Over the weekend, John McLaughlin, host of The McLaughlin Group, missed the show for the first time in 34 years, explaining in a written message as the show aired that he was “under the weather.” The message continued, “The final issue of this episode has my voice, but please forgive me for its weaker than usual quality. Yet my spirit is strong and my dedication to the show remains absolute!”
Earlier this morning, a beloved friend and mentor, Dr. John McLaughlin, passed away peacefully at the age of 89. As a former jesuit priest, teacher, pundit and news host, John touched many lives. For 34 years, The McLaughlin Group informed millions of Americans. Now he has said bye bye for the last time, to rejoin his beloved dog, Oliver, in heaven. He will always be remembered.
McLaughlin’s show, which first aired in 1982, pioneered a style of combative, partisan punditry so distinctive for its time that news of McLaughlin’s death brought out a large swath of people on social media mourning McLaughlin and sharing their memories of watching the show, whether as children or adults.
Sad news. We lost John McLaughlin this morning. I hear that he smiled before he passed. His final gift to us. RIP https://t.co/baM3bJ1gC2
— Clarence Page (@cptime) August 16, 2016
John McLaughlin’s legacy and influence can be seen on at least five cable channels daily. He changed political TV. Right? or WRONG!!?? RIP
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) August 16, 2016
I grew up on this show. For political junkies there’s never been anything better or wonderfully grumpier. RIP sir. https://t.co/1T1sxo42xj
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) August 16, 2016
John McLaughlin, who just died, basically invented the partisan political talk show. He’s a chapter in my book Hot Air. A great showman
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) August 16, 2016
John McLaughlin’s show was one of the first political shows I ever watched. Condolences to those who knew him. https://t.co/XVYYi4ppf9
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) August 16, 2016
Once on his show, John McLaughlin asked me a question that seemed to last 3 mins. My reply: “Can you repeat that?” His: “Very funny. Pat!”
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) August 16, 2016
Very sad to learn John McLaughlin has died — fascinating show, passionate guy.https://t.co/VNCfhR6MFC
— Ari Melber MSNBC (@AriMelber) August 16, 2016
— David Gergen (@David_Gergen) August 17, 2016
RIP John McLaughlin. you helped change the world of political media
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 16, 2016
John McLaughlin gave us weekly dose of smart give & take when few existed. It was a big part of my early political education. RIP, sir.
— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) August 16, 2016
Many fondly referenced the SNL sketches that parodied McLaughlin.
RIP John McLaughlin. My parents made us watch him every week which made the SNL sketches all the sweeter.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) August 16, 2016
RIP John McLaughlin. Parody is the sincerest form of flattery. https://t.co/umpMlfPSAg
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) August 17, 2016
If you can be lampooned this brilliantly, you have been doing something right. RIP John McLaughlin. https://t.co/WQScWG1oXd
— Gene Weingarten (@geneweingarten) August 16, 2016
No, YOU are the one who is dealing with the passing of John McLaughlin by watching old Dana Carvey sketches https://t.co/jtn1tD1ByU
— Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall) August 16, 2016
“We will miss his signature phrases, beginning with Issue One, and ending with Bye-Bye,” writes McLaughlin Group panelist Eleanor Clift in The Daily Beast. “And we will miss the man, who was always a blast to be around. John was an original, and while there are many imitators, he will never be overtaken. He got there first, and he created something that in its own way is as iconic as The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason, a comparison I know John would love.”
You can read her entire remembrance here.