Skip to main content

Just saw this announced on MSNBC, longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas is going to retire.  This comes on the heels of her controversial comments about how Jews in Israel should go back to countries in Europe that created a firestorm.  She recently cancelled a graduation speech at a high school in Maryland, so maybe we should have seen this coming.

Update: OK, here's a link to the MSNBC story.  Not much there yet, as it just happened.

Dave Weigel explains the downfall that conservatives had been waiting for.

The important thing to remember here is that Thomas, who has covered the White House for 50 years, does not have a reservoir of goodwill with anyone outside of the White House Press Corps. For decades, conservatives have accused Thomas of bias. (Jonah Goldberg's take on the scandal explains it all.) For the past few years, they have honed in on her opinion of Israel as a main source of bias. In 2005, Ann Coulter sneeringly referred to Thomas (whose family is Lebanese) as an "old Arab." The usual suspects demanded an apology from Coulter, but she was saying what a lot of conservatives thought -- that Thomas was biased against Israel and American foreign policy, and only her status as a "legend" allowed her to ask questions of the president.

For those of us who don't cover the White House, Thomas's current status and access is something of a mystery. She writes a column, but she doesn't break news. She is allowed to ask questions at practically every presidential Q&A, and usually asks questions about the Middle East that no other reporter would. Her first question to Obama in 2009, for example, was whether he "knew of" any Middle Eastern country with nuclear weapons -- an attempt to get him to name Israel. At 89 years old, she had become an institution, someone whom it was rude to criticize even if she said something strange.

No longer. I don't know how her reputation survives this scandal. Conservatives who have attacked her credibility for years finally have the proof they need to end her special status.

And it looks like they've won.  Took 'em 50 years, but still.

If you've been living under a rock for the past few days, this is the damning video of Thomas's remarks.  I don't think there's any reasonable way to defend her comments here.

Now, after those comments, Thomas did quickly apologize.

Thomas later issued a statement: "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. 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."

But the damage was already done.

(And I didn't realize there's such hatred for David Corn over at FDL because he said her comments were "stupid".)

Originally posted to BruinKid on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 09:23 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site