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Old 07-20-2013, 12:27 PM  
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Helen Thomas: Dead

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/.../?spt=hts&or=1

WASHINGTON, July 20 (UPI) -- Helen Thomas, who doggedly pursued accountability from 10 U.S. presidents as United Press International White House correspondent, died Saturday. She was 92.

Known to legions of Washington reporters simply as "Helen," Thomas was the doyenne -- and, unofficially, the dean -- of the White House press corps since the Kennedy administration, but never succumbed to the allure of power, prestige and glitz surrounding the capital.

"There is something about the White House that seems to encourage secrecy," Thomas once said. "Our role is really to try to make presidents accountable. The media, is the only institution in our society that has the privilege of questioning a president on a regular basis and making him accountable."

Politico said word of Thomas' death was spread in an email from the Gridiron Club, a venerable association for Washington journalists.

"Former Gridiron Club president Helen Thomas, our first female member, died Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness," Gridiron's Carl Leubsdorf wrote. "She would have been 93 next month."

Thomas -- who frequently reminded colleagues that, "You're only as good as your last story" -- wrote three memoirs: "Dateline: White House" in 1975 , "Front Row at the White House" in 1999 and "Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House," in 2002.

"It is a sheer joy to know that the work you have dedicated your life to has impacted others," Thomas said. "It was never my intention to become a great personality, only a great reporter. Pleasure in your profession puts perfection in your work. It's a labor of love."

The White House Correspondents Association honored her in 1998 with its lifetime achievement award.

President Bill Clinton called Thomas "a symbol of everything American journalism can and should be -- the embodiment of fearless integrity, fierce commitment to accuracy, the insistence of holding government accountable. All of that in the spirit of the First Amendment and the free press it protects."

Thomas was born Aug. 4, 1920, in Kentucky. She was one of six children of Lebanese immigrants and was raised in Detroit. She moved to Washington to take an entry-level job with the Washington Daily News. She joined United Press during World War II and joined UPI's White House bureau after John F. Kennedy was inaugurated in 1961.

She was the UPI White House bureau chief from 1974 until she left the wire service in 2000. She spent another 10 years as a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.

National Public Radio correspondent David Folkenflik said Thomas "broke barriers that prevented women from rising in the Washington press corps."

She was the first female president of the White House Correspondents Association and enjoyed the longest tenure of any member of the elite White House press corps.

Thomas' long career was not without controversy. She was known for asking blunt questions from her front-row seat in the White House press room and refusing to accept answers that were vague or off the subject.

CNN quoted Thomas saying, "I have never covered the president in any way other than that he is ultimately responsible."

Although she was well beyond retirement age, Thomas saw her career come to a premature end in 2010.

She became the target of outrage and controversy when she told an amateur videographer outside the White House that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine."

Thomas later apologized for the remarks but did not back down from her opinion.

"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," she said in a subsequent column. "May that day come soon."

Although Thomas was known for being prickly and not easily intimidated, she was also highly respectful of her position and always maintained she "felt very privileged to cover the White House."

"I see people peering through the gates and know they would love to be inside and know what's going on," Thomas said. "I wish the doors could be as open to them as they have been to me."

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/...#ixzz2Zbk3pkxG
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:30 PM   #2
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Whelp. She had a good run.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:44 PM   #3
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How could they tell?
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mikey23545 View Post
How could they tell?
Mirror under the nose.

She didn't respond to "long live Israel!" being shouted.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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One of the most biased reporters to ever live.

With that said, RIP you old battle axe.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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good. Shes doing her part for global warming.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:45 PM   #7
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bwana View Post
One of the most Hideos reporters to ever live.

With that said, RIP you old battle axe.

Fixed. Although not sure if spelling is correct.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:50 AM   #9
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:15 AM   #10
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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There was a time when she was on the cutting edge of feminism in society.

I mean, you have a woman grilling Presidents when society would have preferred her to be home cooking dinner.

I loved that the White House honored her for that and gave her the first question for decades. No question that she was biased, but she was still pitching some pretty good fastballs deep into the Bush administration.

She was an incredibly sweet person, by virtually all accounts. It's sad to hear that her abrasive views on Israelis got her kicked out of the news room, considering that abrasive views on just about any other ethnicity or country will get you a promotion.
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
It's sad to hear that her abrasive views on Israelis got her kicked out of the news room, considering that abrasive views on just about any other ethnicity or country will get you a promotion.
Sure, it really is a shame...

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Old 07-21-2013, 12:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bwana View Post
One of the most biased reporters to ever live.

With that said, RIP you old battle axe.
She should have retired a decade or two earlier. At that point, her bias could have been offset by the ground she broke as a female reporter to some extent. But that last decade or so, she really lost all perspective and became an unabashed advocate more than a biased reporter. People will overlook a lot of it because of her age and her icon status, but it should be kind of embarrassing to the profession, IMO.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
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Pfft. Thought she already croaked years ago. Won't be missed.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:02 PM   #14
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It's sad that a trailblazer in her career field gave up any sense of objectivity and became a such a party mouthpiece.

In a lot of ways Helen Thomas was everything that is wrong with journalism.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:03 PM   #15
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No longer moist. RIP.
Interesting take.
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