Last week, video emerged of Hearst newspaper columnist Helen Thomas stating during an interview that Jews in Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to “Poland, Germany... America and everywhere else.” She subsequently apologized.
Thomas' comments were anti-Semitic, abhorrent, and have no place in public dialogue.
Thomas has been a pioneer for women in media. She reported for UPI for almost six decades and has been a fixture in the White House press room since 1961. She was the first female officer and the first female member of the White House Correspondents Association. She is still a regular in the press room and a columnist at age 89.
That said, her comments were unacceptable. The White House Correspondents Association is currently considering taking action against Thomas. They should not hesitate to punish her for her statements.
For years, the WHCA has honored Thomas' decades of service with the White House Press Corps by giving her the privilege of a seat in the front row of the press room. Thomas is the only columnist to be so honored; all other front row seats are filled by working reporters. Joe Klein's suggestion for punishing Thomas sounds about right:
The front row should be occupied by working reporters, not columnists. The WHCA should sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats. This would accurately reflect her current status as a journalist while preserving her First Amendment right to be as obnoxious as she wants.