The death of Helen Thomas (at age 92) raises the question: Was the Grande Dame of Washington journalism a model for young aspiring journalists? Or instead did the controversial “dean of White House correspondents” chart a course to be avoided in 21st Century journalism? In this 2009 article for Accuracy in Media, Wes Vernon traced some notable events in Thomas’s stormy career as a White House correspondent:
Helen Thomas: Symbol of Media Decline
Wes Vernon — February 13, 2009
Author’s Note: Below is a lightly updated version of an article I penned for Accuracy in Media in 2009. The italicized material is new (except for the Editor’s Note at the beginning which appeared in the original.)
(Editor’s Note: On November 12, 2008. Editor & Publisher reported that “After surviving some health issues, Helen Thomas, the most veteran White House scribe, is ready to take on Barack Obama! She’s returned to her White House beat and is already complaining about him naming too many Clintonistas. She says she will not give Obama a honeymoon—oh, maybe, one day. Thomas reveals that she did vote for Obama and never thought there would be a black president.”
Following this report, Thomas gave an interview to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation morning TV interview show, “Sun Day,” and declared, “I’m a liberal, I was born a liberal, I’ll be one ‘till I die. What else should a reporter be when you see so much and when we have such great privilege and access to the truth?”
(In a January 19, 2009, column, Thomas declared that “… Obama has a lot to prove. Let’s hope he doesn’t blow it.”)
To read the original article, click here.
In addition, in 2010, AIM Editor Roger Aronoff interviewed Rabbi David Nesenoff, whose YouTube moment on the grounds of the White House practically put an end to Helen Thomas’s journalistic career. That was the interview in which she said that the Jews ought to “get the hell out of Palestine.” You can read that article and interview here.