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Helen Thomas Speaks Her Mind and Loses Her Job

3 years ago
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Though Helen Thomas spent decades as a press icon, her reputation seems to have been destroyed overnight. I do not condone her remarks, but I do think we should be defending her right to express her opinion, especially when her job was . . . to express her opinion.

For those just catching up, last week, Thomas, the 89-year-old newspaper columnist, White House press corps fixture and trailblazing female journalist said she thought Jews should get out of Palestine. When pressed further, she said they should go "home" to Germany and Poland.

She later issued a statement apologizing for her remarks, but it was too late. On Sunday, she was dropped by her speaking agency, and on Monday, Hearst News announced that Thomas is retiring, effective immediately.

She was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club. She covered every U.S president from Eisenhower to Obama, paved the way for other women -- and doesn't deserve to exit the public stage this way.

Over the past few days, conservative critics calling for her ouster included Ari Fleischer, the former Bush press secretary; Sarah Palin, the former Republican VP candidate; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.); and conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart.

As an opinion columnist, it was Thomas' job to get people talking, and she did add to an ongoing dialogue about Israel and Palestine – an issue that needs our attention now more than ever in light of the recent Israeli attacks on ships delivering aid to Palestinians.

Our national discourse has become so highly charged that apparently you can't say anything critical of Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic, though in order to achieve effective policy and an actual peace in the Middle East, we have to be able to talk about the issue without fear of being attacked.

Does Helen Thomas' fall add to intimidation of those who hold dissenting views on the Middle East or other issues? To me, her forced retirement suggests that even opinion columnists still cannot discuss Israel and Palestine openly.
Filed Under: Woman Up, Helen Thomas

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27 Comments

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braser45

Why do these people make deep seated feeling remarks, that thry really believe in , and next say apologise for them? At that moment they lose all dignity. No more self respect no integrity. They become nothing.
Poor souls.

July 27 2010 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trish

HELEN CUT HER OWN THROAT WHEN SHE REVEALED HER HARDENED HEART FOR JEWS.

June 18 2010 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trish

Helen Thomas not only spoke her mind, she revealed her heart. She should have been called out many years prior. Just because she hates Jews, doesn't mean everyone else does. I'm happy she has retired.

June 18 2010 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dcrosetti

Please. Helen Thomas wasn't trying to have a dialogue about Israel-Palestine relations. She is a bigot who hates Israel and thinks Jews are better served by going back to Germany, Poland, and Russia. Well, the Jews had a strong presence in Poland. Then the Germans came and rounded them up and put them in camps. The Russians didn't treat the Jews a whole lot better. Now the Palestinians want to exterminate the Jews and kick them out of Israel. The Jews have been in the land of Israel for more than 2000 years. They didn't lay out a claim there in 1949. Helen cut her own job. She brought it upon herself. As for those "aid" ships--do you REALLY believe that those ships coming out of Turkey are about aid or really about smuggling weapons. The only way to find out is to have the cargo inspected. That's within Israel's right. Just like the US has the right to enforce our borders--oh yeah, I forgot. We don't, Israel does.

June 15 2010 at 9:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rambolrod

She was not "discussing" Palestine and Israeli. She was basically advocating the removal and therefore the ethnic cleansing of one group of people from one part of the world to another. That type of thinking deserves the reaction she received. Her insensitivity to history is also amazing considering her education. She should know telling Jewish people to go back to Germany and Poland is horrific in what it represents because of their history. You would hope an educated journalist would not hold such base beliefs, but I guess that's not true. She deserves what she got.

June 11 2010 at 6:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Letty

What happened to Freedom of Speech? I guess you get fired for speaking your
mind these days. It's no wonder the media is afraid to say anything and
events that should be on TV or in the newspaper are not to be found. Is this
still America?

June 10 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Letty's comment
Trish

TO: lETTY YOUR QUESTION OF "WHAT HAPPENED TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH?" ...THIS ISN'T AN ISSUE OF VOICING HER OPINION, IT'S WAS A MANNER OF SPEAKING WHAT WAS TRULY IN HER HEART......AND HER HEART IS HARDENED TOWARD JEWS. SHE HAS NO HISTORICAL, BIBICAL OR LEGAL CAUSE TO VERBALLY ADVOCATE "THE JEWS GO BACK WHERE THEY CAME FROM" (ISRAEL HAS ALWAYS BELONGED TO THE JEWS). THIS WAS AS WRONG AS ME SAYING "THE BLACKS SHOULD GO BACK TO AFRICA".

June 18 2010 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
splintercottage

The middle east mess is a stand off. The same stuff being repeated over & over shanges nothing.The purpose of free speach is to hear what one does not like as it is very easy these days to thoughtlessly get together for mutual diddle.

Helen Thomas has an opinon. And the manner oforigons of the state of Israel continue to plague the world through lack of discussion. The fact that Israel is a reality and has one of the most active and nucular armed militarys is a statement of force that Israel is not going away. However,there is much to learn in a talmudic sense from any and all questions. Learning rarely comes from agreement. Ms Thomas was hired to spur speach and then fired for doing so. Her critics wouldhave been more democraticand constittuional in aspect if they civily disagreed and made their points rather than the usual intimidation that seems to pass for politics these days. If Hearst wasajournalistic enterprise rather than a media advertising gatherer ... Ms. Thomas would have been asked to stand her ground and reply to proper comment so the readers wuld be informed by a divergence of opinion rather than punishment. Opinions ... right or wrong ... that the Israel lobby does not like can not be voiced in the United States is clearly a violation of American national sovereignty. There are solutions here. None will appear with attacks upon everone who doesnot spout party line.

June 09 2010 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ooo-b-doo

"To me, her forced retirement suggest that even Opinion columnist still cannot discuss Isreal and Palestine openly". Yep, you got that right! Especially, if you don't OWN you own news outlet, or FOX news. This is a big eye opener for the idealistic and true believers who think they are free, and that the "news" they hear, read and believe is true. That's why news reporters are getting younger and younger. They have no sense of History, such as Helen Thomas, who has had a LIFETIME of that struggle. I have had a lifetime of it too.. and it makes me sick and disgusted that the USA is still involved in colonization with no recourse to peace.

June 09 2010 at 4:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edmond Cabbabe

Helen Thomas is frustrated like most of the silent Americans who see Israel as a liability to the US while enjoying privileges not given to any other nation (eg, huge aid, military assistance, UN and security council protection from the rest of the world community, military and political commitment by the US to support Israel no matter what...)
It is time for our administration and the "yes to whatever Israel wants crowd" in congress to say enough is enought to Israel. It is time for Israel to be a responsible ally and a human rights supporter and not a violator with it's occupation of the west bank and the Golan Heights and it's inhumane blockade of Gaza and apartheid treatment of it's Arab citizens. It is time to sit and make peace with it's neighbors and to allow international inspection of it's nuclear facilities and arsenals.

June 08 2010 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dr daughter

This is the best thing I've read so far! Helen is a columnist. She writes her opinion. She has been taken out of context and the right wing has finally been successful in making their attacks on her stick. I am disappointed in Hearst, the White House, and the White House Press Corps. Ageists all. Just as President Carter has been attacked when he speaks in support of the Arab people of Palestine, Helen has been attacked. Just like Dan Rather, we have lost a real journalist, not many of them are left...

June 08 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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