R.I.P. Helen Thomas

Journalist Helen Thomas has died at age 92 after a long illness. She was the longest-serving White House journalist and the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association and Washington's Gridiron Club.

She was a trailblazer, and fearless in her reporting, but as NPR says:

Had she stepped away after the first six decades of her career, she would have been hailed simply as one of the most famous White House reporters in modern times.


Unfortunately, she did not, and "it took only 30 seconds in 2010 to dislodge her, at the age of 89, from the perch in the White House press corps she prized so deeply." She later expressed regret for her comments, but it was too late.

Here is her statement of regret:

“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.” (June 4, 2010)

RIP Helen Thomas.

(Note to new readers: We do not speak ill of the dead here on the occasion of their passing. It is disrespectful, and in my view, invites bad karma.]

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    So Sad (5.00 / 9) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 12:35:29 PM EST
    May she rest in peace..  She is the model of what a White House Correspondent should be.. so sad that she was and what she represented is such an anomaly.

    Yes sad (none / 0) (#9)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 08:29:00 AM EST

    "I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, `Who do I hate today?'" - Helen Thomas



    Typical Wingnut Smear (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 02:18:48 PM EST
    Art we surprised that you would frame a quote by someone just departed in order to smear them as a hate monger?

    No, and Shame on you.

    The quote in context:

    "I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war. Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is immoral - such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor. It's as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam., Where is the outrage? Where is Congress? They're supine! Bush has held only six press conferences, the only forum in our society where a president can be questioned. I'm on the phone to [press secretary] Ari Fleischer every day, asking will he ever hold another one? The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." . . . "Again and again, Thomas warned the MIT audience, 'It's bombs away for Iraq and on our civil liberties if Bush and his cronies get their way. Dissent is patriotic!'"

    So it's OK cause the apparent hatred (none / 0) (#17)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 11:05:51 PM EST
    in the expanded quote is directed toward Bush.  That makes it all better.  



    You Are the One Who provided the Quote (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:16:59 PM EST
    Now you are complaining that it was put in the original context, WTF ?

    Not sure why everything you write has periods before and after...


    Not periods (none / 0) (#20)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 02:04:11 PM EST

    Those are not periods, they are microdots.



    Disgusting (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:20:52 AM EST
    To use a quote out of context like you did. It is obvious what you were trying to do and it had nothing to do with Bush.

    Really low move.


    WSWS on ouster of Helen Thomas (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Andreas on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    As the WSWS wrote in June 2010:

    The ouster of veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, after an anti-Zionist comment Sunday, is yet another demonstration of the politically foul and utterly conformist milieu of official Washington. ...

    Thomas' comments were clearly wrong, however they were also made by an aged reporter in an unguarded moment. In her decades-long career as a White House reporter, no one has suggested that Thomas, known for her opposition to US wars and Israeli policy, is anti-Semitic.

    The resulting media uproar was predictable and disgusting. It was prompted not so much by Thomas's reference to Jews going back to Germany and Poland, but by her reference to the Palestinian people as suffering under occupation in the land they had lived in for centuries.

    Helen Thomas ousted over anti-Zionist comments

    By Patrick Martin, 9 June 2010

    I will (5.00 / 11) (#3)
    by lentinel on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 03:41:29 PM EST
    remember Helen Thomas for confronting the powerful in a manner that no one since has had the temerity to do.

    This is an example: Helen Thomas confronts Bush

    She is mentioned as a trailblazer with respect to her being a woman and opening the door for other women. This is, of course, true.

    But, in addition, she blazed a trail with respect to actually representing the interests of the American people as she saw them, and confronting those in power directly, with no mincing of words. That trail, has no one daring to pursue it - woman or man.

    I hope that she will be discussed as the independent and outspoken mind she was and the beacon she has been to real journalism.

    Helen Thomas was a hero (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 07:42:03 PM EST
    She was brave and outspoken.  RIP Helen, you are irreplaceable.

    The cool thing about Helen  Thomas is that if you sent her an email she often sent one back.

    A tribute to a woman who (5.00 / 7) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 09:01:59 PM EST
    chose to be a journalist and not a stenographer. If only we had others like you.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 12:07:55 AM EST
    Helen Thomas's views on Israel were similar to my Jewish father's. He survived WW2 by escaping from Poland just before the invasion. He crossed the border into Russia, and, being a doctor, he was welcomed by the Russian troops, and traveled with them, providing medical services,  all the way North, ending up in Stalingrad (where I was born.)

    Fast forward, years later, having lived through two World Wars, he had had enough of Europe and, so, we came to America. My father was the kindest, gentlest, most honest man that ever lived. Someone once said about him that if he was the last man on earth, and he was driving through the Sahara desert at 3 o'clock in the morning, he would turn on his directional signal before making a turn.

    But, now about Israel. Of course he loved Israel, and he loved the Israelis, and he supported them in any way he could. But, having the experience he had in two wars, living the horror up close and personal, he couldn't help becoming a pacifist. Nothing, and no one, should have to go through the murder, bloodshed, and devastation that war imposes. Being a very smart guy, he knew exactly what the 1948 establishment of Israel portended: endless war,  immutable hatred, and countless generations of shell shocked, neurotic, offspring. He would shout out, WHO NEEDS THIS?? Who cares what biblical fairy tale fantasies were bequeathed to the Jews. For a few stone relics, and some fables passed down through centuries, is it worth it? Who cares who's right or wrong, who cares what ancient geezers claimed "ownership." Is God an idiot? Only an idiot would demand of his "chosen people" infinite generations of maimed and killed children.

    You hate the Arabs? Good! Then give them this godforsaken hellhole, this patch of worthless sand. Let them try to grow things under the 120 degree sun furnace, maybe they will learn how to drink sand. Is any piece of dirt worth your daughter's life, your son's legs, your wife`s sanity? Now, if you had any brains, and still insisted on living in a desert, I've got an idea for you. Go see Truman, tell'em you heard there's a nice patch of sand in Arizona, or New Mexico, even the tarantulas don't want it. How much could it cost? A whole lot less than the billions Uncle Sam will be shelling out for thousands of years to come I'll bet. It's perfect, and I hear they'll even cater in kosher Pizza to your son's Bar mitzvah.

    Anyway, with a little poetic license, I think this scenario, the one my father knew was inevitable, was what Helen Thomas was railing about. If she was Anti Semitic, so was my father.

    anti-semitism (none / 0) (#6)
    by weltec2 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 02:06:21 AM EST
    Yes, if we ignore her anti-semitism everything else... her entire career... was magnificent... I mean that sincerely. But she should have retired earlier. There are so many people we can think of who should have retired years ago... John McCain... I'm sure we can all think of others.

    not everyone (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 03:54:27 AM EST
    who sides with Palestinians is an anti semite.

    Ralph Nader in Counterpunch: (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:32:39 PM EST
    The Scourging of Helen Thomas

    In 2006 when George W. Bush finally called on her, she started her questioning by saying "Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of Americans and Iraqis. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true." Or when she challenged President Obama last month, asking "When are you going to get out of Afghanistan? Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse?"

    Beautiful Obit (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 08:16:07 PM EST
    I wish she had not retired when she did. (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Angel on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 08:35:13 AM EST
    She had a lot left and could still teach the reporters of today a thing or two.  

    Retired? (1.00 / 1) (#16)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 10:36:55 PM EST
    Read the counterpunch obit...  everyone turned their back on her. She did not have a choice, but to "retire".

    Anti-Semitism?... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by unitron on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 03:12:53 PM EST
    ...or anti-Zionism?

    Not the same thing.


    Anti-Semitism? (none / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 08:23:02 AM EST
    That is an option, not a fact. And in my opinion an anti-semitic statement against Helen Thomas.

    History is written... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:20:47 PM EST
    ... by the White House Press [stenographic pool.]