Daily Archives: June 8, 2010

It ends badly for the great Helen Thomas. And a brilliant minor league baseball idea

You hate to see it end like this. For someone as legendary in my field as Helen Thomas, you really don’t want to see a half-century of excellence be smacked with a terrible blot right at the very end.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the great Helen Thomas, a journalist who covered every President since 1960, resigned Monday after some hateful and disturbing remarks she recently made came to light.

The 89-year-old Thomas, now working for Hearst News Service, said in an interview that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany or Poland.

Of course I’m not going to defend Thomas’ remarks; they were stupid and offensive. But she’s an 89-year-old woman who has served her profession, and this country, so well over the past half-century.

She asked the tough questions of Presidents, questions so many of the Washington press corps were too scared to ask. She badgered both Bushes, Clinton and LBJ alike, with her words a sharp knife piercing the b.s. that so often comes from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It’s sad, and it ticks me off, to see all the piling on today, all the people who loved and respected her running away and running off at the keyboard, throwing her under the bus. All too predictable, too.

Look, do I think Helen Thomas is a bigot and an anti-Semite? I don’t. I think she’s an 89-year-old woman who was rambling on and said something really stupid.

I’m not going to remember her for this. I’d like to remember a fearless, trailblazing woman reporter who had more stones than most of the men who were her peers.

In a similar vein, Richard Greener, writing on Huffington Post, hits this point exactly on the head: You can be as bigoted, hateful, racist, misogynistic as you want on TV or radio, and still have a job. But say something against Israel, and your career is over.

How is that fair?

**I think some of the best public relations ideas in America come from minor league baseball front office people. They’re creative, wacky, and often dead-on.

So I was happy to see that the Brevard County Manatees, just a few miles from where I live here in Central Florida, found an ingenious way to comment on the current oil spill crisis.

As baseball fans know, pre-game hitting has always been called batting practice, or more often, BP.  But not anymore for the Manatees. From now on, to protest the giant oil company, they’re calling it “hitting rehearsal.

Brilliant. Get those two letters out of there!