Last week, Hearst columnist Helen Thomas, who has covered the White House for decades, ignited controversy and drew sharp condemnation when she offensively told Rabbi David Nesenoff that Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home [to] Poland and Germany and America.” Thomas, who has since apologized, has been dropped by her speaking agency, was disinvited from giving a commencement speech and is facing calls that she lose her job.
On Saturday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin weighed in on the controversy on Twitter, implying that the the rest of the political press condoned Thomas comments while real Americans like Palin condemned them:
But a funny thing happened on the way to Palin’s knee jerk criticism of the “lamestream media.” They didn’t do what she claimed they did or would do. In fact, as Patrick Gavin’s blogging at Politico makes clear, the press have almost uniformly denounced Thomas’ comments:
– “These comments are deeply offensive to many, many people,” said MSNBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
— “Her specific views about Jews became a bit better known last week, when she told them to leave Israel and go back to Europe. This is odious, obviously,” said Time’s Joe Klein, suggesting that Thomas should lose her front row seat at White House press briefings.
— “The remarks were shocking and indefensible. That is a fact and not an opinion,” said CNN’s Ed Henry
— “Helen Thomas does not speak for me, and she does not represent the White House press corps… It was an offensive comment,” said McClatchy’s Steve Thomma.
— “I concur with the following response from my agent to Helen Thomas’ lamentable remarks about Israel, and will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects,” announced CQ’s Craig Crawford, who wrote a book with Thomas.
Palin’s unsupported claim that Thomas would get a pass from “society’s enlightened elite” in the press is reminiscent of Glenn Beck’s assertion last week that “nobody” in the media except Fox News “seems willing to show” a video that the Israeli Defense Forces released to the press of the siege of the Gaza flotilla. But as The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart so ably demonstrated, Beck’s claim had no basis in reality since CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNBC and Univision all aired the video that week. Watch it:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Glenn Beck Airs Israeli Raid Footage|
Beck and Palin are both guilty of making unchecked assertions based on right-wing assumptions that are clearly separated from the facts. Or, as Jon Stewart said of Beck, they live “in a cloistered world of paranoid delusion that is impervious to a priori evidence that contradicts his worldview.”
Thomas announced today that she is is retiring, effective immediately.
,The White House Correspondents Association issued a statement saying that “Thomas’ comments were indefensible.”