RIP Helen Thomas

Obit-Thomas-articleLarge (1)Ninety-Two Year old Helen Thomas has died.  She was controversial, brave, and a barrier-breaking woman reporter back in the day.   This is from her NYT obit.

Helen Thomas, whose keen curiosity, unquenchable drive and celebrated constancy made her a trailblazing White House correspondent in a press corps dominated by men and later the dean of the White House briefing room, died Saturday at home in Washington. She was 92.

Worth reading: Twitter reacts to the death of journalist Helen Thomas Helen Thomas 1933

Thomas was controversial throughout most of her career and was known as a fierce advocate for social justice.

As news spread of Helen Thomas’ death Saturday, journalists, politicians and admirers paid homage to the trailblazing reporter who was a fixture at White House daily briefings for decades.

“Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Helen Thomas.  Helen was a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

“She never failed to keep presidents – myself included – on their toes.  What made Helen the ‘Dean of the White House Press Corps’ was not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account,” he added.

Female journalists took to Twitter to thank the woman who many said helped shatter the perception that political journalism was a profession only suited for bourbon-quaffing men.

“Helen Thomas made it possible for all of us who followed: woman pioneer journalist broke barriers died today,” tweeted NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell.

“Any woman who has had the privilege of sitting in the front row of the White House briefing room owes huge debt of gratitude to Helen Thomas,” tweeted Julie Pace, White House correspondent for the Associated Press.

I will have to say that you never had to ask for a better Press Corp or journalist when Helen was on the beat.  She could make powerful men sweat bullets with her tough questions.

10 Comments on “RIP Helen Thomas”

  1. Silent Kate says:

    This is just something of local interest here in Michigan. Suzanne Geha is a local newscaster. She was fired in 2011 after about 20 years of service. I really liked her and she was proud of the fact that she was Helen’s niece. I wonder if she was fired because of Helen’s statement on Israel or was it because they wanted some young blonde that could say, ” Cheese”? Regardless, I enjoyed her and liked the fact that she was related to Helen.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    What a lovely photo of Helen in 1933. R.I.P.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah … I loved it too!

      • newdealdem1 says:

        Oh, I so agree about that photo: it’s truly lovely. I have enormous respect for Helen and thought she was unfairly treated for her honest comment about Israel and inho she got it right: “Thomas career ended in 2010 when she abruptly retired after saying Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine.” IMHO, that should have happened years ago.

        I will never forget during the 2006 “Correspondents Dinner” where Stephen Colbert was the featured performer. I will never forget Colbert’s fearless performance right in front of the Bushes (which few performers would have had the balls to deliver because most want to be part of the power grid that is the correspondents dinner) and Helen Thomas was part of Colbert’s diss of Bush in 2006. It was remarkable and I’ll never forget how brave Colbert/Thomas were in their dual stand up to power brilliance.

        This video is about 24 minutes and worth every GD second. 🙂 (note: Helen Thomas appears at about 19.18).

        It’s poignant, ballsy and spot on true and funny as all hell. 🙂

  3. janicen says:

    She was never afraid to speak truth to power. RIP wonderful woman. Thunder has been rumbling all day today. Mother Nature is paying tribute.

  4. NW Luna says:

    We need more journalists (and editors, and publishers) as forthright and committed as she was.

  5. Silent Kate says:

    That video was funny. I don’t think I ever saw that before. Helen was very persistent. I wish there were more like her today.

    • Fannie says:

      Another chapter that has ended…..I loved her too, especially when she made waves. She was one hell of a good woman, and wasn’t afraid of no man. Much respect to Helen Thomas.

  6. RalphB says:

    I believe Helen Thomas would have approved…

    TPM: Report: Michigan Judge Orders Detroit Bankruptcy Filing Withdrawn

    A Michigan judge on Friday ordered Detroit’s emergency manager to withdraw a federal bankruptcy petition filed on behalf of the city, Reuters reported.

    State Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ruled that the law allowing Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to authorize the bankruptcy filing was unconstitutional, according to Reuters. Aquilina ruled in favor of Detroit retirees and workers who argued the Michigan Constitution protected the retirement benefits in their city pension funds.