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. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    and she's absolutely right.... BUSH/CHENEY = LIES

    June 10, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Johnathan

    I wish Obama wasn't such a wimp.

    Only in America, can war criminals and environmental terrorists like Bush and Cheney NOT be strung from the gallows, but they are allowed to eat Filet Mignon every night and appear on TV or elsewhere to slam the people that are righting the ship.

    Disgusting to be an American in these times.

    Obama is a wimp.

    June 10, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. mike

    it is a shame to see a women reporter who has more nerve and guts
    then all of the reporters in the room she call it at she saw it and I find
    if most reporters would do that then the news and the world would be a lot different but even the news world is influenced by big business

    June 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. charlie from the North

    Seriously folks she should be checked for a tumor on her brain. How could someone so smart in March say something as stupid as she did in June?

    June 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I must have upset CNN's sensibilities when I asserted that the press was in cohoots with Bush. Let me try and be 'fairer' by saying that the so-called press was AFRAID of Bush. Afraid of having their lightbulb dimmed and not getting the little access that they were getting back then in regards to White House goings on. So yes, they kept mum and did not "press" for the truth lest they be labeled "unpatriotic", and or more importantly SHUT-OUT.

    Evidently we all have our price. The press sold out the truth and their soul in return for access to the White House. What is funny (but not really) is that they were being fed a bunch of lies and malarky, in return for them NOT asking the hard questions.

    So I'll reiterate.....how do you wash off that type of blood?

    Dare you post this CNN?

    June 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Jay

    Helen Thomas is right on just about everything! Criticize Israel and you lose your job... Scary

    June 10, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    It's too bad she didn't run for President when she was in her prime!

    June 10, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Angus McDugan

    I can't remember, did she ask these questions while she was there?

    June 10, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Watching The World

    Guntown Johnny June 10th, 2010 12:42 pm ET

    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.


    Did you not read the part where it said this interview was conducted back in March. BEFORE she was outed. Reading is fundamental idiot.

    June 10, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Carmelle

    Like it or not....(and since she has nothing to lose at 91)

    She is speaking the truth.

    False war + Katrina + Great Recession = Republican's legacy.

    June 10, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. laura ont

    I agree with her on the coverage of the Iraq war. Sometimes it takes more courage to say the truth.

    Does anyone recall seeing as many polls on Bush during his 8 years of pillage and plunder than they have over Obama in just over one.
    Of course not you would have been considered unpatriotic.

    June 10, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. PalmReader

    Helen Thomas is spot on! Now would be a good time for the media to get over themselves and stop trying to TELL Americans how we ought to think.

    A war that never should have happened. Throwing Palin at us and then wondering WHY most Americans saw through her Hockey Mom veneer. Oblivious to a tanking economy. Trying to push a bogus Tea Party agenda on America, even though most of us knew that these were only disgruntled GOPers in tea drag, pandering for the camera's The list goes on and on.

    When Americans rebel against the propaganda, the media shrugs its collective head and blasts us with even more of their propaganda - if only to prove corporate savy political points are what Americans really need - all the while throwing fictitious corporate generated polls and corporate generated what *real* Americans want trash at us 24/7.

    Only read the FOX NEWS/Conservative Talk Radio free advertisement comments coming from the right. Why watch Hannity, O'Reilly, or listen to Rush when you can get the low down daily on CNNs Ticker?

    Capitalism at it's best . . . bought and sold by corporate America.

    June 10, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Carmelle

    @Dave from IL:

    Admit that she's right first and then we can talk about the press and Obama. Until then, you are showing that you are not ready to be trusted on which party or president is better.

    June 10, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Susan

    I'm in total support of this woman. She's correct all around and she has the courage to open her mouth! We are at war for nothing, and if we'd known that we were headed for this, perhaps we wouldn't have had 2 terms of Bush. If we hadn't had 2 terms of Bush – maybe someone would have been inspecting the oil wells!! History can turn on a dime!

    June 10, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Really???

    To Guntown Johnny – The article clearly states that she made these statements in an interview in March. This was way before the whole Israel comment. So I guess your 15 seconds of intelligence are up too, eh?

    June 10, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Tough Love

    She's too old. She should not be in the WH press room. Her best days are long behind her.

    She is obnoxious, rude and impolite.

    She does not treat the President with the reverence and decorum that ALL reporters should. I'd like to see the WH show disfavor to those press organizations whose people are not well prepared or crude.

    All that said ... she was fundamentally correct about Israel. You can not expect to have peace when the land of millions of people has been stolen.

    Adding more non-Palestine / Isreal jews from America, Germany or Poland only makes the crowding worse and exacerbates the 1948 land grab from the Palestinians.

    June 10, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. frank

    She is s....She need to go where she came from. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO stupit.

    June 10, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    She's right. The media never questioned Bush on going into Iraq. Why? Most of us knew Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The media really failed us on this one, and has since become more of an entertainment or infotainment industry searching for ratings and revenue than an actual source of, well, news. Not only do we have to get the corporations out of DC, we have to get them out of the news rooms, too.

    June 10, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. john

    This old bag sounds like sour grapes now!! Go back to the nursing home and play dominos LOL

    June 10, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. DIANA

    She's 100% right. I'm ashamed of our journalism during that period. I was hoping for another Woodward and Bearnstein, (my apologies for misspelling his name), instead we got the National Enquire.

    It's sad that reporters like her are a dying breed. Maybe that's why print is also dying.

    June 10, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. desertique

    I share her frustrations with the Zionists in Israel and the USA. What we have here is a complete failure of humanity and Israel truly is losing face with the rest of the world. When the founders of the Islamic Republic of Iran speak of the disappearing Israel this is what they mean; an Israel that has committed so many crimes against humanity that they will not be able to continue to prop themselves with the USA. As history shows, maps do change and if their is anything the Persians know well, it is history, they are a civilization of longevity and prosper and I think they are reading the tea leaves correctly.

    June 10, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Big Ed

    On questioning the wars and "W", she is absolutely right.

    June 10, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. It was W who destroyed this country

    I heard Rove said after 9/11 "Never let a good terrorist attack go to waste!" Thomas is 100% correct on this issue.

    June 10, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. giggey43

    It won't work you old Hag – don't try to change the subject. Everybody just shut the heck up about President Bush...Let's see shall we start counting the lies from Bomama??? I'm up to 4 in my count already.

    June 10, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Where is Cheney??

    Helen is Right !!! Where is Cheney the OIL Man ??? Wait Liz has all the Answers.....I can't Believe the Oil Man with all the ANSWERS is Quiet as a Mouse....Help us out Dick!!!!!

    June 10, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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