THE TRUTH AS I SEE IT: A witch of a columnist

June 24, 2010

by Taylor Stephens

From copygirl to most controversial face in the news, and it only took Helen Thomas nearly nine decades.

The columnist turned chief of United Press International has never been an easy-going reporter, and she liked to make it known. She was relentless and demanding as a reporter, and she terrified foreign diplomats as a member of the UPI. Even Cuban dictator Fidel Castro would not talk to her.

In 2006, Thomas, then a chipper 85 years old, confronted former president George W. Bush about the Iraq war, accusing him of killing not only innocent Americans but innocent Iraqis.

In 2009, Thomas complained about President Barack Obama’s lack of transparency to the press and said not even former president Richard Nixon was as controlling of the press as President Obama.

On May 27, in her “crowning” achievement as one of the most feared and disliked journalists in the United States, Thomas said the Jewish people needed to go back to their “home” of Poland and Germany while subsequently telling them to “get the hell out of Palestine.”

In what was probably the best move she made in her entire career, Thomas retired June 7 and issued an apology on her website, which covered her deepest regret and how sorry she was and blah blah blah.

Her apology came too little, too late.

Have worse things been said? Sure, but that does not make what she said any less of a slap in the face to those who suffered and had family that suffered through the Nazi regime in Poland and Germany.

Obama called it a shame that she ended her “celebrated” career on such a controversial note.

Really, Obama?

You will sit with two Joe Nobodies and have a beer, but you will not call out Thomas for the witch that she is?

Do not feel bad for Thomas. She knows what she is doing. After resigning from the UPI, Thomas gave a speech to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and said, “I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?'”

I do not believe the sincerity of Thomas’ apology. This is what she does. She says things that she never should and then tries to avoid repercussions by immediately covering her tracks with an apology.

Based on her previous quotes, Thomas knew what she was doing and meant everything she said in her interview. There would have been more grounds to believe her apology had she not done this type of thing before.

Be realistic, Thomas: Not one of your apologies has been sincere since 1950, which is saying something for someone who has spent nearly a century riding her broomstick around the world striking fear into the hearts of foreign diplomats.

Taylor Stephens is a junior journalism major from Bossier City who serves as managing editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to tds026@latech.edu.