Helen Thomas exercised her Freedom of Speech rights under the First Amendment. Yet Thomas, whose career as a White House correspondent and columnist for Hearst Newspapers came to an abrupt end when she submitted her resignation today.
Two weeks ago FOX Sportscaster Chris Myers made inappropriate remarks about Hurricane Katrina victims and illegal immigrants. He issued an apology like Thomas yet he still has his job.
The 89-year-old Thomas conducted an interview on May 27th on RabbiLive.com that was captured on video. Thomas inexplicably suggested "Israelis should get the hell out of Palestine."
Thomas continued that "Jews should go back to Poland...back to Germany...and America, and everywhere else."
Thomas quickly issued an apology to quiet the noise. She stated of her comments, "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."
Her apology apparently felt on deaf ears. Some, including the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman believed the apology wasn't sincere enough. He stated. "Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history,"
Foxman continued, "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."
According to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs President Barack Obama called the remarks from Thomas were "offensive and reprehensible."
Should Thomas have been forced to resign for her comments?
The short answer is yes. It's quite obvious for those who understand history knew 6-million Jews were slaughtered in the name of oppression. Aryan fascist dictator Adolf Hitler embraced the notion of a master race and was the chief architect of the mass slaughter.
Thomas is old enough to have witnessed a lot. It's very perplexing as to why someone with 50-years of experience would make such a blunder on video. It appears lines need to be drawn with respect to the so-called "freedom of speech" that supposedly exists.
Meanwhile FOX sportscaster Chris Myers made despicable comments about Hurricane Katrina victims and the immigrants of Arizona yet he didn't face any type disciplinary action. Myers issued an apology and now his inexcusable blunder is history .
Both Thomas and Myers have a world of experience yet it doesn't seem fair one is punished and the other wasn't.
At what point does the so-called "freedom of speech" stop being free?
Should Thomas have been forced to resign because of her comments?
The short answer is yes. There are certain lines that responsible journalists shouldn't cross. We should have the freedom to say what we wish yet be astute enough to exercise a level of balance.
It boils down to a level of common-sense. It's doesn't take a rocket scientist for someone to make such disparaging remarks about Jews on video. It also, doesn't make sense to make disparaging remarks about African-Americans and Latinos on radio like Myers did.
Yet Thomas gets canned and Myers doesn't?
Sounds like a double-standard. No, it's not a matter of comparing the slaughter of 6-million senseless deaths suffered at the hands of oppressive racists like Adolf Hitler versus a natural catastrophe with Hurricane Katrina or racist legislation like Senate Bill 1077.
The point is both Myers and Thomas crossed the line with despicable comments. Both crossed the unofficial line of sensitivity therefore both should have been disciplined in a similar fashion.
What if Thomas said President Obama was "Un-American" and was against Civil Rights like Rand Paul: Would Thomas had been forced to resign?
What if Thomas said Katrina victims were "sitting on roof-tops blaming the government" would she had resigned?
Probably not. It's certainly food for thought.
In any event, President Obama suggesting Thomas' comments were "offensive and reprehensible" was right on. I also agreed with President Obama when the Henry Louis Gates situation broke that unfortunate situations can foster "teachable moments." As we all know that "teachable moment" never surfaced. Just a cold beer at the White House and it's all good.
Unfortunately there aren't any lessons being learned. It's time like these where people with platforms should collectively take stands. Situations like these, while unfortunate, can be "teachable moments". The only question remains is who will be the teacher.