Helen Thomas's comments were used so quickly to direct attention away from the flotilla violence, and shift it back to a victimization narrative....
But for me the more destructive diversion is how these endless media games work to divert attention away from an open discussion in the u.s. of the effects of America's role in the conflict (and region) on itself. Of how the u.s. is making the people of the region pay for America's inability to create for its own citizens a fair and sustainable economy that’s not addicted to oil or weapons....and global assassinations by the infamous White House Murder INC,[ circa January 24th 2002 in Beirut...] and global wars.... And also how America's failure to act impartially for democratic or human rights is so toxic to itself....
It seems like, for America, “leading” has become the ultimate escape from taking responsibility for the consequences of its actions and the biggest obstacle to creating a new role for itself, that places it on equal footing with others...
GORDON DUFF: CONGRATS ISRAEL ON A GOOD WEEK, PLENTY OF DEAD AND HELEN THOMAS FINALLY GONE: For decades, Helen Thomas, like John F. Kennedy, tried to prevent what has now dragged America into a chasm beyond survivability. For years the ADL, AIPAC and the State of Israel has fought to stop her.... Maybe it was time for Helen Thomas to leave the stage. Israel and its allies may already have destroyed America anyway. Her decades of effort, though steeped in honor, may well have been in vain. Would Shakespeare have written, “Et tu, Obomba?”
Thanks, Helen, for telling it like it is!
By Jerry Mazza
June , 2010
Thanks and hugs from all, Helen Thomas, 89-year old, oft-referred to “dean of the White House press corps,” who retired today, Monday, moments after the parroting White House Correspondents Association said it was considering stripping her of her front row press briefing room seat. What brought on their echoing ire?
Well, it was as simple as Helen suggesting back in May that Israeli Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and return to Germany and Poland “or wherever they came from.” Bless you, Helen, for claiming your rights of free speech and the press, constitutionally granted to you, and telling the violent if not psychopathic state of Israel where to go. I personally would have suggested hell, a more fitting place for these lying, two-faced lunatics.
You are a hero and secular saint in my book. I know in the eyes and ears of honest journalists around the world you are still setting the pace for truth and justice, regardless of consequences. Especially in the wake of Israel’s ruthless and illegal attack in international waters on the Turkish Freedom Flotilla, killing nine, wounding 30, beating then imprisoning the others. This as the six ships, which had all been vetted, and 800 passengers sailed to bring medicine, water, food, building materials and hope for Gaza and life back to the people of Palestine.
But then Helen, you were always at least a notch above, a questioner of note: from JFK to Ronald Reagan, through two Bush administrations, and the latest presidential lackey, Barack Obama, you persevered. To your undying credit, GHW would not call on you for three years you rattled him so. Yet you were the only female journalist to accompany Nixon on his historic trip to China. You also traveled with Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushies around the world. Not bad for the kid of Lebanese parents, born on August 4, 1920, in Winchester, Kentucky and moved to Detroit at an early age.
You covered the DOJ, FBI, Health, Education and Welfare, moving on to the Kennedy beat in 1960. You even made it the movie Dave, appearing with Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Laura Linney and Bonnie Hunt. Add to that several years as White House Bureau Chief for UPI, from which you resigned in 2000, but kept covering the White House as a correspondent for Hearst News Service. You were no lightweight, Helen, like the feathery types floating about today, looking over their shoulders in case some real news should bite them.
When Bush Jr. finally asked you back, your first question was “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?” And a lot of coughing and choking ensued.
Helen added at a later date, “I’m covering the worst president in American history.” Though she later wrote Junior a letter of apology, no one could fault her for lying, except perhaps Barack.
In 1976, she was named among the first 25 most influential women in America; in 1985 inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame; on May 20, 2007, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Siena College in Loudonville, New York, for contributions to breaking the gender barrier in journalism, though unquestionably she was the one with the cojones.
The board of the correspondents association met to consider how to respond to her “contentious remarks” and issued this statement -- questionable to its last syllable:
”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.”
Earlier on Monday, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, condemned the remarks made by Ms. Thomas.
Gibbs said he had not spoken directly with the president about it. But, he added: “Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. She should and has apologized. Obviously those remarks do not reflect, certainly, the opinion of I assume most of the people here, and certainly not of the administration.”
So Helen, dear Helen, take it all with a grain of salt and a good stiff shot of scotch. You were right on the money as usual and ahead of the curved spines behind you. So go home. Take your shoes off. And when you’re ready, start your fifth book, “How I Bested the White House Press Stiffs.” You are in all of our thoughts.
Miss Thomas has also written four books, “Thanks for the Memories Mr. President, “Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House,” “My Life and Times,” and the latest, “Watchdogs for Democracy: The waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public.” Bravo, Miss Thomas.Some of the Thomas backlash is unnecessarily critical of her words, which were a flippant off-the-cuff reply to a stupid question (I'm sure she wouldn't wish such a tragedy on the Poles and Germans, although, as all moral and decent people know, the Jews are eventually going to have to lose all political control in the Middle East), and which would have gone completely unnoticed had the Jews not needed to change the subject and cast aspersions on the motives of those who dared criticize their slaughtering of humanitarian aid workers:
- Farewell Helen Thomas
- You Got Played
- Jews for Helen Thomas
- Thomas Has Apologized; When Will Huckabee...?
- The Ambush of Helen Thomas
- Helen Thomas; An Appreciation
- Isn't there some room for Helen Thomas?
- On the Vilification of Helen Thomas
- Letter to the Honorable and Noble Helen Thomas
This interview with Helen Thomas was conducted in March. We were holding it for an upcoming issue of Vice magazine, but in light of what’s going on with her now, we’ve decided to run it online today....
Vice: When I watched you at press conferences during the George W. Bush years, you seemed pretty disgusted with your fellow journalists.
Helen Thomas: In the run-up to the Iraq War, no one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost. And he would not go back to the UN and allow them three more months to look and see if it was really true. We went to war on lies. I think 9-11 was definitely used to terrorize the people away from taking any stand against the government, because they felt it was a real crisis and I guess they—halfway at least—believed the government. Using terrorists is a very effective propaganda weapon.
Is it just me or did the mainstream press seem particularly flabby after 9-11?
They were afraid of not being considered real patriots, and I’m sure the big communications corporations got orders from on high. So they played ball.
In your decades at the White House have you witnessed this kind of complacency before?
Well, the Watergate scandal was the turning point in the White House in modern times. We took all the [Nixon administration’s] denials, and when they turned out to be absolutely wrong, when it turned out to be disinformation, it made reporters much more wary in that brief interval that followed. But of course 9-11 made everyone into a prime citizen again, and afraid to ask. The Pentagon was also very effective in propagandizing, as was the State Department, as was the White House. So, again, I think that journalists became afraid to be called unpatriotic if they didn’t support a war, even one that was obviously not true.
You were surprised by this?
I certainly thought, after the Watergate scandal and all the lies, that reporters had awakened. And they did for awhile, a very short time. But the government always prevails, because there’s always the feeling that we should believe what the government says. Even though I thought they didn’t have any credibility, people did go along. The reporters were very gung-ho about going to war. It was going to be two weeks. Everybody was going to be there a short time, come home, and live happily ever after. It’s been seven years now.
I notice that you’re the only White House reporter that questions why an event has occurred. You did it several times regarding 9-11.
That’s the reason we’re so easily led down the garden path—nobody’s asking “why?” The question “why?” should always be there. What is the reason this other government or these people would do this to us? But I had the impression that throughout the whole country, truth took a holiday. There’s been very little search for truth, except for a few people who have spoken out.
When you were sitting just a few feet in front of him at news conferences, could you tell that Bush was lying?
Not really. But you could tell by the answers there was no real answer that he wanted to tell you. Why did we go to war? “9-11.” Well, there were no Iraqis involved, and so forth. To this moment we have not heard why we went in. There’s been all of the speculation—daddy, oil, Israel, whatever—but still nobody has spoken the truth from the government’s side.
Read the rest here.
Israel-First’s media shills moved quickly to destroy another defenseless target in the form of the octogenarian journalist, Ms. Helen Thomas. Too bad she had not been on a relief boat, they could have just shot her in the head.
Let me say, that I carry no brief for Ms. Thomas. Listening to her consistently Liberal-biased questions at the White House was always a trial and often migraine inducing. But the liberal and conservative journalists who formed a lynch mob after she said the Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home to Germany, Poland, and America” shows the complete unity of the “unbiased” U.S. press corps when it comes to the topic of Israel. Ms. Thomas was hung because Israel’s interests required her hanging — no debate about U.S. support for Israel is permitted among Americans — and the media’s Israel-First U.S. citizens (or do they carry Israeli passports, too?) eagerly did the lynching.
About this event, people should read a story by Howard Kurtz called “Out of Questions” in the Washington Post (8 June 10). Kurtz says Ms. Thomas’s “hostility toward Israel has been no secret inside the Beltway,” which seems to mean the mass of Israel-First journalists with whom she shared a profession resented her opinion of Israel but lacked the manliness to confront her. They waited for a skulking Long Island Rabbi and his candid camera to set up Ms. Thomas and then slither home to put the tape on his website. They then piled on like the girly-men they are. For her fellow journalists, of course, Ms. Thomas’s views toward Israel were biased and hate-filled, whereas their own abject fawning over Israel is the way God planned things, and anyone who disagrees is preordained to get kicked by the boot the U.S.-citizen Israel-Firsters lick.
With his own skewering of Ms. Thomas, Kurtz adds quotes from a couple more first-team, Israel-First grovelers who had stepped to the plate to take swings at Ms. Thomas. From the so-called conservative side, the National Review’s Jonah Goldberg claimed “She’s [Ms. Thomas] always said crazy things,” insinuating Ms. Thomas always has been an enemy of Israel and/or that you have to be crazy not to love Israel and want America to fight its wars. From the liberal camp came the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg saying that “Helen Thomas offered the official Hamas position” — apparently accusing Ms. Thomas of being a terrorist is part of the lynchers’ tool kit. Kurtz finishes by quoting the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait who wrote in a 2006 that Ms. Thomas was prone to “unhinged rants” such as asking “Why are we killing people in Iraq? Men, women, and children are being killed there. … It’s outrageous.” One would think it hard to judge this as a rant in that half of all Americans in 2006 were asking the same question. But then again the Iraq War was waged to protect Israel’s interests at the cost of thousands of dead Americans, and so, for Kurtz and Chait, anyone who questions the wisdom or cost of the Iraq war clearly is “ranting.” For all these Israel-First shills the bottom line is “Free speech be damned when it comes to Israel.”
Now, there is no reason that anyone should agree with Ms. Thomas’s words about Israel, or even pay any attention to them. But there is no basis for or justice in the way she was treated for speaking her mind. Having your ears seared and your stomach turned by things you do not want to hear is what free speech is about. Until the 1970s America’s public square was a wide open, raucous, intelligent, and fun. Today, however, it is hedged around by hate-talk police like Mr. Kurtz, et al who think if they can suppress the speech they find offensive and lynch the offenders we will have a much better world, or, more likely, a world which they in their genius approve.
Well they are wrong. Efforts to suppress free speech, as in Ms. Thomas’s case, always backfire on the society they are mistakenly meant to perfect. That is why the Founders — who knew man cannot be perfected — wrote the First Amendment, and why they manfully absorbed attacks on themselves that far surpassed in venom anything that Ms. Thomas said about Israel. Anti-free speech efforts — like those the Israel-First fifth column specializes in — may for a time quiet people who prefer to avoid public vilification by the media’s lynching teams, but over time they will only harden minds and hearts. Indeed, the debates the hate-speech police and their laws mean to prevent will inevitably resurface in a more dangerous form, for when all issues cannot be openly, frankly, and even harshly debated and settled in the public square, violence always ensues.
Finally, in case you wondered who calls the shots in Washington, did you notice that neither the president, his cabinet, nor a single one of the 535 members of the federal legislature said a word in support of Ms. Thomas’s right to say what she thinks? Didn’t all these U.S. officials swear to “preserve, protect, and defend” the U.S. Constitution? Well, maybe they are just following orders...
(2) Les militants égyptiens formés à Washington et chez Otpor (28/2/11)
(3) The Protest Movement in Egypt: « Dictators » do not Dictate, They Obey Orders, par Michel Chossudovsky