Howard Fineman Dies: Journalist And TV Political Analyst Was 75

Howard Fineman Dies: Journalist And TV Political Analyst Was 75

UPDATED: Howard Fineman, the journalist, columnist and television commentator known for his keen insight and analysis on all things politics, has died at age 75.

Fineman passed away on Tuesday night after a longtime battle with pancreatic cancer, his wife, Amy Nathan, wrote on his X/Twitter social media account.

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Fineman was a ubiquitous presence as an analyst and commentator on NBC News and MSNBC, supplementing his longtime career at Newsweek, at a time when the newsmagazine was at its zenith in influence.

At Newsweek, he was the publication’s political correspondent, senior editor and deputy bureau chief, and also penned a regular political column, an insider’s take that often took on a campaign’s preferred narrative. His work included numerous cover stories, including President George W. Bush’s first extensive interview after 9/11 and another cover story, “Bush and God“, was part of a package that won a National Magazine Award.

After The Washington Post announced the sale of Newsweek, he joined The Huffington Post as global editorial director, reflecting journalism’s shift toward digital.

Fineman also was a regular panelist on Washington Week in Review on PBS from 1983 to 1995, and on CNN’s The Capital Gang Sunday from 1995 to 1998.

Fineman continued to publish commentaries and provide political analysis in recent years. A piece in The New York Times in 2018 reflected on the shooting massacre of the Tree of Life synagogue, where he went as a child growing up in Pittsburgh.

He wrote, “My response is grief, of course, and the immediate realization that this horror is part of a larger pattern of mayhem and hatred in America and around the world. Churches, minority communities, gay nightclubs, politicians and journalists are threatened. We live in an age of assault rifles, pipe bombs and bone saws.

“But I also have to admit — and am grieved to admit — that the mass murder at Tree of Life has shaken my perhaps naïve faith in this country, one that I began developing as a boy growing up in Pittsburgh.”

Fineman also taught at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication, where one of his guest lecturers was Joe Biden.

Fineman started his career at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, where he covered state politics as well as the region’s coal industry and environment. He joined the paper’s Washington bureau in 1978, and to Newsweek in 1980.

Fineman’s book, The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country, was published in 2008.

In addition to his wife, Fineman is survived by daughter Meredith, son Nick and daughter-in-law Summer.

Nathan wrote, “He valiantly battled pancreatic cancer for 2 years. He couldn’t have been adored more. The world was a better place because he lived in it and wrote about it.”

Former Sen. Al Franken wrote, “I knew Howard as a loyal friend with a ready laugh and a deep understanding of our nation’s history. And as a husband and father who was proud of his kids, Meredith and Nick, and loved his wife Amy. May his memory be a blessing for all of us who knew and loved him.”

Biden released a statement, in which he called Fineman “one of the great journalists of our time.”

Biden said, “His career covered much of mine, and throughout the debates over big issues and historic campaigns, I respected his reporting and insights whether I agreed or disagreed with him.
“Where I believe all politics is personal, Howard believed all journalism is personal. No matter the issue or who he was interviewing, he always thought about the people he grew up with in his cherished Pittsburgh, or where he first started as a reporter in Louisville. 
“He understood the fundamental role of journalism in our democracy is to illuminate, educate, and shed light. With his focus on the facts and ability to tell a great story, it’s no surprise why Howard was a trusted and respected voice for millions of Americans, and true friend and mentor to countless colleagues.”


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