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Helen Thomas: the W.H. Correspondents Association statement UPDATE Thomas retires

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WASHINGTON--Columnist Helen Thomas, a trailblazer for women journalists, is retiring in the wake of a controversy triggered by comments she made about Jews and Israel last week.


"I think those remarks were offensive and reprehensible," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday, at a briefing where Thomas was absent from her front row seat in the briefing room.

"I think she should and has apologized, because, obviously, those remarks are -- do not reflect, certainly, the opinion of -- I assume, most of the people in here, and certainly not of the administration."


Statement Issued By the Board of the White House Correspondents Association
June 7, 2010

Helen Thomas' comments were indefensible and the White House Correspondents Association board firmly dissociates itself from them. Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat.

While Helen has not been a member of the WHCA for many years, her special status in the briefing room has helped solidify her as the dean of the White House press corps so we feel the need to speak out strongly on this matter.

We want to emphasize that the role of the WHCA is to represent the White House press corps in its dealings with the White House on coverage-related issues. We do not police the speech of our members or colleagues. We are not involved at all in issuing White House credentials, that is the purview of the White House itself.

But the incident does revive the issue of whether it is appropriate for an opinion columnist to have a front row seat in the WH briefing room. That is an issue under the jurisdiction of this board. We are actively seeking input from our association members on this important matter, and we have scheduled a special meeting of the WHCA board on Thursday to decide on the seating issue.

Ed Chen, Bloomberg
David Jackson, USA Today
Caren Bohan, Reuters
Ed Henry, CNN
Julie Mason, DC Examiner
Don Gonyea, National Public Radio
Steve Scully, C-SPAN
Doug Mills, The New York Times

5 Comments

Journalists and correspondents should stand united. Opinion columnists should be allowed to be present, and participate in the issues of the day - particularly concerning matters of The People.

So much for the free speech. The First Amendment must be modified to make it illegal for anyone to say anything critical of Israel or Zionists.

Helen Thomas, a true American patriot, shouldn't lose her job for what she said. Someone should look into why our country is being hijacked by a lobby of a foreign country.

As for:

Ed Chen, Bloomberg
David Jackson, USA Today
Caren Bohan, Reuters
Ed Henry, CNN
Julie Mason, DC Examiner
Don Gonyea, National Public Radio
Steve Scully, C-SPAN
Doug Mills, The New York Times

In my opinion, they are not really journalists. They are the puppets of The Lobby. In countries with much less of freedom, the true journalists fight for free speech and risk their lives for it!

She was never an opinion columnist or to put it differently, if she was an opinion columnist she wasn't the only one on the room. Her opinion stood out because it was at odds with the submissive mainstream opinion of most of the rest.

Narrowing the diversity of opinion among the White House Correspondents even further than it already has been narrowed would be unfortunate, but it's hardly surprising given trends over recent decades. Fortunately people increasingly have other sources of information than the major media these days.

It was not her job and it is not anybody's job to reflect the opinion of "most of the people in here" or "the administration." And many mainstream people have said worse things about the Palestinians than she said about Israelis.

The "reporter" was trying to put words in her mouth
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/helen_thomas_is_retiring_hears.html
She made no reference to Jews or Judaism; she correctly identified these immigrants or immigrant descendants from europe & u.s.-occupied Turtle Island (who are also immigrant/immigrant descendants ... See Morefrom europe) for who they are & that they have no right, just as they have no right here on Turtle Island, to take over someone else's territory or nation-state (& there is absolute difference between * living* in a territory/nation-state & *taking over* a territory/nation-state) & control & oppress the Indigenous population there, & if immigrant/immigrant descendants can't or won't live in a place w/o trying to take over & control & oppress the Indigenous people there, they don't have to stay in a(n) Indigenous territory/nation & can go elsewhere. Ms. Thomas is absolutely correct that the Israeli occupation of Palestine must end, & it's interesting that the bush regime could only keep her out of white house press conferences while it occupied the white house but the Obama regime actually forced her out of her job permanently.

I'll try this hypothetical situation again.

You're about to be thrown overboard by humanitarian peace activists. You have only seconds to respond. Do you:

A .wave your press card and flash a peace sign?
B. announce that you once got coffee and bagels for Helen Thomas?
C. yell out,'Kareem Abdulla Klatu Barada Nikto'?
D. defend yourself

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 7, 2010 11:13 AM.

Obama at Ford's Theater. Transcript was the previous entry in this blog.

Helen Thomas retires: "I deeply regret my comments." Her statement. UPDATE is the next entry in this blog.

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