I’m not a big fan of speaking ill of the dead soon after their passing, so I was reluctant to write my column today on Helen Thomas. But the swirl of phoney-baloney praise and love for the woman was just too much. And since she would probably not be back in the news again, I waited a couple days and then took my shot (I see Jonathan Tobin felt likewise).
There is one point I couldn’t fit in the column. It’s always bothered me how so many in the mainstream press think it’s silly to say the press is liberal (despite all of the volumes of empirical data on this issue). But that’s not a new complaint, nor one specific to Thomas. But it’s always struck me as embarrassing for the high priests of the media that virtually every time a high-profile “objective” reporter is given a gig as an opinion columnist, they turn out to be conventional liberals or even further to the left. When they were reporters, they and their defenders acted as if it was almost weird to question or even think you could know what their opinions were. But then, the moment Bill Keller, Nick Kristoff, EJ Dionne, Anthony Lewis, Maureen Dowd and of course Helen Thomas (just to name a few) become columnists — surprise! — they’re exactly as liberal or leftwing as conservatives suspected. Helen Thomas, the “Dean of the White House press corps,” was an anti-Semitic leftwinger her whole professional life. When she was let off her leash she didn’t “prove” that to be the case — that had been proven long ago to people who paid attention — she made it impossible for her fans and enablers to deny it.