A variety of news and other communications organizations joined in the widespread criticism of Thomas. The Society of Professional Journalists, for example, ended its annual lifetime achievement award rather than continue calling it the "Helen Thomas" award.
"Yes, I cried for a couple of weeks," she recalled. "Then I decided I would write. I have the right to say what I think."
Looking back this week, Thomas reiterated her controversial theme: That Palestinians should not be deprived of their land, water and freedom.
Regarding changes she has observed in Washington, she said many of the nation's brightest minds came to Washington long ago out of what she called a desire to help the country during the Depression and World War II.
"They weren't coming to Washington just to get a job," she said. "They had big hearts." The country, she said, "was flat on its back....Old people were dying of hunger."
"Everything is going down the drain" she said of today. "Congress is so weak now. They do nothing....Democrats are scared to death. They don't want to open their mouths. They want to keep their jobs."
Helen Thomas and Barack Obama by Wikipedia Creative Commons
A photo above shows Thomas on her birthday in 2009 in the front row seat she occupied with pride for many years. That included three years when the Bush administration ignored her questions. The day President Bush lifted his ban by letting her ask him something at a press conference she responded with a tough question on why he started the war in Iraq without proof of weapons of mass destruction.
This week, on the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, she again spoke bluntly by estimating that the Obama administration will keep 100,000 contractors in Iraq after the much-touted withdrawal of most combat troops. "They [private contractors] make a lot more than 'GI Joe,'" she said. "Where does the money come from?"
The greatest challenge to Thomas during the Q&A was from a middle-aged woman who arrived late and demanded to know why Thomas wasn't more frightened of Iran. Thomas reiterated her belief that U.S. militarism in the region is provoking more dangers for the public here than it's preventing.
The questioner, sitting next to me, then asked me who published me. I responded and asked about her own interest. She identified as an employee of one of the nation's largest defense contractors [or war contractors, as they were known before Orwellian concepts of NewSpeak] and left a few moments later.
Thomas said she regards as especially ominous a recent plan for the United States to place 2,000 troops in Australia, which she described as part of a dangerous plan to confront China. "I think we ought to get the hell out of all these places...Why do we keep sending other people to die?"
Regarding the future, she did find a ray of hope: "I want people to rise up, and they are....We should all hit the streets and call for revolution."
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