Pioneer White House journalist Helen Thomas dead at 92

Helen Thomas Credit: Scribner

Helen Thomas
Credit: Scribner

Groundbreaking journalist Helen Thomas has died at the age of 92.

According to various sources Thomas died on Saturday, no details were available.

Thomas was known as the dean of the White House press corps and the ‘First Lady’ of the White House Correspondents. She was the longest serving White House journalist, covering 10 presidents starting with John F. Kennedy in 1961 until her controversial retirement in 2010.

The award winning Thomas was always front and center at White House news conferences and was famous for asking pointed questions, frustrating many a government spokesman and presidents alike.

In 2010, a video was uploaded to YouTube of Thomas saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.” Her statement unleashed a torrent of hateful attacks from Jewish spokesmen, demanding that Hearst Publications terminate her employment.dateline

One week later Thomas resigned her position and issued an apology on her website:

“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. 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.”

Thomas, was the daughter of Lebanese immigrants and was born in Winchester, Kentucky, on August 4, 1920. She was one of nine children. Thomas was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended Wayne State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1942.

She wrote a number of books including: “Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times” (1999); “Thanks for the Memories Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House” (2002); and “Watchdogs of Democracy? The Waning Washington Press Corps and How it Has Failed the Public” (2006).

Thomas was employed as a weekly columnist by the Falls Church News-Press in January 2011, but her contributions were sporadic.

 

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