Howard Fineman, veteran political journalist and analyst, dies at 75

Howard Fineman, the political journalist who covered presidents from Reagan to Biden for a variety of outlets, died Tuesday at the age of 75.

Fineman died from pancreatic cancer, which he had been battling for two years, his wife, Amy Nathan, said in a social media post Wednesday afternoon.

“I am heartbroken to share my brilliant and extraordinary husband passed away late last night surrounded by those he loved most, his family,” Nathan wrote. “He couldn’t have been adored more. The world was a better place because he lived in it and wrote about it.”

Fineman was a top political journalist at Newsweek for three decades during the magazine’s peak from the 1980s through the 2000s. He traveled the country covering national and state politics, interviewing political power players and presidential candidates.

In 2010, Fineman left Newsweek for The Huffington Post, joining his longtime friend Arianna Huffington at the digital media pioneer. After leaving that outlet in 2017, he continued contributing as an opinion writer at The New York Times and The Washington Post while appearing on TV on MSNBC and other networks.

“American journalism is better because of Howard Fineman, and I will miss him dearly,” Huffington said Wednesday.

Born Nov. 17, 1948, in Pittsburgh, Fineman grew up in the largely Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill and had his bar mitzvah at the Tree of Life synagogue in the neighborhood.

“I was reared in a Jewish paradise — aka America, my Promised Land,” he wrote for the Times in 2018 after the mass shooting at the synagogue. “Not the one God gave us (though I love that one, too), but the one we chose for ourselves.”

Fineman attended Colgate University, working as editor in chief of the student newspaper and graduating in 1970. His first major journalism job came at the Louisville Courier-Journal, where he covered the environment before moving to the paper’s Washington bureau in 1978.

He jumped to Newsweek in 1980 and quickly rose to direct and define the magazine’s political coverage. Though his own politics leaned liberal, and he was a regular on MSNBC, Fineman believed in interacting with all types of opinions and strived for impartiality in his own reporting.

“Leave your comfort zone; read the ‘other’ sides,” he said in his 2011 commencement address to graduating Colgate students. “If you watch MSNBC, watch Fox, too. And vice versa. It won’t kill you. Scan websites as far away from your own thinking as you can stand — and talk to people whose views differ from your own.”

Fineman himself appeared on “Fox News Sunday” during his career, along with programs ranging from “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” to “Face the Nation” and “Nightline.”

In 2008 he penned the book “The Thirteen American Arguments,” which became a best seller.

Late in his career, in addition to his work as a contributor on many platforms, Fineman taught a journalism course at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication, “New Media Journalism and Politics in the Trump Era.”

Fineman is survived by Nathan and their two children, Meredith and Nick.