“Born in the year of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest electoral triumph, William Greider was in many senses the last New Dealer,” Nichols continued. “His death, at age 83, represents a stark loss for American journalism. And for those of us who knew his great generosity of spirit and intellect.”
Eric Etheridge, who edited Greider’s column for Rolling Stone in the early 1990s, shared a story about the journalist’s persistence in a series of tweets Thursday:
In a 2015 column for The Nation that subsequently appeared on Common Dreams, Greider wrote that the country was facing a stark choice between an ascendant Donald Trump in the Republican Party and the promise presented by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the early months of his first presidential run. It was September of that year when Greider asked readers to consider which of the two politicians—though, at the time, he thought neither was likely to win—the United States would follow:
In an obituary published Friday, Payday Report founder Mike Elk described Greider as his “mentor” and wrote that “upon hearing the news that he died, I cried so hard. I owe my career to Bill—he was a hero of mine, who gave me the confidence to push on with low pay in a media world that so often pushes blue-collar kids like me out.”
“I first got to know him as a young 22-year-old labor reporter, when I had the incredible fortune to have a desk just a few feet away from Greider’s office, who was in his 70s and still writing regularly for The Nation,” Elk explained. “He was folksy, down-to-earth, swore a lot, and was funny as all hell. He was an old school journalist from the pre-internet era when journalists actually sat down and took time to talk to regular people.”
Elk wrote of his mentor that “a student of the populist movement, he saw the liberal elite’s discourse as being a barrier to the ability of social movements to achieve change. He encouraged me to ignore the D.C. media types and focus on calling out how the elites talked down to workers.”
As Greider once told Elk, “That’s journalism, people are gonna talk shit on you no matter what you say so why not just to tell the truth.”
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