Since the announcement of Helen Thomas’ death, we’ve seen the usual worshipful coverage of her 92 years on this earth.
“Her unparalleled experience covering the presidency earned her the respect and affection of both colleagues and public officials for decades,” wrote Patricia Sullivan for The Washington Post.
Sullivan provided a few anecdotal stories of Thomas that I found amusing:
“We are the only institution in our society that can question a president on a regular basis and make him accountable,” she told author Kay Mills for a 1996 Modern Maturity magazine article. “Otherwise, he could be king.”
In the 1980s, after the official planting of a Lebanon cedar tree on the South Lawn of the White House, fellow reporters urged Ms. Thomas, a Lebanese American, to pick up the ceremonial shovel and toss some dirt into the hole to cover the roots. “And as she shoveled,” ABC News broadcaster Sam Donaldson later said, “I heard the ghosts of presidents past and present say, ‘Shove her in.’”
Although she identified herself as a political liberal, Ms. Thomas did not hesitate to criticize the Democratic administration of President Obama, even after he presented her with cupcakes on Aug. 4, 2009, their shared birthday. She once told CNSNews that not even Nixon attempted to control the news media the way Obama’s administration tried to do. “What the hell do they think we are—puppets?” Ms. Thomas asked. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”
On May 27, 2010 after a visit to the White House to celebrate American Jewish Heritage Month, David Nesenoff, a rabbi and independent filmmaker, asked Thomas whether she had any comments on Israel.
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land.”
Nesenoff asked where she thought they should go.
“Go home,” she responded.
Asked to elaborate, Thomas said, “Poland, Germany,” and after more prompting by the rabbi, “and America, and everywhere else.”
The video was posted five days later and almost immediately went viral, prompting calls for her firing. Thomas issued an apology, saying she deeply regretted her comments. Her adroitly insincere apology caused her to be stripped of her front-row center seat in the White House briefing room.
One might assume that she would be finished with the limelight, but that was not the case. One year later, in April 2012, she was presented with a medal by Hanan Ashrawi on behalf of PLO President Mahmoud Abbas “for her long career in the field of journalism during which she defended the Palestinian position.” Washington’s PLO office said the medal was presented to her with the appreciation and blessing of the president and the Palestinian people for all of her action supporting Palestine in the West.”
Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush made mincemeat of Thomas in July of 2006. Never, in my opinion, has a press secretary looked so good bouncing off a screed disguised as a question.
Thomas was inquiring about the possibility of sending U.S. troops as part of a UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. Watch the video for one of Snow’s most memorable quotes: "Thank you for the Hezbollah point of view."
Anyway, Helen The Hag can screech about the Joos from hell and spend eternity finding out why Israel is the “apple of God’s eye.”