Fred Hiatt (1955-2021)

via the Washington Post:

Fred Hiatt, who edited these pages for nearly 22 years before his death on Monday at the age of 66, was a consummate journalist: a dogged reporter, a brilliant editor, a graceful writer. He will be remembered by us above all for his human qualities. Mr. Hiatt — to everyone at The Post, he was simply “Fred” — was gifted with seemingly effortless charm, good humor and emotional acumen that enabled him to lead a diverse and sometimes fractious staff through daunting challenges, from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars that followed to the presidency of Donald Trump. Mr. Hiatt made it possible for The Post’s opinion writers and the content they produce to encompass a wide range of views on virtually every subject of public debate, without the rancor, personal enmity and bad faith that have become so prevalent elsewhere in Washington and the nation. Our respect for and loyalty to Mr. Hiatt, and his for us, held this staff together.

Of course, Mr. Hiatt had strong views of his own. His many years as a reporter and foreign correspondent for The Post — he joined the paper in 1981 and covered Virginia politics and the Pentagon before foreign tours in Tokyo and Moscow — made him a passionate supporter of democracy, human rights and U.S. leadership of those causes. Embattled freedom fighters such as Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi and Russia’s Boris Nemtsov knew Mr. Hiatt as an eloquent and tireless champion; when she traveled to Washington after her release from years of imprisonment, Aung San Suu Kyi visited The Post to thank him personally. However, years later, when Aung San Suu Kyi defended a genocidal military campaign against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, Mr. Hiatt did not hesitate to condemn her….

When Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident who had become a regular contributor to The Post’s Global Opinions section, was murdered in 2018 by a hit team dispatched by the kingdom’s ruler, Mr. Hiatt reacted forcefully. In addition to orchestrating a months-long series of editorials and op-eds demanding justice, he established an Opinion staff fellowship named after Khashoggi and encouraged other dissident writers from the Arab world and elsewhere to use The Post as a platform. Journalists from Egypt, India, Turkey, Venezuela and elsewhere who have been banned from domestic media are now published in Global Opinions.