trade agreements. On environmental issues, The Post supported the controversial Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline, and Hiatt himself came under fire for refusing to hold Post columnist George F. Will accountable for misrepresenting scientific evidence in a column[18] in which Will attacked the veracity of global warming. The column drew criticism from several other Post columnists, The Post's scientific reporters, and The Post's ombudsman, as well as from environmental scientists and climatologists.[19][20][21]

Several media commentators expressed the view that The Post's editorial position under Hiatt moved towards a neoconservative position on foreign policy issues. It supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq; according to PBS journalist Bill Moyers, the paper published 27 editorials in favor of the war in the six months preceding the invasion.[22] Human rights attorney Scott Horton in a blog post for Harper's Magazine, writes that Hiatt presided over a "clear trend" towards neoconservative columnists.[23] Jamison Foser, a senior fellow at the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America, said that The Post's editorial stance under Hiatt is now neoconservative on foreign affairs and is no longer liberal on many domestic issues.[24] News anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews stated on his program Hardball that The Post is "not the liberal newspaper it was", but became a "neocon newspaper".[25] Andrew Sullivan, a conservative political blogger for The Atlantic wrote, in response to the sacking of Dan Froomkin, "The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing."[26] According to Fox News commentator James Pinkerton, the editorial page of The Post had transformed from a liberal voice into a top ally of the Bush administration in its efforts to invade Iraq: "Remember the days when the Washington Post was the enemy of the Republican administration in the White House? Those days are gone. Today, the neoconservative voice of the Post's editorial page is one of President Bush's most valuable allies."[27]

The former op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal, Tunku Varadarajan, now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, placed Hiatt fifth in his list of "The Left's Top 25 Journalists" for The Daily Beast[28] and third in the similar list he coauthored for Forbes magazine.[29] Matthew Cooper, White House editor of National Journal magazine, writes that Hiatt "is a bete noir for many liberals because of, among other things, the paper's support of the Iraq War."[30]

The National Journal reported in November 2014, that Hiatt had offered his resignation to Jeff Bezos, the new owner of The Post, but had been retained.[30]

An editorial Hiatt edited on the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot was part of the package that won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.[2] He died before he could receive the honor.

Speaker and moderator edit

Hiatt was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations,[31] a foreign-policy think tank, and presided over events hosted by the organization.

In December 2009, Hiatt was a featured speaker at the Tokyo Foundation conference entitled "Japan after the Change: Perspectives of Western Opinion Leaders".[32] In October 2010, he moderated a panel on US-Russia relations at the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy think tank. In 2011, he was a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival,[33] and a moderator of the "Asianomics" session of the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea.[34]

Novelist edit

Hiatt wrote The Secret Sun: A Novel of Japan, which was published in 1992, as well as two books for children, If I Were Queen of the World (1997)[35] and Baby Talk (1999).[1] In April 2013, his first novel for young adult audiences, Nine Days, was published. It follows two fictional teenagers on a journey to free an imprisoned Chinese dissident; while the protagonists are fictional, the prisoner and his story are based in reality.[12]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Biography: Fred Hiatt". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Remarks: The Washington Post celebrates the 2022 Pulitzer Prize Awards". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  3. ^ DeJohn, Kristin (Fall 2008). "Bridging the healthcare divide: Dr. Howard Hiatt's lifelong mission to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare" (PDF). Brigham and Women's Hospital Profiles in Medicine. Retrieved December 11, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Marquard, Bryan (October 5, 2007). "Doris Hiatt, at 83; saw the value of paperbacks for teens". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Seelye, Katharine Q. (December 6, 2021). "Fred Hiatt, Washington Post Editorial Page Editor, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  6. ^ Howard, Hiatt. "Family peregrination ends in the USA". Web of Stories. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Walter Bieringer, 90; Helped War Refugees". The New York Times. June 20, 1990.
  8. ^ "Bieringer Named Head of Massachusetts Commission on Refugees". Jewish Telegraph Agency. August 15, 1957. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  9. ^ Hiatt, Fred. "Fred Hiatt". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  10. ^ Handy, Bruce (June 1988). "When Bad Things Happen to Ambitious People". Spy Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  11. ^ "Myron J. Shapiro 1921-2014". The Star-Ledger. September 28, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Hiatt, Fred (2013). Nine Days. Random House LLC. ISBN 9780385742733.
  13. ^ "Fred Hiatt, Who Edited the Washington Post's Opinion Section, Has Died". Washingtonian. December 6, 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Schudel, Matt (December 6, 2021). "Fred Hiatt, Washington Post editorial page editor, dies at 66". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  15. ^ "1999 Finalists". The Pulitzer Prizes/Columbia University. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  16. ^ Smith, J. Y. (May 14, 1999). "Post Editor, Newsweek Columnist Meg Greenfield Dies". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "The 60-second interview: Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor, The Washington Post". POLITICO Media.
  18. ^ Will, George F. (February 15, 2009). "Dark Green Doomsayers". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  19. ^ Otto, Dylan. "Steve Mufson latest Post employee to distance self from Hiatt/Will". Skepticism Examiner.
  20. ^ "WaPo Reporter Disses Editorial Page Over George Will". Energy Information Administration 2009 Energy Conference. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  21. ^ Brainard, Curtis (February 26, 2009). "The George Will Affair: Post stands by climate column despite widespread criticism; clamor spills over to The New York Times". The Columbia Journalism Review.
  22. ^ Moyers, Bill (April 25, 2007). "Buying the War". Bill Moyers' Journal, PBS. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  23. ^ Horton, Scott (June 19, 2009). "WaPo Loses Its Top Web Columnist". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  24. ^ Foser, Jamison (February 19, 2010). "The myth of the "liberal" Washington Post opinion pages". Media Matters for America. Retrieved June 19, 2010.
  25. ^ "'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for March 23 - Hardball with Chris Matthews". NBC News. March 26, 2007. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
  26. ^ Sullivan, Andrew (June 2009). "The WaPo's Best Blogger Is Fired". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  27. ^ Pinkerton, James P. (August 4, 2004). "The Washington Post's creeping hawkishness Once it challenged Nixon. Now the supposedly liberal paper is attacking Kerry for not fully embracing Bush's Iraq war". Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  28. ^ Herbert, Gerald (February 16, 2010). "The Left's Top 25 Journalists". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  29. ^ Tunku Varadarajan, Elisabeth Eaves and Hana R. Alberts. "In Depth: The 25 Most Influential Liberals In The U.S. Media". Forbes. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  30. ^ a b Cooper, Matthew. "Behind the Jeff Bezos Curtain at The Washington Post". National Journal. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
  31. ^ "Transcript: Accountability vs. Impunity: The Role of the International Criminal Court". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  32. ^ "Japan after the Change: Perspectives of Western Opinion Leaders". The Tokyo Foundation. December 22, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  33. ^ "Aspen Ideas Festival: Fred Hiatt". The Aspen Institute. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  34. ^ "World Knowledge Forum". World Knowledge Forum. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  35. ^ Fred Hiatt (1997), If I Were Queen of the World, Margaret K. McElderry Books: "If I were queen of the whole wide world, I'd have one hundred lollipops a day and never have to share. But sometimes I'd let my little brother have a lick or two."

External links edit