Media reporter comments on Helen Thomas

Dateline: Mon 07 Jun 2010

Howard Kurtz covers media for the Washington Post. Here are some his answers to questions posed today in his online colum:

"Helen Thomas is in full control of her faculties, she is a longtime critic of Israel, and she knew she was looking into a camera when she made those remarks.  She is, of course, 89 years old, and perhaps failed to filter her remarks, but that hardly lets off her off the hook for what she said"

Also, here is his response to a reader defending Thomas' right to free speech:

"This is not a question of free speech. Helen Thomas is entitled to say whatever she wants, regardless of how repugnant others may find it. But she has no automatic right to a newspaper column or a seat in the White House briefing room. If her comments are considered reprehensible, she may lose those things. She can keep speaking out on her own, but no media organization is required to give her a platform."

For more:

http://live.washingtonpost.com/media-backtalk:-06-07-10.html

Comments

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"She is, of course, 89 years old."
--------------
That fact would seem to me to bespeak a lot about this situation.

That's about 30 years older than I am, and I can barely get my brain cells to co-operate with one another enough now to successfully butter my toast.

Most of the people I know who are 89 years old are sitting in nursing homes, staring blankly at Goober's gas station exploits on Andy Griffith Show re-runs.

If we're going to take aim at a woman who is nearly 90 years old and likely not in control of her faculties, it says more about our current culture than it says about her.

If I live to be that old - which is highly unlikely - I hope nobody sticks a camera and microphone in my wrinkled face.

If so, I'll probably passionately lament before the public that no TV personality in the modern era has ever come close to Soupy Sales, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans.

Quoting my 18-year-old son: "Just sayin'...."

2010-06-08 00:57:48

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Whitebeard, if you live long enough, and I hope you do, and if you're honored to have the best seat in teh WH press briefing room, I'd hope you had the sense to know the seat comes with responsibility.

Let's not hide behind age discrimination claims.

The woman misspoke. Horribly. The punishment seems to fit the crime.

I hate to see a woman of such a long carer record, go out this way. But I'm betting she's dodged these kinds of bullets many time sin the past. The comments were on-camera, which she knew, and were over-the-top ridiculous. THis has nothing to do with opposing the powerful AiPAC lobby.

This has to do with having a humanitarian soul and a lofty position that carries with it a modicum of responsibility.

2010-06-08 04:38:33

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"If we're going to take aim at a woman who is nearly 90 years old and likely not in control of her faculties, it says more about our current culture than it says about her"

Being old is no excuse for being stupid. She wants an audience, wants to be heard, else she wouldn't be front and center (where long ago her actual journo credentials expired and she became a prop).

She's been hoist on her own petard.

Helen gives olds folks a bad name.

2010-06-08 06:50:13

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Well, Tom, she didn't typically give old folks a bad name. SHe showed up for work everyday. A DC friend told me she only recently stopped going on the Presidential photo-op daytrips because of fatigue.

She's got a sharp mind. She misused it. End of story. End of long career.

If she were 50, she'd have been fired post-haste.

2010-06-08 07:36:07

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

Everything that James Roosevelt, secretary of war/defense for President Truman, said would happen if a Jewish state was built in the Middle-East has happened, and much worse. He suggested that the displaced European Jews be allowed land in Peru.

2010-06-08 07:48:29

ruthholl [Member] said:

Well, I will say this on behalf of Helen and senility: she may be losing her marbles, but she can sure apply coral lipstick with the best of 'em. If you look at that video, her makeup is INTENSE.
I'm inclined to believe that the real Helen Thomas just went on record, although those who knew her said it is no secret -- she has never approved of Israel.
The bigger issue for me is her lack of understanding of history, which Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen addresses in today's Star editorial page -- you gotta read him. "They couldn't go home," is the title.
I think if Helen had tackled Israeli policies or leadership, she'd still have her catbird seat. Instead she went after displaced persons -- Jews who were pouring out of refugee camps.
And as for peace in the Middle East, Marycatherine is right: it's a christless mess, to quote, again, Andrew Holladay...(please don't take offense, anyone....just an expression).

2010-06-08 08:05:41

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"He suggested that the displaced European Jews be allowed land in Peru"

And the Peruvians had no opinion?

The Jews were settled in Palestine because many were already there, even preceeding the partition following WW1. Rumor has it they may even have been present in the area at an earlier date.

A number of countries were asked if they would take Europe's surviving Jews. They said no.

2010-06-08 08:52:07

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Uh, hell-O: there is a spiritual and liturgical reference to Jews being in (some of) the current state of Israel.

Therein lies the rub--more than one faith claims certain parts of that sacred dirt.

And none is wiling to give an inch.

Ever.

2010-06-08 12:59:25

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"Rumor has it they may even have been present in the area at an earlier date."

I meant this as sarcasm.

2010-06-08 18:05:18

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I still say, cut this ancient old lady a little slack.

We sure do live in edgy times and the cry "off with his (or her) head" seems to be the default mode when someone expresses an unpopular or politically incorrect opinion in public.

I kind of get the idea some folks nationally and internationally are wanting a public flogging of this great-granny-age lady.

Maybe I'm just too right-brained and heart-driven and don't understand the linear/analytical process involved in drawing a bead (so to speak) on an elderly woman who is close to a century old.

A book which contains much great wisdom says, "mercy triumphs over judgment."

In this era, we seem to tend to gravitate towards the judgment side of things.

This is something I continuously try to work on improving in my own life, failing way too often.

Makes me think of what a teenage girl at Kent State said to a National Guard officer a couple of days before she was killed in the 1970 Kent State massacre. A young soldier had a flower in his rifle barrel and his officer verbally reamed his rear. To which, the female KSU student said to the offending officer:

"Flowers are better than bullets."

That sentiment seems to apply to a lot of things.

Or should, maybe.




2010-06-08 18:59:47

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Do you for an instant imagine that if Ms Thomas said "Send black folks back to Africa," that she would have been allowed to even finish the sentence? There would be no excuses presented on her behalf.

Anti-Semitism is still afoot and remains an ugly wart on American attitudes.

2010-06-09 06:38:51

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

I am kinda in your camp, Whitebeard. The things is that Helen Thomas had her day as a real Washington journalist, her career peaking sometime during the Carter era. Her work has hardly mattered since then. Someone here said she was a mascot journalist, and I believe that captures it pretty well. In recent years, I know she was hardly regarded as anything but a doddering DC icon, more suited to a chair at the Newseum rather than the White House press room's front row. I wish she had checked out with a bit more dignity. I also wish Israel and the Palestinians would solve their differences. It's within their power to do so, but it will probably never happen.

2010-06-09 08:56:26

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

"Makes me think of what a teenage girl at Kent State said to a National Guard officer a couple of days before she was killed in the 1970 Kent State massacre. A young soldier had a flower in his rifle barrel and his officer verbally reamed his rear. To which, the female KSU student said to the offending officer:

'Flowers are better than bullets.'"

Allison Krause, age 19, one of 4 killed, was the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor.

2010-06-09 12:21:28

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I think I may need to strongly clarify that Anti-Semitism in any form or expression is absolutely repugnant to me.

Also, Ruth, I'm not at all trying to be in a urinating match with you or anyone else who has commented on this excellent blog about the Thomas controversy.

I've really been responding to a lot of sensationalistic TV "news" programs which have had an "off with her head!" theme to their commentaries.

I kind of had to sort that last part out in my own head today - which I hope will still be attached when (if) I ever reach 89 years of age.

2010-06-09 12:59:38

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

Btw, Wayne Madsen has reported that Helen had no idea she was being filmed (hidden camera), when she answered this question asked of her by a rabbi on the grounds outside the White House. Madsen blames Ari Fleisher for setting her up, much as he did another older female White House correspondents, to get rid of her, so that they just have a crew of stenographer types sent by the press to cover the president's press conferences. And so it goes (to quote our own great Kurt Vonnegut).

2010-06-09 21:27:15

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Darn that wily Jew, Ari Fleisher, for putting words in Helen's mouth.

If Helen's colleagues failed to out her for bigotry, it's a good thing someone finally "set her up."

2010-06-10 06:41:08

Comments are closed.

Login

or Register

Search

Syndicate Blog