Helen Thomas Retires After Controversial Israel Comments - So Much For Free Speech
Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas, 89, violated the first rule of journalism: she gave her opinion. And not just any opinion, but a controversial, unpopular opinion on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Helen has been reporting on all things White House related for half a century and is THE senior correspondent at the WH. As a syndicated columnist for the Hearst corporation, Thomas has been reporting on presidential administration news since John F. Kennedy was president - she's a legend. However, none of that mattered when a YouTube video of Thomas giving her thoughts popped up on the internet last week. See evidence below.
Helen, when asked about the Israel/Palestine issue, essentially said, "Get out of Palestine," and went on to say that they were occupying the land and needed to get out and go back to where they came from. No she didn't! Yes, she did. And while I completely disagree with her viewpoint and consider it provocative and somewhat hateful, she does have a right to her opinion.
Except apparently she doesn't. As an official correspondent for the White House, Helen is NOT allowed to voice her opinion AND keep her job, because she officially "retired" as a result of this snafu. Helen posted this on her website:
"They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon,"
Her attempts to apologize for her statements weren't enough to stifle the outcry and many were calling for Hearst to fire her. Helen has instead retired under a shadow of controversy and outrage. A sad ending to a pretty incredible career in journalism.
So does this mean you only have a right to free speech if that speech follows the party line? I may vehemently disagree with Helen, but I do support her right to have an opinion and voice it. Sad story all the way around.