Helen Thomas

Bozell’s latest column deals with Helen Thomas.

Her reign ended with an implosion. A rabbi and two high-school kids in yarmulkes exposed Thomas as not merely anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic. Asked her opinion about the Jews at a Jewish heritage event at the White House, this daughter of Lebanese immigrants said they should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and when asked where they should go, she snapped “home” to Germany and Poland, where so many were massacred in the Holocaust.

Thomas apologized quickly, then retired from her Hearst column after these remarks. Whether it was voluntary or mandatory is unclear. What is clear, however, is that some in the press returned immediately to kissing her ring. “Few White House correspondents ever achieved her high profile and respectability,” raved Jeremy Peters in the New York Times. “From her coveted seat in the front row of the White House briefing room to her ability to cow even the most hardened White House press secretary, Ms. Thomas was a legend in Washington.”

The Helen Thomas “legend” devolved over the last decade after she left UPI, from annoying liberal Reagan-bashing scold to fire-breathing ogre. She bluntly admitted she was a hater in 2002: “I censored myself for 50 years….Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’” Is that the sound of rarified respectability, New York Times?

She clearly hated anyone who would wage a war on Islamic radicalism. Thomas sneered at press secretary Ari Fleischer in December of 2001 about President Bush: “I’m taking note of his wide-swinging threats in speeches recently. What makes him think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people?” Before the Iraq war in 2003, she demanded to know “Why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?” In her questions, the Americans were always psychotic killers of innocent civilians.

Those who awarded her respect often did so because she was one of the first women in the press corps. But honoring this accomplishment came with a hefty price: ignoring the blatant bias of her questions and rudeness of her conduct. Media liberals offered her more than respect. They clearly enjoyed her ranting outbursts from the hard left. When she mocked Bush and American military action, this hater spoke for them, saying the ugly things they wanted said.

The story has even made it here. They covered it on TV One last night.

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