Helen Thomas and me at the same event on the South Lawn of the White House in 1989. She always got the front row
The legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas died today at her home in Washington. She was 92. My first gut -- on Twitter and Facebook, natch -- was to make a jab at her eye-raising -- if not entirely anti-Semitic -- comments that essentially ended her career a few years ago, at a time when most people's careers would have been over 20 years beforehand.
I did so via my phone, but was eager to see how high up in her NYT obit the incident was played. Was later able to read the obit and got my answer: Seventh graf.
... Ms. Thomas abruptly announced her retirement from Hearst amid an uproar over her assertion that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back where they belonged, perhaps Germany or Poland. Her remarks, made almost offhandedly days earlier at a White House event, set off a storm when a videotape was posted.I'm not one of those people who thinks Israel can do no wrong, but come on! Some seem to think my snark was out of line, but I'm not so sure. I did always admire her moxy and was thrilled to mingle with her at a Marlin Fitzwater press briefing while interning on Capitol Hill during the first Bush administration, which led to an invitation to a party on the South Lawn for the newly appointed (and first ever) secretary of veterans affairs. Although this might not be fair -- you didn't have to have lived through Nazi Germany to feel passionately about the Holocaust -- but I feel like I'd have had more sympathy for her if she'd grown up in the Middle East. But as a Kentucky-born Detroit resident, her attitude seemed to reflect everything that is wrong with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I'd like to think none of us will be remembered for the worst moment of our lives. But when it seems to reveal something about you that you were likely hiding all along, isn't it really just reporting the truth?