Those who awarded her respect often did so because she was one of the first women in the press corps. But honoring this accomplishment came with a hefty price: ignoring the blatant bias of her questions and rudeness of her conduct. Media liberals offered her more than respect. They clearly enjoyed her ranting outbursts from the hard left. When she mocked Bush and American military action, this hater spoke for them, saying the ugly things they wanted said.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank is a good example. He disparaged her hateful Palestine remarks, but then hailed Thomas for offering "a ferocity to her questioning that has eluded too many in subsequent generations. At a time when others were getting cozy with sources, her crabby, unrelenting hostility was refreshing." Journalists cherish ferocity and unrelenting hostility -- when it comes from journalists.
Milbank still fondly recalled how Thomas yelled at President Obama just two weeks ago. "When are you going to get out of Afghanistan? ... Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse? And don't give us this Bushism, 'If we don't go there, they'll all come here.'"
Milbank did not note the irony from his own newspaper on June 7, with the front-page story about the two aspiring jihadis who were nabbed by the feds in New Jersey as they attempted to travel to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab. One had said to an undercover cop he would be "doing killing here, if I can't do it over there." Thomas thought her opponents were relentlessly dogmatic, but her unjust-war-on-terror narrative never acknowledged some jihadis want to kill us. In fact, they've already killed more than 3,000 of us.
The coverage of her retirement was sickening. ABC, CBS and NBC all marked her retirement in a very narrow way. There was the offensive clip, and CBS and NBC allowed Obama flack Robert Gibbs to distance the White House from those remarks. But beyond that, the only sound bites came from sympathetic media colleagues, wishing her well.
ABC reporter Dan Harris even suggested Thomas should get a break for her Jew-hating because she's approaching senility: "After all, many of us have elderly relatives who have lost their verbal filter." So we should feel sorry for this hater?
Helen Thomas is leaving the White House with all the hate she's been bringing to the grounds for decades. Despite their ill-advised adoration, the White House press corps has been improved by her retirement.