Helen Thomas was born August 4th, 1920. Helen is an American author and a former news service reporter, Hearst Newspapers columnist and member of the White House Press Corps. For the past 57 years Helen served the correspondent, and more recently the bureau chief for United Press International (UPI). During this time Helen covered every president of the United States, from the late years of Eisenhower to June 7, 2010 of Obama’s second year.
Helen was the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents Association, in 1975, Helen became the first female member of the Gridiron Club. Helen was also the first female officer of the National Press Club. During her years Helen has written 5 books; her latest was written with Craig Crawford: Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do.
Helen’s career was not quiet, by no means was it quiet. Helen had a similar problem as mine; the inability to know when to shut up or know when to hold her rather brash opinions to herself. By her own admission to who seemed an autograph-seeker, Helen said “I’m covering the worst president in American history”. I am fairly certain those who read this now will look back at George W. Bush and agreed that Bush was politically handicapped.
Those who remember Bush’s inability to keep his reasoning straight as to why he started the war with Iraq, will enjoy the question Helen asked Bush on March 21, 2006; “I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet…your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth…what was your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil…quest for oil, it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it?” I’d like to know the same reason, however Bush responded by discussing the War on Terror, stated as a reason for the invasion that Saddam Hussein chose to deny inspectors and not to disclose required information.
Shortly after Helen raised her voice at the July 18th, 2006 White House briefing; “The United States is not that helpless. It could have stopped the bombardment of Lebanon. We have that much control with the Israelis… we have gone for collective punishment against all of Lebanon and Palestine.” Press Secretary Tony Snow responded, “Thank you for the Hezbollah view.” Gee look at that evidence that politics can easily change the views of a person to keep himself in power, taking a leaf out of Getuilo Vargas’ moral policies? Other members of the press weighed in. According to Washington Post television critic Tom Shales, questions like the one above have sounded more like “tirades” and “anti-Israeli rhetoric”. Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher described Shales’ attack as “disturbing” and said Shales “offers no evidence”.
On May 27th, 2010 just outside the Jewish Heritage Celebration Day event at the White House, Helen was asked about her opinion on the state of Israel. To which Helen replied. “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine [. . .] Remember, these people are occupied, and its their land; it’s not German, it’s not Poland’s [. . .]”. When asked where Israelis Jews would or should go, Helen fired back that they should migrate to other regions of the world. Due to these comments/opinions upon Israel, especially in the wake of the flotilla Helen has been metaphorically speaking on the firing line. Her position as a client with the Nine Speaker Inc was dropped. Crawford publicly announced that he was not going to continue any future projects with Helen. Yesterday Helen gave her resignation and entered retirement. Obama announced that her retirement was the right decision on NBC’s Today Show.