Patterico's Pontifications


Lanny Davis: Helen Thomas Is an “Anti-Semitic Bigot”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:14 pm

Helen Thomas’s agent has dumped her (via Hot Air):

In the wake of the incident, Thomas’ agent Nine Speaker Inc. announced that it would no longer represent her.

“It is with a heavy heart that Nine Speakers Inc. announces its resignation as the agent for Helen Thomas, Dean of the White House Press Corps,” wrote Diane Nine, agency president.

“Ms. Thomas has had an esteemed career as a journalist, and she has been a trailblazer for women, helping others in her profession, and beyond. However, in light of recent events, Nine Speakers is no longer able to represent Ms. Thomas, nor can we condone her comments on the Middle East,” wrote Nine.

What exactly has she done in her “esteemed career as a journalist”? As far as I can tell, she has routinely asked loaded and tendentious questions, often portraying Israel as an interloper in lands belonging to Palestinians. Not impressed.

For a less mealy-mouthed response, let’s look to Clinton sidekick Lanny Davis:

“Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot,” wrote Davis in a statement.. “She has a right to criticize Israel…. However, her statement that Jews in Israel should leave Israel and go back to Poland or Germany is an ancient and well-known anti-Semitic stereotype of the alien Jew not belonging in the land of Israel that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent Diaspora caused by the Romans.”

“If she had asked all blacks to go back to Africa, what would the White House Correspondents Association’s position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials – much less a privileged honorary seat?” wrote Davis, referring to Thomas’ seat in the middle of the front row at the White House briefing room.

One can only hope that the next people to turn on her will be the people responsible for providing her with press credentials.

Helen Thomas, get the hell out of the White House press room.

19 Responses to “Lanny Davis: Helen Thomas Is an “Anti-Semitic Bigot””

  1. The fact she has been given this much leeway already has been because she is a leftist. So basically if you are a Dem or liberal, you get a two racist statement mulligan.

    Mr. Pink (bb8267)

  2. Or take Joe Klein’s advice and move her to the back of the room and don’t take her questions:

    Thomas is a vestigial member of the White House Correspondents Association, an organization that mostly consists of those who cover the White House on a daily basis; most columnists–people like me, for example–are not members, although a smattering of opinion-mongers, even from obscure publications, have somehow managed to get themselves credentialed over the years. So it’s not unprecedented for journalists with odious views to have access to the press room. What is unprecedented is for such a journalist to have a front-row center seat. Thomas should no longer have that privilege. The front row should be occupied by working reporters, not columnists. The WHCA should sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats. This would accurately reflect her current status as a journalist while preserving her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants.

    Finally, I don’t see any reason why the President, Robert Gibbs or any other representative of the government should feel any obligation to take her questions.

    H/T Eric Blair.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  3. Patterico, as I posted on another thread, even Joe Klein suggests dumping her under that metaphorical bus.

    The things is, bigots on one side get a free pass. I hope not, this time. The D or R doesn’t matter; bigotry is bigotry.

    And make no mistake: Helen Thomas is a bigot.

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  4. Whoops, DRJ. You sure are fast on the draw, partner!

    Eric Blair (2708f4)

  5. Good on Lanny Davis for showing some moral courage. Now we’ll see whether the WHCA and the Obama administration can muster up the same moral courage.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  6. Bradley,

    Some are speaking out, a bit weakly but at least they are not defending her. We’ll have to wait and see if others and the President can locate their misplaced spines.

    “She doesn’t speak for the WHCA,” said White House Correspondents’ Association President Ed Chen. “Her views are hers alone. And now she’s apologized. Policing the views of opinion columnists can start us all all down a path that history suggests is best avoided.”

    “Helen Thomas does not speak for me, and she does not represent the White House press corps,” said McClatchy’s Steve Thomma. “It was an offensive comment. She was right to apologize for it.”

    “Helen has been a columnist for about a decade now and her strong beliefs on the Middle East are well known,” said ABC News’ Ann Compton. “I think I saw that she regretted these remarks and realized they were hurtful and inappropriate. Ari Fleischer is a private citizen and certainly free to express his opinion that this was a firing offense even for an opinion columnist. I would agree with you that Helen enjoys a rather special status as the White House. But I think her employer will have to decide whether the comments went over the line.”

    “This is disgusting stuff,” said one White House correspondent who knows both Thomas and Fleischer. “If anyone else said it, they would probably be fired. Ari has every right to be mad.”

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  7. Don’t count on this administration to do the right thing. They haven’t from day one and I doubt they have it in them. It takes a set of onions to take a stand and so far noone has exhibited any intestinal fortitude. Not one. From top to bottom. Nada. Zilch.

    PatriotRider (8d9a6f)

  8. “Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot,” wrote Davis in a statement.

    He just now figured her out? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer Lanny.

    MU789 (0b69bd)

  9. “She was right to apologize for it”

    UGH, I hate it when people backwardsly compliment people in this way.

    These people don’t care that Helen has thought this way for so long. They just think she broke a sensitivity rule by causing offense. It’s a completely backwards way of thinking. They think someone with Helen’s bigot brain who insults Israel with careful sensitivity is actually better than a truly non-bigot person who does not observe such care (for example, the Dean Summers questioning about why fewer women excel in PHD level science and math, or an argument against Affirmative Action).


    Dustin (b54cdc)

  10. Contary to the statements by Chen and Thomma, Helen Thomas did not apologize.

    She wrote: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon,”

    That is not an apology. She regrets her anti-Semitic comments. She did not apologize nor explicitly renounce them.

    aunursa (484069)

  11. I.e. She regrets that her comments were made public and exposed her for what she is.

    aunursa (484069)

  12. aunursa, no apology, a backpedal and manipulation at best. (I suspect she believes in her heart that peace will come to the ME…when Israel no longer exists.)

    NRO reports she has now been disinvited to speak at a high school graduation,

    Journalist Helen Thomas was scheduled to be the graduation speaker at Walt Whitman High School later this month — until Sunday, when she was disinvited after comments that she made about Israel and Palestine made many in the community uncomfortable, Montgomery Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill said Sunday.

    “We became aware that there are some unfortunate comments from her that are airing on YouTube,” O’Neill said. O’Neill said that especially given the large Jewish population at Whitman, the school was not comfortable with having Thomas speak at the graduation on June 14.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  13. Nine speaker dumped her because she wasn’t making them any money. Now they don’t have to say that.

    On the other hand, I’m sure that Helen Thomas will get lots of speaking gigs in the middle east.

    Jack (e383ed)

  14. if Ear Leader, do not denounce Helen as the anti-Semitic hag that she is, then he deserves to and needs to be painted once and for all with the same brush.

    either the First Failure takes a stand against her statement or he supports racism of the sort he claimed that he never heard at his church for all those years, and, either way, he finally gets to pick a side.

    nut up or shut up, punk. stand for something or go to hell.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  15. plus also she hates Jews

    happyfeet (682797)

  16. Lanny – You could have thrown Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in there as well for starters as long as you were naming names.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  17. I.e. She regrets that her comments were made public and exposed her for what she is.

    It’s a Kinsley gaffe. She accidentally said what she really believes.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  18. I anxiously await the White House’s actions towards Her Vileness. Not that I expect them to do the right thing, as PatriotRider said – they never do.

    I can see November from my house, it’s getting clearer all the time.

    Vivian Louise (643333)

  19. Don’t count on hearing this too much from the likes of me, but I think the Obama admin. probably played this one right. If the OA had come out criticizing her, the natural “we can criticize our own, but don’t you dare criticize One Of Us” mentality in the WH Press Corps would have kicked in, and the narrative would have been, “She’s just from a generation that isn’t as sensitive as most of us, and besides, she apologized! Whaddayawant?”

    However, by letting the Press Corps eat one of its own to prove how “sensitive” it is, the Obama admin. gets a three-fer: The OA doesn’t have to say much of anything, and lets the press prove its kiss-up-edness when it was starting to fade; Helen Thomas gets her ass booted out gently retired; and, best of all, the OA gets a read on exactly how hard it can go on Israel.

    Also, a minor point:

    anti-Semitic stereotype of the alien Jew not belonging in the land of Israel that began 2,600 years with the first tragic and violent Diaspora caused by the Romans

    WTF? I know it was a long time ago, but I think Mr. Davis has made the basic mistake of confusing the Romans with the Babylonians, two cultures separated by eighteen hundred miles and a few centuries. The clue for Mr. Davis should have been connecting Rome to a date 300 years before Alexander the Great (who was rumored to have wandered through the area in his time).

    Redhawke (167313)

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