Helen Thomas: Gone in 60 seconds


Helen Thomas made my jaw drop with her recent comment that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Poland and Germany. Her bias in favor of Palestinians has never bothered me because I tend to agree that Israelis are running roughshod over the West Bank and Gaza. And while I’ve never cared for her rather pushy demeanor from her place of honor in a front row seat at White House press conferences, I’ve always had a lot of respect for her tenacity and sheer longevity. Her list of accomplishments as a woman in journalism has few equals.

But bias is one thing; hate is quite another. I’m shocked that an experienced journalist, looking directly into a reporter’s camera, would say such things. I can’t make allowances for her age — 89 — anymore. If her mental acuity or stability had started to decline, it would have become evident over a period of time. This incident was a deliberate dropping of all facade and pretense, a complete abandonment of self-restraint and good judgment. Such behavior is an indulgence of the elderly, not working professionals.

Thomas has apologized for her remarks, but after seeing the apology, it’s difficult to imagine she was sincere. Is it possible the offensive video was shot late in the day and she was “sundowning”? Could she have been substance impaired? I don’t know. And it doesn’t really matter now. Her booking agency, Nine Speakers, Inc., announced this afternoon they had dropped her because of her comments. Her employer, Hearst newspapers, may have no choice but to follow suit.

What a sad, sad way to end a long, distinguished career.


June 7, 10:30 a.m. — Hearst just announced that Helen Thomas is retiring, effective immediately.


9 thoughts on “Helen Thomas: Gone in 60 seconds

  1. Although you’d think that Helen Thomas’ years of experience would have caused her pause in being so candid answering a question centered around a volatile subject like Israel’s recent questionable actions in international waters, for some reason she chose to be brutally honest. Journalists are expected to deliver news in a dispassionate manner devoid of personal bias, and to protect the perceived lack of bias they’re also expected to keep quiet about personal beliefs until after they’ve retired.

    This time, she was on the other side of the cameras and microphones and being interviewed rather than being the interviewer and for some reason imagined herself immune to the fallout of a controversial sound bite, the likes of which she has spent years trying to get from others. On the other hand…

    We all know that every person… even if they’re journalists – have bias, or a preference regarding most issues. Most of the time we’re expected to guess the bias of news anchors and reporters and most of the time it’s fairly easy to do. Especially when it comes to TV personalities who work in their network’s news departments.

    Whether you agree with Thomas’ opinion or not, it’s unique that we no longer have to guess about her personal feelings regarding Israel’s problems with Palestine. In my opinion, the truth is that Ms. Thomas had to know that news consumers are REQUIRED to guess. Unless she’s retired. Maybe she was ready to do just that and decided to go out with a newsworthy bang.

    My advice would have been for her to take this secret to the grave.

    1. My advice as well. I’m sure this will end her career, and it’s a shame to have such a long, illustrious career end like this. I just can’t imagine why she decided to do it. She had to know what the reaction would be. She could have retired gracefully and then spoken out like she did, on TV or in a book or something. But not while she’s on someone else’s payroll. Some sources say she was ambushed, but I don’t think she’s that dumb and she clearly knew the camera was on. ‘Tis a puzzlement.

  2. I take an overarching view of this: It’s just more evidence that the world would be better off without religion. No religion, less stupidity to fight about, no problem in the Middle East.

... and that's my two cents