Thursday, April 25, 2024

Helen Thomas Self Destruction: Rabbi Has More on Tape


Has Helen Thomas destroyed her career after 50 years of covering the White House?

It doesn’t look good. I am told the Rabbi who videotaped her anti-Semitic comments has more that he hasn’t posted yet.

Thomas’s video taped anti-Semitic comments have rocked the internet. Thomas, speaking directly to a camera, tells a roving reporter that the Jews should get out of Palestine, and return to Poland and Germany. And America. And everywhere else. She’s sort of forgotten about why they left Poland and Germany, but that’s another story.

Subsequently, Thomas has sort of apologized on her website. (Who knew she even had one? But it’s for the 89 year old member of the White House Press Corps to hawk her books. Thomas currently works for Hearst Publications.)

Her initial comments were made at an event in Washington for Israel on May 27th. The apology reads: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt 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.”

When I first saw the Thomas video, I thought: she’s old, she’s confused. She doesn’t understand. But watch the video.

Thomas seems to be talking about Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian state. Maybe, you think, she’s talking about West Bank or Gaza settlements.

But that’s not what she’s thinking when she says the Jews should go back to “Poland, Germany, America or anywhere else.” That’s not Israel she’s criticizing. And in that split millisecond, her entire career comes crashing down. All the good Helen Thomas did, sitting in those White House press conferences, asking tough questions of president after president–it’s all gone. Over. Done.

You wonder now, what else has been on her mind all these years?

Can she survive what she’s done? Others have managed come backs from similar situations, but they were younger, or in show business, and not held to a very standard. Thomas has been a flag bearer for nearly a century, and has come to represent what they think of a honesty and integrity in journalism. But I do think that’s it. A legacy has been destroyed. In the process, we learn something very grave and deeply disappointing.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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