The end of Helen Thomas

Stick a camera in front of an 89-year old woman and ask her for deep thoughts on foreign policy and international affairs, and the odds are you’ll be disappointed. If the 89-year old is White House correspondent Helen Thomas, you may be disgusted as well.

Thomas announced her immediate retirement today, a day after the agency that handles her speaking engagements dropped her as a client. It all stems from an incident last month when got this interview with her.

It’s still unclear why the website singled Thomas out. “We’re asking everybody,” the interviewer said before the Jewish Heritage Celebration at the White House, but no other videos from “everybody” appeared on the site.

It might have something to do with her reporting after then president George Bush blocked a U.N. call for a cease fire in Gaza in January 2009:

Bush’s pro-Israeli Mideast policy and refusal to ease civilian suffering by calling for a Gaza ceasefire reminds us of his similar stance in Israel’s war against Lebanon two years ago.

Israel took a beating in that war with Hezbollah and had to retreat. Since then, it appears to have been looking for a way to restore its image of military superiority in the region.

She had also challenged the United States’ reaction to last week’s assault on the Turkish flotilla heading for Gaza:

President George W. Bush loathed her so much, he refused to call on her at news conferences for more than three years. The White House Press Corps was going to strip her of her front-row seat, not because they intended to police the views of its members — wink — but because they didn’t think opinion writers should be in the front row.

No matter, Thomas has now been branded as an anti-Semite who conducted her reporting based on her personal views.

It’s, obviously, not a good way to go out.

  • It is sad.

    Her comments were ill-considered, to say the least.

    The hypocrisy of our national culture, though, when many other unnamed media and news personalities can daily spew venom equal to or worse than what Ms. Thomas said with little reaction or umbrage is telling.

  • Henny

    Helen has always called things as she sees them no matter what the pc flavor of the month is. She is a true pioneer.

    Listen to her questions from news conferences going back decades: no kowtowing to anyone. Compared to the pathetic White House press corps of today she’s an inspiration.

  • Momkat

    I’ll miss her smart mouth and her RED lipstick.

  • Cynthia

    Aside from the issue relating to what Ms. Thomas said (or has said in the past), I take issue with the notion of 89-year old women having nothing substantive or “deep” to say regarding international affairs and foreign policy. Really?

    Every day I remember my good friend Doris Nelson who died at 92 in 2008, leaving a legacy of civic and political engagement in her long life. When I spoke with her, up until the week she died, she was far more informed and thoughtful than I in recounting the latest on the international front. She rarely missed a public television or radio broadcast that delved into the complexities and controversies of international affairs.

    We could all take a lesson from someone who lived such an engaged life.