Ari Fleischer

The Sad Ending Of The Career Of Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas had a long, distinguished career at United Press International, and was the dean of the White House Press Corps, always allowed in recent years the opportunity to ask the President of the United States the first question at White House press conferences. She has reported on every President since John F. Kennedy took the oath of office!

She entered the journalism field in 1943 when she was 22 years old, and therefore, had a run of 67 years in journalism, certainly the longest career anyone has ever had in print journalism, with only a few exceptions such as Mike Wallace, Walter Cronkite, and Daniel Schorr in electronic journalism able to match her longevity!

But Thomas made a fatal mistake when she was recorded, and later spread on You Tube, asserting that the Jewish population should leave Israel for the Palestinians and “go back to Poland, Germany, America” and elsewhere!

This statement bordered on being anti Semitic, and it brought up the Lebanese Christian heritage of Thomas’s parents. It was a totally inappropriate and outrageous declaration by Helen Thomas, and it led to a firestorm of protest coming from such people as Ari Fleischer, former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush, and the present Press Secretary to President Obama, Robert Gibbs.

Very quickly, Thomas profusely apologized, but the damage was done, and the Hearst News Service, her most recent employer, announced the end of her service with them, and she announced her retirement.

It is certainly time at age 89 for someone to retire, but not under such circumstances! It brings up the issue of how does one recognize it is time to leave any job or profession, and in a graceful way! Unfortunately, there are many examples of people unwilling to deal with retirement, including politicians of both parties who, like Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd, resist the inevitable!

This is a growing issue for the future as America ages, and the need for counseling to understand when it is time to give others a chance to enter as you leave gracefully!