Helen Thomas’ outrageous comments have given the public yet another reason to distrust the mainstream media, her career-ending rant a companion piece to Dan Rather’s Memogate scandal and Walter Cronkite’s transformation from trusted anchor to partisan scribe. All three were once considered trustworthy journalistic stars. But their later years were plagued by bias, distortion, and in the case of Thomas, outright hate.
On May 27, Thomas told Rabbi David Nesenoff, holding a video recorder, that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany, Poland, or America. The bile caused even purebred liberals like Lanny Davis to call for her White House press pass to be revoked. (Though, needless to say, major outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times either downplayed the comments or ignored them entirely at first, their stunning bias a footnote to the story of a journalist off her professional rocker.)
Thomas’s rant besmirched the career of an icon in her field. She shattered the glass ceiling at the White House, quizzing president after president for years and paving the way for her fellow female journalists. And who couldn’t appreciate an 89-year-old still plugging away at her trade, beating back illness to retain her prized seat at the front of the White House press pews? Thomas was a legend, but now she’s a disgraced legend, a reporter whose record deserves a fresh examination based on current events.
This wasn’t the first time Thomas shared her numbskull noodlings on the Middle East. In fact, she should have been canned for saying “Thank God for Hezbollah” in 2002. How could a treasured front row seat be bestowed on a journalist who praises the slaughterers of 241 U.S. servicemen in 1983, among decades of other atrocities?