Wednesday, June 06, 2007

RIP Steve Gilliard

Steve Gilliard, 1966 - 2007

Steve Gilliard, the influential liberal editor of The News Blog and an early contributor to Daily Kos and its wide influence, died Saturday of heart and kidney complications.

Steve studied history and journalism at NYU and and worked as a liberal operative in New Jersey before becoming a freelance writer. In April 2003, mere months after Daily Kos debuted, Steve became one of the blog's original 'front pagers,' writers selected by editor Markos Moulitsas and permitted to post directly to the front page. He wasted no time in making his mark. In this post from April 10 2003, Steve eerily predicts exactly how Iraq would slip into civil war.

Steve was a serious student of military history, often using historical examples to illustrate how Iraq had been botched, how things could get worse and to debunk inaccurate analogies and statements intended to frame the invasion and occupation in a light favorable to the Bush administration.

Steve was a voice unafraid to speak his mind, tackling New York politics, race relations and Republican corruption and incompetence, and often drew the ire of everyone from Rosie O'Donnell to The New York Times to establishment liberals comfortable with the top-down party hierarchy that survived until Howard Dean. Steve never met with politicians nor worked for them once he became a full-time writer, preferring to maintain his independence and retain the ability to criticize from within without conflict-of-interest distractions faced by other top bloggers moonlighting as political consultants. The wave of people-powered politics, netroots influence and small-bore donors in large numbers that we see now in Democratic politics is as much a result of Steve's efforts as any other liberal voice.

And it is his style that has been more influential on my efforts than any other writer, right down to his format which I copied wholesale: title > image > editorial comment on image > post body. Steve's work influences mine every time I make a new post. Thank you Steve, you will be missed.

Steve Gilliard was 41.

Steve Gilliard Wikipedia entry, Daily Kos obit. The News Blog final site, original site.

Steve Gilliard photo by Lindsay Beyerstein.