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Poor Helen Thomas

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Eighty-nine-year-old Helen Thomas is being maligned by nearly everyone these days for having voiced to Rabbi David Nesenoff, of Long Island, New York, her opinion that Jews in Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home to Germany and Poland — and America — and everywhere else!"

Many in the government have in recent history been displeased with the esteemed and generally well-loved Ms.Thomas. The George W. Bush administration was a frequent target for her criticism. She was outspoken in saying that The United States was out of line in the invasion of Iraq. She held that President Bush had no regard for the deaths of so many innocent people in Iraq. These remarks invoked the ire of President Bush.

Helen Thomas has served as a Hearst Newspapers columnist, then as a member of the White House press corps for 57 years, and later as White House Bureau Chief for United Press International. She has also authored five books on politics and presidents.

Hostilities of late involving the Israel and Palestine differences have reached fever pitch. Osama bin Laden has stated that the Western occupation of Palestine is his greatest motivation for terrorist activities such as the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Iran, which some Muslims claim as the center of the Islamic world, has indicated that Israel could be “wiped off the map in a week.” The West may be taking subtle steps to distance itself from Israel. Thomas was far less than subtle — she believes the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the region and the Jews, driven from Egypt many centuries ago, are interlopers on the Palestinian Land. Helen Thomas’ remarks reflect a possible solution to this age old and now flaring problem.

The liberal Ms.Thomas remarked to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that the White House's stated position of "regret" for a flotilla raid by Israeli commandos in recent weeks was less than appropriate. Her words: "Our initial reaction to this flotilla massacre — deliberate massacre, an international crime — was pitiful. What do you mean you 'regret', when something should be so strongly condemned? And if any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms. What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country [Israel] that deliberately kills people and boycotts — and we aid and abet the boycott?"

Clearly Ms. Thomas' views are her own. Democratic President Barack Obama told The Today Show that "her comments were out of line; that it was a shame her long and much celebrated career should end in controversy."

Helen Thomas does indeed reflect extreme views, this at a time when many are avoiding extremism, embracing moderation. She later apologized for her remarks. She wrote: "I deeply regret 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."

Helen Thomas will be well remembered. It may be said she spoke her mind, now at this time of great peril. Freedom of speech may be the issue, but we concede her remarks were not in keeping with the official American point of view.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Let’s grant it – she spoke irresponsibly. Still, the Helen Thomas affair reveals the MSM hypocrisy. She’s being crucified on the altar of political correctness, especially in light of the recent IDF’s acts of military aggression and high-sea piracy. It’s a misconception to think that MSM spoke loudly and clearly against the IDF: most of the rebuke and criticism had come from the international press.

    The same double standard has been evidenced by the recent Security Council decision to issue sanctions against Iran – under US leadership of course. The same US which didn’t go aboard in condemning the Israeli behavior – a sentiment shared by the international community.

    It definitely looks as though US is the main culprit in trying to render UN ineffective. But in so doing, it clearly displays its own duplicity: if anything, both Israel and Iran should be condemned.

  • John Lake

    The United Nations is strong in measures signed, signatures affixed; but the only real source of strength for the U.N. is in its members. They must have wisdom, compassion, and patience.
    The Bush presidents sought a ‘New World Order’, in which all the problems of the world would be ended by unity. Their error was in thinking that unity could be accomplished in a decade or two. Such change may be inevitable, but only over many, many generations. We have seen the growth and development of the Eastern World, as in the modern cities in Persia, and Turkey, but the Jews/Palestinians still lag behind in constructive change. Someone on a newscast over the weekend said, “Zionism is Racism.” Some of the traits many Jews revere may indeed be faults.
    The idea of the Jews being interlopers is extreme but has some grounds. We recall the maps and diagrams we have seen, of the way the early people of the world spread from Africa and came to cover the globe, all this over thousands of years. We recall the movement of the human race even to Australia, and New Zealand. The settlement of the Jewish People may be viewed in that light.
    Obama has been moderate, and non-involved, in much the same way he was non-involved in the Iraqi elections; far preferable to the troublesome Brits. And as we speak, Obama is meeting with the Palestinian Officials. He (Obama) should be supported by the American Public and the Republicans. I think the Republicans are realizing that.

  • Baronius

    Thomas wasn’t objective enough to serve as a reporter, and she wasn’t influential as a commentator. I don’t remember her ever being objective or influential. These days every other person in the country has a political blog, and a lot of them break stories or cause mini dust-ups. But I’ve never heard anyone quote Thomas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her on a political round-table, and those things will take entertainment reporters or even weathermen. OK, maybe not weathermen, but you know what I mean. In a world where everyone’s opinion mattered, Helen Thomas’s didn’t. Hearst has been wasting its resources on her, which is kind of a noble way of showing respect for the old guard, but they’re much better off with her gone.

  • Of course condemning Israel is not anti-Semitism.

  • Just as condemning America is not unAmerican.

  • yes, Roger, but arguing with Ruvy is unproductive.

  • John Lake

    Arguing with Ruvi? Impossible!

  • Possible, but exasperating.

  • Ms Zola

    ms. Thomas has a right to speak her mind whether i agree with her or not. America is still a free country and we have the precious freedom to say what we think. She does not speak for the Obama Administration. She speaks for herself. I am amazed that so many people would deny her that privilege.

    Most of the land that the Jews live on in Israel was purchased from the previous owners. They bought a desert and turned it into a flourishing country. The did it with blood, sweat, and tears. They should no more be forced off of their land than the inhabitants of America should be forced to give up their home to an American Indian or Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona to the Mexicans.

    What’s wrong with this world is that religion rules a country….any country. religion should be a separate entity…..a personal thing shared in a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple.

  • Baronius

    She has a right to speak her mind, but no guarantee of a job.

  • A Geek Girl

    Hey hey, Z! My family is Cherokee. It was our land first. Nobody purchased it and worked it with blood sweat and tears, unless you mean slave tears. But yeah. Definitely can’t give Arizona to the Mexicans. That would suck.

  • A Geek Girl

    Baronius, that made me snort! heheh

    You’ve summed up the story of my life.

  • I don’t feel sorry for Helen; nor Mel Gibson who was drunk when he made his Anti-Semitic remarks.

  • Ruvy

    Where did anybody get the idea I wanted to argue with anybody? I only want to see a fan club set up for the respected dean of the White House press corpse, a fine woman unfairly driven from her job by the Jewish lobby that so viciously tricked her into making the intemperate statements she did – like about having to Americanize her Arab parents….

  • “so viciously tricked … into making the intemperate statements she did . . .”

    Sounds like your job description and saving grace.

  • A Geek Girl

    Ruvy, shush.
    Nobody’s talking to you.

    I wanna know why I can’t get my native American ancestral lands back.

  • Ruvy

    Geek Girl,

    I’m talking to you.

    You can’t get your ancestral lands back for the same reason we couldn’t for 20 centuries. Your people were killed off in a not well organized genocide, and then were driven off of our lands by white thieves, who are the squatters. Getting the damned squatters off is one hell of a job. Especially when they got all the guns, the media, the money….

    G-d gave us something of a miracle – but we paid a high price. Not as high as the Native Americans have though. When I lived in Minnesota, the phrase “the only good Injun is a dead Injun”, ran like an unspoken meme, a stream of common agreement in a large part of the state.

  • Ruvy

    Geek girl,

    That was “driven off of your lands”….

    And I was not trying to offend you if I did. I was just being honest.

  • Where did anybody get the idea I wanted to argue with anybody?

    i believe it was the 4.7 metric buttloads of comments weighing down the database servers at technorati.

  • A Geek Girl

    Mark! Shame on you! What we have stuck up our butts on technorati is nobody’s business but our own.

    Ruvy, There were days when the sun was so cruel, that all the tears turned to dust
    and I just knew my eyes were drying up forever.
    It’s hard to believe, but it’s all coming back to me now.

    You’re okay my friend. I just want to make sure they don’t give our hallowed burial grounds to Mexicans.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “When I lived in Minnesota, the phrase “the only good Injun is a dead Injun”, ran like an unspoken meme, a stream of common agreement in a large part of the state.”

    ah, yes… the good old days of the 1870s.

  • Well, he’s reliving it right now.

  • Ruvy

    Ah, yes… the good old days of the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s.

    There! Fixed for you, zing!

    Yer welcome.

  • A Geek Girl

    If Celine Dion doesn’t work I always have an arsenal of Abba and Cher. Half breed, that’s all I ever heard. Rog… my teepee? Say ’bout 9?

  • John Lake

    I am aware Ms. Thomas is American born, of Lebanese decent. Her harshest critics make that point. I have no knowledge of any influence of Islam in her background.

  • You’re getting me here into a cultural maze I’m at a complete loss.

    Cher is the only only I could relate to. The rest of ’em I had to google.

  • No Islam, just humanitarianism. But to Ruvy it’s one and the same.

  • A Geek Girl

    That wasn’t an answer.

  • zingzing

    ruvy, you forget my family is from minnesota and i’ve traveled there before, many, many times. spent whole summers up there. in various parts of the state as well, from mankato to minneapolis to small town central minnesota, all the way up to duluth and the iron range. i never once heard that kind of shit out of the mouth of a minnesotan. nor did i ever sense this “unspoken meme.” in fact, my mom’s cousin married an indian, and they raise indian children, and she’s very well-respected in town, as is he. small town, but still.

    i think you’re making stuff up. it’s junk.

  • “Freedom of speech” indeed! Her constitutional rights were blatantly violated by the repressive Bush administration, I mean the White House, I mean Hearst, which should not have fired her; I mean should not have accepted her resignation. It was a day which shall live in infamy!

    She may, conceivably, have blotted her copy book but only a little bit and besides she was probably right. It’s not as though she said something bad like, I mean, you know, something racist: Islam is not the religion of peace or something else disgusting, like Hamas should respect human rights even more than it already does!

    Not only that but those vile miscreants who have been saying all those nasty things about her should be jailed until they regain their senses (if any) and apologize, just as sincerely as she did. Water boarding is too good for them.

    Ruvy — where can I sign up for the fan club? Will you be the president? Can we collaborate on an hagiography? How about a reality TV series?


  • He didn’t tell you the whole truth. He was extradited.

    In fact, they paid him a one-way ticket with a proviso – to never come back.

  • I thought it was ten Indians to start with. And then, there were none.

  • Ruvy


    Roger is the president of the club, not me. I’m just not well educated enough; I can barely spell the names of leading left wing philosophers, like Foucault. So he is the fellow you should contact on the hagiography.

    He’s a brilliant writer, with a deep understanding of all the sensitive human issues involved. I think a hagiography would be best – that way, if she (one ought not speak so hallowed a name) drops dead in the middle of your collaboration, the two of you can continue on your valuable contribution to the literature of illiterate mankind….

    I wpuld be interested in the TV series, though – especially the part about her Americanizing her parents. That touches a chord with me.

  • Well, Ruvy, I understand the problem. It’s a shame that those of us who don’t understand the subtleties can’t function well in society; oh well, life is rotten and we must become accustomed to it.


  • with apologies to Groucho, why not join a club and beat him over the head with it?

  • @31 No Ruv, I was trying to get Rog to come to my teepee so I can slather him down in war paint and have a little pow wow. No offense to Helen, but he’s smokin’ hot, you know?

  • Ruvy

    Ah, love in the ruins. Have fun, Geek Girl. My wife wants to know why I won’t come to bed, so off I go….

  • Thanks for vote of confidence, GG. I’m certain it would be a hell of an experience. Unfortunately, I’ve just ran out of peyote – Courvoisier more precisely, since Kentucky sour mash isn’t sufficiently refined – and I’m afraid the high is dissipating.

    All I’m left with it Heineken beer, for what ever good it will do me. So if you don’t mind my taking a rain check, I’ll be very much obliged.

  • Love in the ruins. Walker Percy’s novel

  • Good article, John.

    her remarks were not in keeping with the official American point of view

    And that says it all. It also demonstrates the reality of how ‘freedom’ works. Obama fails to defend her freedom of speech. Why am I not surprised?

  • If Ms. Thomas had made an anti-Christian comment, she’d still be sitting in the front row; however, what is done is done.

    I also wonder what has happened to free speech. Or maybe my mistake is the “free” part.

  • Excellent point, Victor, your first line.

    Is it perhaps because we feel guilty about atrocities committed against the Jews – more recent, admittedly, than those against the Christians – that we overcompensate?

  • zingzing

    she’s 89 years old… time to retire anyway. that said, anyone who’s not a reactionary over-politicizing idiot knows she isn’t an anti-semite. she just got sick of israel running rampant and went off. what do you expect? she’s 89 years old. she says what she thinks. when i’m 89, you’d better stay the hell out of the way of my opinions, because they’ll be coming pretty bluntly.

  • Exactly, zinger, she was expressing her frustration – quite a human trait if I may say so.

    Still, Victor Lana made an excellent point, don’t you agree? We’re overreacting because of the Holocaust, pure and simple. Political correctness taken to extreme.

    Do you suppose Ruvy is sensitive to the nuance?

  • Ruvy

    Now let’s get serious about the Jew-hatred that infests the “liberal” media. I don’t care how guilty or not guilty you feel for the murder of a third of my people 65 to 70 years ago – or whether you feel you over-compensate. That’s not my problem; if you feel that you want to expose your Jew-hatred in full, remember I will condemn you every way I can…. Your Jew-hatred will be made to be your problem.

    Let’s have a look at how anti-Semitism didn’t retire when Helen Thomas did. First, from Helen Thomas Forced Out For Ruining Journalists’ Respectable “Anti-Israel” Facade. She Shouldn’t Have Been. And second, Helen Thomas, an unsung heroine of the Zionist cause. From the second article:

    Veteran reporter Helen Thomas uttered only a few words. She said that Jews should ““get the hell out of Palestine” and go home to “Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else.”

    It is an elegant, truthful, concise and accurate summary of the ideology and goals of the “humanitarians” who support the cause of the Hamas. It cut through the reams of self-righteous and evasive obfuscation about the real goals of the anti-Israel and anti-Zionist campaign. This is what it is really all about. Boycotts, blockades, apartheid slogans, negotiations, complaints based on bogus international “legitimacy” are all a smokescreen to cover up that simple goal.

    Thomas’s utterance was only a part of the truth perhaps, because the whole truth is too unpalatable for decent people to swallow. The unknown voice on the Turkish “freedom flotilla” who told the Israel Navy, “Shut up! Go back to Auschwitz!” was probably closer to the actual spirit of these “humanitarians.” The idea is about the same though.

    Thomas illustrated, as no Jewish spokesperson could have done, the only really important issue in the anti-Israel campaign in general, and the campaign for Hamas specifically. Who and what is being supported in the name of peace and humanitarianism? The Hamas are as truthful as Helen Thomas. They write in their charter that their goal is the physical annihilation of the Jewish people, to fulfill the “words of the prophet.” A flotilla of fanatics screaming “Khaibar Khaibar 0 Jews! The army of Muhammad is approaching” came to aid the Hamas. Demonstrators for the wonderful cause carry signs that say “I hate Juice” and scream “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” All this is somehow prettified and swept under the rug, to spin the cause of Hamas into a humanitarian crusade.

    Thomas said what all these progressive “peace” supporters are thinking. That was a big mistake, though it is to be noted that a lot of people actually think she should not have resigned.

    Go ahead, you lovers of Helen Thomas. Go choke on your Jew-hatred and on your self-righteousness.

  • Ruvy

    Do you suppose Ruvy is sensitive to the nuance?

    The nuance is this, Roger. Helen Thomas cut through all the bullshit.

    “Jews – get the hell out of Palestine! Go back to Germany, Poland, America, wherever…”

    That guy on Mavi Marmara – “Shut up! Go back to Auschwitz!”

    Let’s shorten that to what it really says.


    Yeah, Roger, I thing I’m sensitive to that “nuance”. It’s almost as subtle as, “the only good injun is a dead injun”.

  • Ruvy

    Any more subtle nuances, Roger? I’m all ears….

  • Ruvy

    Lets add to those subtle nuances of “expression of opinion”, folks. Rabbi Nesenoff, whose microphone the now retired Helen Thomas graced a few days ago, has received a huge amount of hate mail, 25,000 pieces as of reports yesterday, including such gems as “We’re going to kill the Jews, watch your back.”

    “[Thomas] is just a little cherry on top of this huge, huge sundae of hate in America,” he added, reported Arutz Sheva. The rabbi has decided to post the hate mail online, without censoring out vulgarities or threats, Arutz Sheva said.

  • Jordan Richardson

    That guy on Mavi Marmara – “Shut up! Go back to Auschwitz!”

    Considering the fact that the IDF has admitted to having edited the audio footage from the raid and considering the fact that there are three different “official accounts” of the statement(s) and those similar to the “Go back to Auschwitz” slur, it’s hard to take the account at face value at this point and time.

    If you hear the full audio, finally released in all of its five minute glory, you can hear that the “Go back to Auschwitz” comment sounds incredibly disconnected and out of place from the rest of the audio communication.

    The most accurate thing said about this entire situation thus far, specifically the aforementioned comment, is that the voice is “unknown.” There’s even speculation that the “Southern accent” is a fake.

  • Ruvy

    Having trouble with that bone in your throat – are you, Jordan? The truth can do that to people who refuse to believe facts.

    And what southern accent?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ruvy, your comment makes almost no sense to me. What facts am I “refusing to believe?”

    As for the Southern accent, I’m referring to the voice that says “We’re helping the Arabs go against the US, don’t forget 9/11 guys.”

    You can hear the accented guy at 5:42 of the full audio recording, which you can listen to here.

    I repeat: the only sure thing about this particular situation (the radio transmissions) is that the voices saying “Go back to Auschwitz” and “Remember 9/11 guys” are unknown.

  • Ruvy


    Thank you for the link. I’ve provided it myself elsewhere, though I do not remember where, and have listened to it several times. I don’t concern myself with the “southerner” or whatever he is, though Arabs have tried to blame Jews consistently for blowing up the World Trade Center. I concern myself only with the fellow who yells “shut up, go back to Auschwitz!” While the IDF might have edited both in so they would appear in the same 5 minute recording, I’m inclined to believe that both originated on the boat, but perhaps at an earlier or slightly later time, and that there was more conversation than has been released – by anybody.

    I know something about how the minds of these guys at the IDF work. I’ve seen their work before.

  • Jordan Richardson

    While the IDF might have edited both in so they would appear in the same 5 minute recording

    No, the IDF claims to have edited the original tape as it was initially released. The five-minute version linked in my comment is the “unedited” version, not the initial release from the IDF.

    As to what particular specifics of the recording you “concern” yourself with, I submit to you that you ignore anything that calls into question the validity of these audio recordings – including a strange-sounding “Southern accent” – at your peril.

    I do, however, understand why your perspective would draw you to the “Auschwitz” comment – but please understand that your perspective makes it difficult to accept your version of things at face value.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “Go choke on your Jew-hatred and on your self-righteousness.”

    ruvy, you’re the one choking on it, particularly the self-righteousness. you’re a walking, talking definition of it. you’re the one repeating whole comments and shoving words into peoples mouths. you find meaning where there is none. you refuse to listen to basic reason. you see nearly everyone around here disagreeing with you and it never even crosses your mind that it could be you that’s wrong. because you KNOW you’re right, and you KNOW we’re all stupid jew-haters. which you also know we’re not, but does that even mean anything to you anymore?

  • Ruvy


    According to this tape from Arutz Sheva, there were some 40 people from the IHH on the Marmara, and it appears that a number of them were at the mike

    I was listening very carefully to the link you provided, and especially to the Turkish voices, and one of them early on in the tape was that of the fellow who shouted, “shut up, go back to Auschwitz”. He wasn’t shouting when talking in Turkish. There were several people at the mike answering the IDF Navy, but one of them – who was not really “at the mike” at all, and who sounded very blurred – sounded very American with rounded r’s. This might have been the southerner. The accent did not sound faked at all. I have neighbors from Texas and Tennessee who sound just like that. There were a number of Turks checking to see if their mikes worked, counting 1-2-3 in English and then in Turkish.

  • “Still, Victor Lana made an excellent point, don’t you agree? We’re overreacting because of the Holocaust, pure and simple. Political correctness taken to extreme.

    Do you suppose Ruvy is sensitive to the nuance?” #44 – RN

    “The nuance is this, Roger. Helen Thomas cut through all the bullshit.” #46 – Ruvy

    “Any more subtle nuances, Roger? I’m all ears….” #47 – Ruvy

    Irony of ironies – responding to irony with a straight face. QED.

  • I spoke with a Columnist for a BC newspaper last night about this Helen Thomas thing. And the perception outside the US is right on the money — Helen Thomas was railroaded because of the powerful pro-Israeli lobby in Washington and their pro-Israeli counterparts in the MSM. Now, Ruvy, don’t go ballistic. Previously, Ruvy said:

    “…a fine woman unfairly driven from her job by the Jewish lobby that so viciously tricked her into making the intemperate statements she did – like about having to Americanize her Arab parents….

    Now, I’m sure we could argue the point that Ruvy is probably the most Zionist (for lack of a better word) of people around this place. Yet, it was Ruvy who really put things in perspective as stated above. He has a keen awareness of the destructive influence the pro-Israeli lobby has on Washington yet we can’t see the forest for the trees for ourselves.

    My opinions on the Middle East and the MSM seem to be in a metamorphosis of sorts. And now I’m questioning the motivations behind this so-called “pro-Israeli lobby”. Are these genuine “Zionists” really looking out for the welfare of the Israeli people? Or is their passion driven by some kind of misplaced guilt at not being over there in the “homeland”? Just what is in it for American Jews? It’s not like they live hourly in the heart of such turmoil. It’s great to sit in the gallery and be observers — but when does faith play its role?

    Helen Thomas, an American of Lebanese descent. OK, she has Arab blood in her. So, automatically in the minds of those on the Far Right and among the majority of uneducated Americans she is predisposed to being anti-Semitic. How quick we judge to conclusions. Unlike the majority of White House press corps, Helen Thomas didn’t kiss any ass. She did her job. Those who wish to marginalize her role in WH press do so out of sheer ignorance or blind faith in an ideology that is destroying America faster than the BP oil is killing the Gulf.

    We don’t belong in Israel. Just as we have no business being allies with an oppressive regime in Saudi Arabia which stands in diametric opposition to all that we hold sacred in the United States. But sticking our nose into Israeli affairs guarantees politicians access to wads of cash and power. Just as maintaining this sick relationship with the House of Saud insures that our oil companies have access to liquid gold. Our government is driven by corporations. Our corporations are driven by a handful of men who don’t give a rat’s ass about any one of us here on Blogcritics or around the globe. Let us not forget that the former CEO of BP is now the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Wake up and smell the rotting stench coming out of Washington, folks. Every hour that business as usual continues, shortens the life span of this country by months or years. We need change now – from local town halls to the White House not in the White House Press Room.

    And as a post script, the notion that a member of FOX News may take Helen Thomas’ seat is more than I can bear. If this comes to pass it proves one thing. Rupert Murdoch’s money is buying up some very important real estate in Washington and we, the wee folk, should be frightened as hell.

  • Ruvy was being ironic, Silas, can’t you see?

  • Just proving a point, Roger. Like the rest of the factions, I’ve learned to pick and choose the words and let the chips fall where they may.

  • Whatever he thinks of the pro-Israeli lobby, he has nothing but contempt for Helen Thomas. And that’s a fact.

  • Irene Wagner

    Contempt for public figures by debaters is OK.
    Contempt for debaters by other debaters is not OK, not because it’s “not nice” but because it “spams up” what might be enlightening conversations about controversial subjects.

  • Irene Wagner

    OK! Not OK! That’s the way one speaks to little children. Sorry for the misstep.

  • I wasn’t expressing any contempt for Ruvy in case you failed to notice – only addressed the facts.

    Are you getting overheated?

  • Irene Wagner (#61), if BC could by dint of software filters or closer monitoring by comments editors eliminate posts expressing contempt for debaters by other debaters, these threads would be as thin as the intelligence shown by such commenters. In other words, there’d be precious few folks left. Unless, that is, you suppose that a crackdown would compel people to clean up their act and treat one another courteously. But surely, Irene, you are not that naive.

  • Irene Wagner

    Nothing so draconian, Alan. Reminders from the community to self-monitoring are often effective.

  • I must concur with Alan, however, as to the “thin intelligence” of the commenters.

    No appeals to “self-monitoring” could possibly remedy this fact.

  • Irene Wagner (#65), OK, let my try this from a different angle. Even allowing that “reminders from the community to self-monitoring are often effective,” which I (along with Roger) doubt, such reminders would in that case be a form of communal censorship. And isn’t that a bad thing? After all, chewing the scenery and bad-mouthing one’s opponents are part of the appeal of commenting online. Why should we be deprived of such fun just to streamline a “spam”-free thread for your convenience?

  • Right, Irene, don’t be a spoilsport.

  • Irene Wagner

    Alan, on the contrary, I think reminders from the community can be HIGHLY entertaining. As yours just was.

  • If entertainment would be their main value, then I’m all for it.

    On analogy, I suppose, with “reminders” on how to spot a troll. In three easy lessons.

  • But back to Helen Thomas. Putting aside the video ambush and subsequent downfall. Has anyone read any of her work? Has anyone taken into consideration the vast span of years she has served in that room? This woman is a veritable font of history and while some of her interpretation of history is skewed by her views, she remains an essential part of White House media for half a century.

    I get why people are pissed off at her. I don’t get the self-righteous indignation of members of the media and of the political world. It’s almost like several are salivating over taking Helen Thomas down. So? What is the motivation behind the glee? Did they hate her so much that they lived for the day they could ride her out of Washington in a veil of shame? What the movers/shakers have accomplished is carrying out their latent disdain for Arabs and, yes, females. Don’t think for one minute that there isn’t a scintilla of gender bias here, folks. A Lebanese-American female member of the media. She may as well have worn a burka. Because what she is defined how she is perceived and that, my friends, is yet another example of the duplicity of America’s politics and her media.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Alan, do you ever comment on anything other than the state of commenting at Blogcritics?

    Here I was seeing your name and excited to learn a smidgen about your perspective on this whole Helen Thomas matter and instead you’ve chosen another hollow critique on the way comments and commenters are approached at BC.

    Glad to see you’ve taken up the fight, I guess. But why are you so interested (obsessed?) in how the comments “process” at this particular website takes place? Why is this particular subject so vastly important to you (so important that you sift through years-old comments to pin accusations on the “inner sanctum” of the site)?

  • Marcia Neil

    Maybe she was positioned to perpetuate a ‘Clark Bar’ poll — most people over age-50 have had at least one, and would want to eat another no matter what the name is.

  • However, Cannon, don’t discount the possibility of fascism resurrected when shit hits the fan. Yes, even in America.

    People always look for scapegoats, because identifying true causes of their condition is way too much work.

    So at least in this respect I can understand Ruvy’s concerns, especially since antisemitism forms such a formidable history of the Jewish people.

  • There was a very interesting exchange between Queen Noor of Jordan and Bill Maher last night on Real Time. Bill was tough and she maintained her own. It was compelling and I recommend viewing.

  • sosadofthisrubbish

    she spoke as she felt and did not suggest murder as others have when they say Obliterate.
    But she gets hounded out and kicked even once they have won the day and got her removed. How well the Israeli cover their own hate up and try to pretend all hate them.
    Well said helen Thomas and good luck. Now will the press give her a break, you did enough and deserve no respect for it.
    pandering to Israel in a way that just increases the hatred of America in Al Q eyes.
    well done american press you have created another few terrorists and still forgotten to mention how

  • Barbara-helen thomas-sister

    helenthomas is not anti-any peopleor person for who they happen to be. It is what is done , injustice, suffering to or of people that compells her attitudes. She is above all for fairness ,So lets try to give Palistinians fairness for once. they have no power but anger, justified anger. as for how Israel became Israel – if the land was purchased for most part – how come there was death , destrtuction of life and property? And historical accounts of how the landwas taken are very very clear. the majority there at the time , palestians,, never had a chance and still have no chance to reclaim life. Helen had to speak – She is for fairness to Palestinians in all of thisas well as for Israelis who must understand their misery and anger- thank you

  • Joe

    Helen Thomas is a disgrace and should beg her family to lock her away in an insane asylum so she doesn’t say any more anti-semitic dribble.