June 7th, 2010
12:27 PM ET
4 years ago

Helen Thomas has retired, Hearst announces

ALT TEXT

Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas, 89, (pictured, center) was considered the dean of the White House press corps and held a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) – Longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas has retired effective immediately, Hearst Corporation said Monday.

The media conglomerate had employed Thomas, age 89, as a syndicated columnist for its newspaper chain.

Thomas, who was considered the dean of the White House press corps, had come under fire since late last week when a YouTube video surfaced showing her 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.”

In a posting on her website last Friday, Thomas apologized for her remarks. “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,” she wrote.

But the apology was not enough to silence critics who began a rising chorus of calls for Thomas either to be terminated or suspended by Hearst.

Related video: Ari Fleischer slams Thomas


Just prior to Hearst’s announcement, the board of the White House Correspondents Association released a statement condemning Thomas’ remarks. The group of White House reporters, which includes CNN’s Ed Henry, called Thomas’ remarks “indefensible.”

The reporters’ statement said, “Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trailblazer on the White House beat.”

And during a Monday morning briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs also criticized Thomas, saying, "Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. I think she should and has apologized because obviously those remarks do not reflect the - certainly the opinion of, I assume, most of the people in here and certainly not of the administration."

Updated: 12:59 p.m.

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soundoff (323 Responses)
  1. Wes

    lol.. got your wish.

    June 7, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Dennis

    I was surprised to learn that she was still alive. She seemed pretty old back when Reagan was President.

    June 7, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Bill

    She just voiced what is in the heart of most liberal journalists. It is no wonder the news is so slanted from most sources.

    June 7, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Mick

    All the best, Helen. The Press will be more compliant without you.

    June 7, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Anon

    oh well, she should have kept her flap trap shut. NEXT!

    June 7, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. PalmT

    About time! She has been working against Israel for years and now the real reason is clear – long time Anti-Semite.

    June 7, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. tvp

    Don't worry, Helen. You can probably get a job with Al-Jezeera, and they will understand you better there, although they'll make you wear a burqa.

    June 7, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. MJones

    Amazing what happens when you dare criticize Israel.....

    June 7, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Don of Iowa

    One of the most ignorant and outdated WH reporters has finally shown how out of touch she is with reality and has finally graced us with her retirement, all I can say is it should h ave happened a long time ago. She definitely outlived her usefulness many many years ago, say a good 30 years minimum.

    June 7, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Naqib

    One less hate filled jounalist...

    Bye Bye...

    June 7, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Ron

    Retirement is what comes when you speak the truth and some don't like to hear the truth.

    June 7, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. TinaC

    I can't believe that we live in a world in which people can be labeled an anti-Semite and have their reputation ruined just because they don't support what Israel is doing under the flag of "righteousness."

    June 7, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Marilyn A

    Does she think Christ was born in Poland?

    June 7, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. David Chavez

    Bravo, MS. Thomas! I commend you for speaking out! As the minions carry out their predictable character assassination to distract from the real issue–Israel's occupation of Palestine–rest assured there are many of us applauding your moral integrity... and rushing to buy your books!!

    June 7, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. ray

    the woamna is so right. israel needs to get out of gaza. israel is the world's dangerous country on earth. wake america, stop sending tax payers money to israel .

    June 7, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. Marc

    Good. Never liked her.

    June 7, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Daud

    Good riddance.

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. LMCC

    Good riddance! Maybe she is taking her own advice and going 'home' to Lebanon?

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Christina Strong

    Just because someone states their opinion does not mean that they have committed a crime. Helen Thomas is a respectable women and has devoted her life to reporting the truth. I trust her statements were not meant to do anything other than enlighten those that are blindly following one side

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. jerry

    Its about time that senile old bag retired. She will not be missed.

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Bruce

    Speak the truth and get early retirement -

    Amazing how powerful the jewish lobby is in this country -

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Kaywood Hopkins

    Sorry to see Helen go!

    It's not the Hearst Corporation is any better.

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. FFW

    She was fired. Let's call it like it is. "Controversial" is a bit gentle for what she said, ESPECIALLy considering it was to a Jewish radio station as she was leaving a Jewish Heritage event.

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. apbacker

    She is an icon in the field of journalism. I hate to see this happen. She will be missed...

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Eric

    Basicaly it's a shame because she was right, the illegal creation of this country, which was forced upon that region by a handful of nations is a huge part of the problem.

    June 7, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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