Hiatt speaking at the 2013 National Book Festival
Frederick Samuel Hiatt
April 30, 1955
Washington, DC, US
|Residence||Chevy Chase, Maryland, US|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Known for||Editorial page editor, The Washington Post|
Frederick Samuel "Fred" Hiatt (born April 30, 1955) is the editorial page editor of The Washington Post. He also writes editorials for the page, as well as a biweekly column that appears on Mondays.
Hiatt was born in Washington, DC. He is the son of Howard Haim Hiatt, a medical researcher and former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Doris Bieringer, a librarian who co-founded a reference publication for high school libraries. His maternal grandfather, Walter H. Bieringer, served as president of the United Service for New Americans which helped to resettle European Jews in the United States after World War II. He graduated from Harvard University in 1977. Hiatt is married to Washington Post editor and writer Margaret "Pooh" Shapiro; they live in Chevy Chase, Maryland and have three children: Joseph, Alexandra, and Nathaniel.:241
Hiatt first reported for the Atlanta Journal and the Washington Star. When the latter ceased publication in 1981, Hiatt was hired by the Washington Post. At the Post, Hiatt initially reported on government, politics, development and other topics in Fairfax County and statewide in Virginia. Later, after joining the newspaper's national staff, he focused on military and national security affairs. From 1987 to 1990, he and his wife served as co-bureau chiefs of the Post's Tokyo bureau. Following this, from 1991 to 1995, the couple served as correspondents and co-bureau chiefs in Moscow. While there, Hiatt played an unlikely role of International Monetary Fund 'representative' Baron Domenic in Karen Shakhnazarov's Dreams (1993).
In 1996, Hiatt joined The Post's editorial board. In 1999 Hiatt was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for what the prize committee called "his elegantly-written editorials urging America's continued commitment to international human rights issues."
In 2000, following the death of long-time editor Meg Greenfield and a short interim editorship under Stephen S. Rosenfeld, Hiatt was named editorial page editor. Hiatt's tenure as editorial page editor has been during a period of national losses in circulation and readership for newspapers. Daily circulation has fallen 41% from 787,000 in 2000 to 467,000 in 2012 while Sunday circulation has fallen 46 percent from 1,076.000 to 688,000.
The Post's editorial board prior to Hiatt's appointment was described by then-editor Meg Greenfield as collectively having "the sensibility of 1950s liberals," by which she meant that it was generally conservative on foreign policy and national defense and generally liberal on social issues.
Under Hiatt's editorship, the Post has added many new columnists, from both the left and right, to The Post's op-ed page, including Eugene Robinson and Kathleen Parker (both of whom won Pulitzer Prizes for their Post work), Anne Applebaum, Michael Gerson, Ruth Marcus and Harold Meyerson. Hiatt also intensified the online presence of the Washington Post opinions sections with the addition of bloggers such as Greg Sargent, Jennifer Rubin, Alexandra Petri, and Jonathan Capehart.
With the exception of the support several of its columnists (Charles Krauthammer,Richard Cohen, and Marc Thiessen) have expressed for the use of torture, The Post's editorial page has been a strong supporter of international human rights, and was chosen by Freedom House in 2011 for its Raising Awareness award.
During this time The Post has also taken traditionally conservative or neoconservative positions on several major issues: economically, it has defended a Republican initiative to allow Social Security personal retirement accounts, and has advocated for several free trade agreements. With respect to foreign policy, it supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, penning by PBS journalist Bill Moyers' count 27 editorials in favor of the war in the six months preceding the invasion. On environmental issues, The Post supported the controversial Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline, and Hiatt himself came under fire for refusing to hold Post columnist George F. Will accountable for misrepresenting scientific evidence in a column in which Will attacked the veracity of global warming. The column drew criticism from several other Post columnists, The Post's scientific reporters, and The Post's ombudsman, as well as from environmental scientists and climatologists.
Several media commentators have expressed the view that The Post's editorial position under Hiatt has moved towards a neoconservative position on foreign policy issues. Human rights attorney Scott Horton in a blog post for Harper's Magazine, writes that Hiatt has presided over a "clear trend" towards neoconservative columnists. Jamison Foser, a senior fellow at the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America, has said that The Post's editorial stance under Hiatt is now neoconservative on foreign affairs and is no longer liberal on many domestic issues. News anchor and political commentator Chris Matthews stated on his program Hardball that The Post is "not the liberal newspaper it was", but has become a "neocon newspaper".Andrew Sullivan, a conservative political blogger for The Atlantic wrote, in response to the sacking of Dan Froomkin, "The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing." According to Fox News commentator James Pinkerton, the editorial page of The Post had transformed from a liberal voice into a top ally of the Bush Administration in its drive to invade Iraq: "Remember the days when the Washington Post was the enemy of the Republican administration in the White House? Those days are gone. Today, the neoconservative voice of the Post's editorial page is one of President Bush's most valuable allies."
The former op-ed editor for the Wall Street Journal, Tunku Varadarajan, now a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, placed Hiatt fifth in his list of "The Left's Top 25 Journalists" for The Daily Beast and third in the similar list he coauthored for Forbes magazine.Matthew Cooper, White House editor of National Journal magazine, writes that Hiatt "is a bete noir for many liberals because of, among other things, the paper's support of the Iraq War."
In September 2009, Hiatt served as a panel moderator for a conference held by the Foreign Policy Initiative, a neoconservative think tank. In December 2009, Hiatt was a featured speaker at the Tokyo Foundation conference entitled "Japan after the Change: Perspectives of Western Opinion Leaders". In October 2010, he moderated a panel on US-Russia relations at the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy think tank. In 2011, he was a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and a moderator of the "Asianomics" session of the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea.
Hiatt is the author of The Secret Sun: A Novel of Japan, which was published in 1992, as well as two books for children, If I Were Queen of the World (1997) and Baby Talk (1999). In April 2013, his first novel for young adult audiences, Nine Days, was published. It follows two fictional teenagers on a journey to free an imprisoned Chinese dissident; while the protagonists are fictional, the prisoner and his story are based in reality.