A young man who had already made a huge mark in journalism and had a promising, successful career ahead of him was found dead in his apartment Thursday evening, and police have already stated foul play is not suspected.
Joseph Rago, 34, was an award-winning editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his series of “well-crafted, against-the-grain” editorials challenging Obamacare (aka the American Healthcare Act).
At the time, judges had stated, “No matter where you fall in the debate of health care reform, the arguments advanced by Joseph Rago in his series of editorials in The Wall Street Journal were impossible to ignore. Not paying attention to these editorials was not an option for policymakers.”
After Joseph Rago did not show up for work Thursday, police were finally sent to check on him, and discovered him dead in his Manhattan apartment around 8pm Thursday evening.
A New York City medical examiner’s office spokeswoman said Friday that foul play is not suspected, stating, “The cause and manner of death are pending further studies following today’s examination.”
Joseph Rago was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and he had joined the Wall Street Journal as an intern in 2005.
The last editorial Joseph Rago published, at 7:10 pm ET Tuesday evening, was a condemnation of the Senate’s failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare with a better healthcare plan. His opinion editorial, titled, “The ObamaCare Republicans,” said voters should repeal and replace the Senators who broke their promise.
“Senate Republicans killed their own health-care bill on Monday evening, and some are quietly expressing relief: The nightmare of a hard decision is finally over, and now on to supposedly more crowd-pleasing items like tax reform. But this self-inflicted fiasco is one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for years.”
“All of these Senators campaigned for nearly a decade on repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Now they finally have a President willing to sign literally any bill that lands on his desk, but in the clutch they choked,” Rago wrote.
Just 24 hours after his last article was published, Joseph Rago was found dead. Is this just a coincidence? That’s the question buzzing on social media.
His death was met with messages of grief and sorrow by his colleagues.
Paul Gigot, editor of the WSJ’s editorial page, wrote in a statement, “It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the death of Joseph Rago, a splendid journalist and beloved friend. Joe and his family are in our thoughts and prayers, and we will be celebrating his work in Saturday’s paper.”
Gigot was the one who notified WSJ security officials when Rago did not show up for work Thursday.
In a special WSJ editorial Friday by his colleagues, honoring Rago, it was written of him:
“Joe had to persuade himself of what he thought before he could write to persuade others. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his health-care editorials, but he knew it is folly to write for prizes. Joe wrote for readers.
We can say from experience that Joe was also a capital comrade-in-arms, a colleague you could disagree with and still join for a beer. He could argue about Donald Trump without making it a showdown about your personal character. This is admirable in any age, but especially in these polarizing times.”
Very sad day here. Joe was a talented and lovely guy: Joseph Rago, Wall Street Journal editorial writer, dies at 34 https://t.co/6XMAoPIJvT
— Matt Murray (@murraymatt) July 21, 2017
Joe Rago was sharp as hell, witty, unpretentious, a pleasure to call a colleague and a friend. https://t.co/XtH9cheGJq
— Matthew Kaminski (@KaminskiMK) July 21, 2017
Devastating news about my brilliant longtime WSJ colleague Joe Rago. My thoughts are with his family. https://t.co/Aq2zBShTh7
— Bret Stephens (@BretStephensNYT) July 21, 2017
We are deeply saddened at news of the passing of Joe Rago ’05. He was a remarkable journalist and TDR alum. Our prayers are with his family.
— The Dartmouth Review (@DartmouthReview) July 21, 2017
“Joe was never just mouthing off. He was doing the hard work of real journalism.” Very sad that he is gone. https://t.co/YhUXW6pJN2
— Erin Masercola (@MasercolaWrites) July 22, 2017
You will be missed Joe Rago. Your excellent contributions to the healthcare debate were invaluable. Condolences to family and friends @WSJ.
— Annie Dwyer (@AnnieDwyer) July 21, 2017
Joe Rago was a brilliant talent. Gone much too soon. He will be greatly missed. My heart and prayers are with his family.
— Paul Ryan (@PRyan) July 21, 2017
— Matt Murray (@murraymatt) July 22, 2017
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