For years now Helen Thomas has been a challenging voice asking tough questions and refusing to accept evasions from White House spokespersons whose job it is to give as little information as possible. She never let go. During the lead up to the Iraq war, when too many of her colleagues were playing stenographer taking White House dictation, Helen was the ornery one demanding the truth. She was carrying the torch of a free press when many of her colleagues were unable to acknowledge that there was one to carry. Respect is due this woman. We owe her service and courage more than eye rolls and scorn.
In the incident under discussion, Helen Thomas clearly misspoke. She has admitted as much, apologized, and resigned from her post. It is a shame that her career ends this way. But Helen should be honored and revered for her decades of professionalism, not remembered for one mistake.
It would be an even bigger shame if the likes of Ari Fleischer and Sarah Palin were viewed as victors in this affair. Where was their indignation when Rush Limbaugh was making disgraceful and insulting comments about African Americans, gays, Muslims, and women and then was hosted and toasted at the White House? And did they speak out when Pat Robertson was making bizarre pronouncements connecting the devastation of Katrina or Ariel Sharon's stroke with God's justice? If I thought they understood shame, I would advise them to feel some.