End of an Era in White House Press Corps
At the age of 89, Helen Thomas was forced off her job at Hearst Newspapers at the behest of Rabbi Nesenoff. The news made my day.
How dare she play the role of a spoiler when most of the journalists either toe the official lines, parrot White House spin or regurgitate corporate propaganda? She has been a thorn in Bush’s public relations and did not volte-face with the change in administration. She is as despised by the corporate Dems as she was by the corporate Repubs. She kept on asking questions that shook the consciousness of our nation time and again.
Helen Thomas was an icon in White House reporting, beginning in 1960. She made an inappropriate comment on Israel and Jewish people while covering Jewish American Heritage Month celebration at the White House on May 27. Later, she unconditionally apologized for her comments, stating that she had made a mistake and that those words did not reflect her true feelings. Many had made more outrageous comments and survived, but, for Helen Thomas, it was a different story. She showed the audacity to take the I- word and J-word and violate them so she must be thrown to the vultures. The limit of free speech ends at the boundary of those sacred words.
This morning, Bill Press defended Helen Thomas on his radio program. He vigorously defended Helen’s right of free speech, while not condoning her comments on Jews. This is nonetheless the time when the Corporation has more freedom than individuals. American people are so afraid that they do not question authority, open shoes dutifully at airports, accept wire-tapping and go through body scan machines for fear of some uneducated Muslim terrorists with low-level intelligence and primitive tools.
I do not know if any other talk show host showed the temerity to defend Helen Thomas’ right to express her opinion. She was a misfit for our time anyway. The age of dignity and moral high ground has long past, bringing the era of kaliyuga, the mythical Indian age of decay and muck.
I will not cry for Helen Thomas - she will remain my white knight and inspiration for writing the way I do.