The Face Which Launched A Thousand Lunches
August 5, 2010 by Ben Crystal
The Venus De Milo. Michelangelo’s David. Rodin’s Thinker. And… Helen Thomas?
According to the Detroit Free Press, the disgraced former UPI reporter is going to be cast in clay for an outfit called the Arab-American National Museum. Whether that august collection is more “Smithsonian of Dearborn,” or “place your parents made you visit on those long car rides—(a giant ball of string!”)—is immaterial. What is important is timing, and intent.
Helen Thomas’s career as a journalist extends back to WWII. In fact, she was reporting on events in Washington before President Obama took his first steps. (I will leave the geographical location of those steps to your imagination.)
A daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Thomas rose through the ranks—eventually becoming the dean of the White House Press Corps.
But the old adage held true for the old girl: “getting to the top is a lot easier than staying there.” Thomas’s leftward bias drew the attention of Americans who expected more news and less opinion from the 4th Estate. She left UPI in 2000 after 57 years, and took a job more suited to her particular talents: liberal opinion columnist for Hearst Newspapers.
Thomas spent most of the next decade expressing her displeasure with President Bush. While that alone puts her in one of the least exclusive media clubs in the world, Thomas evidently wasn’t satisfied with skewering the GOP. As she put it during a speech in 2008:
“I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter. Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’"
Not exactly the kind of inquisitive impartiality one might expect from a venerated veteran of the front lines of reportage. After all, isn’t it the conservatives who “hate?”
Thomas engaged in pitched battles with the Bush Administration. She once told an autograph seeker that Bush was the “worst president in history,” and that if Dick Cheney ran for President in 2008 she would “kill herself.”
All the while, Thomas continued to present Islamic terrorist groups which engaged in bombings as victims of a US/Israel plot. In 2006, she rose in defense of Hezbollah, suggesting that Israel was entirely to blame for the unrest in the Mideast. Her rant was so appallingly bent to favor people who were, at that time, planting bombs next to Tel Aviv teenagers, that then Press Secretary Tony Snow was compelled to respond: “thank you for the Hezbollah view.”
Now, a statue of Helen to preserve her mug for the eons ahead. If a museum in Dearborn, Mich., (Dearborn boasts a population of which 33 percent are Arabic by heritage) is honoring a famous and successful Arab-American, then so be it. One might be tempted to suggest there are members of that demographic who are more accomplished, less offensive to victims of terrorism, or at least easier to look at. But the timing smells like day-old falafel.
Thomas stopped being the dean of the White House Press Corps this past May, after she popped her cork on camera about Israel in this exchange with a Rabbi during Jewish Heritage Day at the White House:
Nesenoff: We’re asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?
Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Poland…
Nesenoff: So where should they go?
Thomas: They go home.
Nesenoff: Where’s the home?
Thomas: Poland. Germany.
So the Jews should leave their homeland (in which they lived by the Word and Grace of the Land Lord of all landlords) and head for Germany. That worked out so well for them last time. How did Helen become statue-worthy—if not statuesque—at the same moment she pulled the stopper out of her anti-Semitism bottle? Mere coincidence seems unlikely.
As you read this a group headed by an Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf) with ties to backers of hyper-oppressive Sharia law wants to build a mosque within rpg-range of Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. Abdul-Rauf is of the opinion that 9/11 represented our collective chickens coming home to roost. (I hope he didn’t glom that line from Jeremiah Wright.) Rauf has also suggested that “…Osama bin Laden is made in the USA”—my, how insightful.
Americans are often excoriated for our lack of sensitivity toward Muslims, illegal aliens and portly ex-White House correspondents. At what point do those aforementioned folks owe us the same in return?
Heck, build a $100 million mosque which makes the Cathedral at Chartres look like a Vegas wedding chapel. But consider building it in Dearborn—or take Helen’s advice: build it in Palestine.
Her statue will look… lovely in the foyer.