Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Standing Up for Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas is gone, retired by popular demand from the angry mob. While Fox and Bloomberg News fight over her front row seat in the White House press room, don't get your hopes up that another reporter like Helen Thomas will emerge, a reporter who will ask the hard questions of this, or any, White House.

A few thoughts on the outrageous angry mob treatment of Helen Thomas:

Time columnist Joe Klein wrote that Thomas should be stripped of her privileged seat in the White House briefing room. Her remarks were offensive, but considering her journalistic moxie and courage over many decades -- in sharp contrast to the despicable deeds committed by so many littering the Washington political scene -- isn't there room for someone who made a mistake, apologized for it and wants to continue speaking truth to power and asking tough questions?

Gosh, if you want to deflect a conversation away from the real issues into invention and stirred-up righteousness, I guess one way to do it is for a career hardhead like 89-year old Helen Thomas to say something incendiary, regret it, apologize for it, and have her colleagues throw her right under that bus waiting outside the White House press room. . .

ADL rejects her apology because it does not "go far enough". Craig Crawford and her agent dump her. Lanny Davis, always right in front whenever possible, condemns her. Ari Fleischer cries "Off with her head! (And her job)." Rick Lazlo piles on. Joe Klein wants her sent to the back of the bus room. Sarah Palin tattoos her as racist. A local high school replaces her as their graduation speaker. Red State froths. NewsMax has a field day. Winger blogs everywhere are blessed with outrage and attendant traffic. The din is so loud everyone misses her apology. The right continues to bearhug anti-semitic Pat Buchanan, who is routinely applauded for his support of right-wing causes. He doesn't have to apologize. . .

I am not going to defend what she said. I understand that it is hurtful and offensive to many. However... She apologized, folks. This pile-on looks to me to be opportunistic and driven by RedStaters and Freepers out there who have a long-standing hate on for Helen.

Helen Thomas is out of work. She's an old lady. She bad-mouthed Israel and the Jews. She's out of work. . . Pat Buchanan is still working. . But then, Buchanan isn't an old lady and he didn't say a single bad word about Israel or the Jews. He's still working. . .

There was a time when people could take the position that the UN, together with the US and the European Powers, had no business establishing a country called Israel, in a part of the world that was neither the US or Europe, as a Jewish State for Jews who were mainly Europeans. It wasn't a popular position to take. It wasn't a position I would take. But there was a time when expressing that point of view, right here in the United States, wouldn't cost you your job. Not even if you were an old lady.

Times have changed. Helen Thomas is out of work. She's an old lady. She bad-mouthed Israel and the Jews. She's out of work. Good thing we've got a "free" press here.

Standing Up for Helen Thomas -- by Robert Parry:

Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas was right to apologize for a stupid remark she made about Israeli Jews leaving Palestine, but another ugly part of this incident was how her “mainstream” colleagues quickly turned on this 89-year-old icon. . . On Monday, Thomas issued a statement repudiating her May 27 comments. . . With that Thomas departed the scene and the thankful Washington press corps was finally freed from those periodic embarrassments of having to watch presidents squirm in reaction to Thomas’s out-of-the-box questions.