Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Helen Thomas Proves Age No Excuse For Bigotry

Not carried by anyone but the "website of Maine" and then a few bloggers:
Last week, somebody defaced some of Republican state Senate candidate Roger Katz’s campaign signs in Augusta with anti-Semitic slurs. The wording of the messages indicated the graffiti was probably not the work of kids, since it mirrored phrases favored by neo-Nazi hate groups (including the acronym “ZOG,” which stands for “Zionist Occupation Government”).

You’d think that such an incident might be news, particularly since Katz is the city’s mayor, and the vandalism was reported to police. But the Kennebec Journal didn’t seem to think the story merited coverage. Nor would it allow publication of at least two letters to the editor on the subject — one of them from a city councilor.

That embargo remained in place for nearly a week, ending on October 8, after the story showed up on WGME-TV out of Portland. Even then, the KJ gave it only a brief mention in the second section.

According to a person familiar with the editorial thinking at the KJ, the story was suppressed because the paper feared reporting on it would encourage more anti-Semitic incidents.

I assume that means no more coverage of murder, robbery, rape, and corruption, as well.

Blogger Eric Dondero of Libertarian Republican quotes another blogger:
Eric Dondero of Libertarian Republican points us to the reason:

“Katz is a popular four-term fiscal conservative mayor. He’s also a respected lawyer, prominent community patron, and ironically, a benefactor of the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center (pdf).”

Roger Katz is a Republican and a conservative; therefore, the mainstream press could care less.

Yes, anti-Semite action is alive and well in the United States. Maybe the story would have caught the attention of bigger news outlets had the candidate been a Democrat. Or black.

This is why a veteran journalist and commentator like Helen Thomas had to lose her job and especially her front row chair in the White House briefing room. It is one thing for the press to ignore a story like this. It is quite another for a journalist to blurt out anti-Semite sentiments with abandon. In the case of Thomas, she was excused by most of her fellow journalists due to her long working history with them and for her ability to compete in a man's world. She is now 90 years old. What must not be tolerated is the ignorance Thomas feigns as she tries to explain away her hate speech.

She maintains she did nothing wrong. She doesn't understand that expecting Jews to move back to Eastern Europe - to get out of Israel- is an absurd solution to the troubles in the region. She is of the group with refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel. She recently told an interviewer at an Ohio radio station that "I hit the third rail. You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive." That from an account of the interview in the Huffington Post on October 13, 2010.

Actually, Helen Thomas, you are free to criticize Israel till the cows come home, if you so choose. You cannot, however, declare the solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is for the Jews to go back to Eastern Europe. Certainly not in your role as a professional member of the press covering the White House for a legitimate media outlet, in a sacred front row seat. You were exposed as a hate filled and bigoted person.

After she was fired in June, for stating that Jews should "get out of Palestine", she kept a low profile. She told the radio personality that President Obama's remarks about the incident are "unfair". Obama said her remarks were "offensive and out of line". This hurt uber-liberal Thomas' feelings. In audio clip of the radio interview Thomas is described as crying after learning of Obama's remarks. "I think he was very unfair, and I return the compliment on his remarks". "Reprehensible."

Sometimes even old age doesn't excuse irrational behavior.

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