Sunday, June 06, 2010

It's time to can Helen Thomas (UPDATED AT BOTTOM)

Helen Thomas is an outstanding journalist, but her comments about Jews getting "the hell out of Palestine" are impossible to defend. (Click here for the video.)

Unfortunately, she is now becoming a story; and although she has apologized for what she said, the controversy is not going away.

Nor should it.

Hearst, her employer, needs to do the right thing here and send her packing. Whatever stature Ms. Thomas has earned through her long years of journalism cannot deflect us from telling her it is time to move on.

UPDATE: 6:06 p.m. EDT: Let's engage in a little hypothetical situation here, and I admit that doing so often is inadequate in an attempt to fully understand an actual event. But bear with me because I think this hypothetical will help you grasp why I am fully in support of any dismissal of Ms. Thomas.

Imagine if she had been asked to voice her opinion about Blacks and had suggested in her response that they needed to get "the hell out of the United States" and go back home. Would anyone have stood for that rubbish? Why not?

Or imagine if she had been asked to voice her opinion about Asian-Americans and had suggested that they needed to get "the hell out of the United States" and return to whatever Asian nation is part of their roots. Would anyone have stood for that rubbish? Why not?

(I'm not sure what the public reaction would have been had she weighed in on the Mexican-American or immigration debate, and you can read into that whatever you wish.)

I know what some of you are thinking -- I'm not comparing apples to apples because Ms. Thomas was bloviating about an international issue, not one that pertains directly to the U.S.

Baloney, I say. In making her comments, Ms. Thomas showed at minimum a disregard for common sense and at maximum a historical blindness that borders on offensive. It was less than 70 years ago that Jews were massacred in Poland and Germany, the countries Ms. Thomas thinks are the places to which they ought to go.

I also hear what others might be thinking: However offensive Ms. Thomas' comments were, they were not made while she was wearing her journalistic hat and therefore she's allowed to hold whatever opinions she wants. She was, to borrow a popular phrase, off the clock.

Really? Go ahead and make the comments made by Ms. Thomas, and then let's make sure your employer finds out about it. What are the chances after you say "hey, I was on my own time, so you can't touch me" that you won't be given a pink slip?

She was wrong, plain and simple.

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