June 10th, 2010
12:27 PM ET
8 years ago

Thomas takes swipe at White House reporters over war coverage

 Helen Thomas criticizes White House reporters in a newly released interview.

Helen Thomas criticizes White House reporters in a newly released interview.

(CNN)- While many of Helen Thomas' colleagues condemned the longtime White House reporter over her controversial comments on Israel, Thomas herself took aim at her fellow journalists in a just-published interview.

In the interview with Vice Magazine conducted in March but published Thursday, Thomas says White House reporters failed in their duty to question the Bush administration's assertions in the lead up to the Iraq War.

"I think that journalists became afraid to be called unpatriotic if they didn't support a war, even one that was obviously not true," Thomas said in the interview. "No one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost….We went to war on lies."

The magazine said it decided to publish the comments in the wake of Thomas' resignation after she said Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine," and that the Jewish people should go home to "Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else." The White House Correspondent's Association condemned the statements, though did not directly call for her resignation.

Thomas, a longtime critic of both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, also told Vice her colleagues bear some of the blame for the ongoing conflicts.

"Everyone rolled over and played dead at a time when they should have been really penetrating. They were there for Watergate. But in this case they bought all the propaganda. Or, whether they bought it or not, they took it and spouted it," she said.

Filed under: Helen Thomas
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    She's telling the truth – Bush lied, Bush wanted to go to war at any cost, Bush continued to lie throughout both of his illegal administrations - she's telling the truth with that statement.

    June 10, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Thomas has a point, but her bias is so strong and her lack of knowing the history is so profound that draws into question what she says. If your point is good but based on questionable information, then it should draw critizism.

    June 10, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Randy, Indiana

    She just told it like it was if people don't like it then lump it .

    June 10, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. adam

    We will miss you Helen. Thank you for your service to all of us.
    You're absolutely right – journalism is a joke in this country.

    June 10, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Brant

    I think in her assessment of the media and Iraq/Bush, she's dead-on correct. Most reporters turned into agents of propaganda and lies leading into that war. And it was very clearly contrived, I felt at the time.

    June 10, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Guntown Johnny

    If Helen had any guts, she would have been throwing these bombs for the past 9 years at her colleagues, challenging them to get some guts instead of waiting until she's been involuntarily booted out the door for her own bigotted views. It's too little, too late. Helen, your 15 minutes are up.

    June 10, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Pam

    Helen you are very right on this one.
    The Bush/Cheney administration used the emotional state of the country after 9/11 to gain support of their plans to invade Iraq.
    Many of us wondered at the time why others were not questioning why our government turned from hunting terrorists to hunting access to Iraqi oil fields!

    June 10, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Kitchen Police

    There are very few press giants like this one left. At 91 she has no problem speaking truth to power. In poltics, unfortunately, the truth is always the first victim.

    June 10, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. k

    Go Helen! Truer words were never spoken. Look what their propaganda got us into, all for the name of big oil. But when we listen to the Republicans today they point fingers at our current administration.

    June 10, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Mo

    I may not share her views on Israel, but on this, she's probably right, hate her or like her, you have to acknowledge her years of experience and her steadfast belief in America.

    June 10, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Ben Yaweh

    Helen Thomas is absolutely right. I believe that her comments on Israel were out of frustration, i.e., the same old rethoric and double standard when it comes to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. Never once has the US condemned Israel's actions and Israel has never been forced to abide by any of the UN resolutions as other countries. Furthermore, we all know that the Palestinians are paying the price for Europe's crimes against the Jewish people.
    Unfortunately, Capitoh Hill is also Occupied terriority and that will not change anytime soon.

    June 10, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Dave, Central Illinois

    I wonder if the old hagg will comment on how the press is giving Obama a free ride? I bet not. The slobberfest continues...

    June 10, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. JeffAB

    I find it somewhat gratifying that one of these liberal reporters finally got their comeuppance. Journalistic intergrity went out the window a long time ago. Now, the media has a political agenda. The American people know this - look at the plummeting ratings for network news broadcasts. The people are tired of listening to liberals spew their garbage.

    June 10, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. NVa Native

    Stick it to them Helen Thomas.
    Of course she is 100% correct. Ad to the corporate media the parasites that are fox media and you have a nasty climate of fascism. Which allowed the Bush/Cheney regime to the evil they did.

    June 10, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Peggy - TX

    Helen Thomas is just telling it like it is. If there was not truth in her words... she would not be so quickly condemned so vehemently. Keep it up Helen, some things need to be said and now that you answer to now one, maybe you can speak a little louder and clearer.

    June 10, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. son1

    Helen Thomas is a racist witch and I have to suspect that the majority of the journalist she works with share her racist feelings albiet they would never say how they truly feel out loud for fear of losing their job.

    Today's journalists are bought and paid for by foreign interests just like our politicians are bought and paid for by both special interests as well as foreign interests. These so called journalists refused to investigate the facts surrounding the call for war in Iraq just as they refused to investigate this joke of a healthcare debacle that the "enemies of America," I mean our so called Political leaders passed.

    June 10, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Ron Mosher

    I agree with her. The press really dropped the ball in not asking the Bush/Cheney administration the hard questions that needed to be asked. They instead seek to glamorize the news stories they promote and end up causing a lot of harm.

    June 10, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    All the hate, fear, lies being spread by some of our right-wing legislators (death panels, birth certificates, etc), and no one even disputes them with the truth. Not even ONE journalist.

    A person gives her opposing opinion and loses her job.

    SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS - it will spread from AZ to the other states in no time. Makes me wonder why our young men and women are dying to protect our "freedom".

    June 10, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. carlos

    Ms. Thomas......you are CORRECT on both issues and should not have resigned, I wish others would have the guts to say it as they see it rather than ditto...ditto..ditto

    June 10, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    No one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost….We went to war on lies."

    Aaaahh. The total liberation that can be found in retirement........and old ladies that have NOTHING TO LOSE!

    While I do not agree with the way you worded your answer vis a vis Israel and Palestine, with THIS statement you have endeared yourself to me. Nothing like the sound of the truth.

    "PRESIDENT BUSH WANTED TO GO TO WAR AT ANY COST....WE WENT TO WAR ON LIES". How sweet it is. Thank you Ms. Thomas.

    Also, thank you for pointing out that the so-called press was in cohoots with the then resident White House buffoon. They are knee-deep in President's Obama's every move, thought, and utterance. However with the one that they should've been watching and reporting EVERYTHING on they kept quiet and played ball at the expense of lives on both sides of the ocean. How do you wash that kind of blood off of your hands I ask you?

    And how do some of you out there continue to thank Bush for 'keeping us safe' and doing so much for our country? You have to be a special type of Totally Confused Moron to continue to defend people and actions that are indefensible just because they belong to your political Party, and share your skin color.

    June 10, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Flipper

    It's time for the bigot & anti-semite to go away quietly. Perhaps a real journalist will now take her front row seat.

    June 10, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. citizen

    She speaks the truth.

    June 10, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. Rab

    Your right. The White House press corp is a joke and they still aren't asking questions. With Obama in there its even worse becaue they all just want to bask in the prescence him rather than ask tough questions. No real news comes from them its just controlled media.

    June 10, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Dano

    Ms. Thomas comes from a time when the media was independent and not owned by corporations that decide what news Americans get to hear. I agree with her wholeheartedly on the issue of Bush/Cheney and the preemptive war in Iraq, and can't say I disagree with her that Israel should not be in Palistine. The world would be a much better place if the recreation of Israel never occurred.

    June 10, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Lets give Sarah Palin her front row seat, and then see what happens....

    June 10, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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