Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kurtz Attacks Helen Thomas.

I find the comments by these supposed journalists infuriating.

We all agree that Helen Thomas should not have said what she said recently. But this is being used here to undermine every point which Helen Thomas ever made regarding the Israel Palestine dispute.

In the clips which they play - where she talks of the cruelty of the occupation or the fact that the US stood aside whilst Israel bombarded Lebanon in an act of collective punishment - Helen Thomas was 100% correct.

They are now seeking to write off everything she ever said as "the Hizbollah position". That is an outrage.

KURTZ: Let me throw this back to you, Jeffrey Goldberg. You know, some critics out there say -- I'm sure you've heard this -- that this shows the U.S. press is pro-Israel and you get in trouble when you criticize Israel. And if Helen Thomas had said the opposite thing about the Palestinians, she'd still have her job.

GOLDBERG: A, I don't think that last point is necessarily true. If you gave this long diatribe about the Palestinians don't exist, which is sort of the equivalent argument, I don't think you're going to last that long in the mainstream press.

The equivalent argument is not to state that the Palestinians "do not exist", the equivalent argument is to call for them to be forced to leave Palestine.

As I have pointed out before Mike Huckabee has called on many occasions for the Palestinians to be forced to create their own state outside of Israel, and Huckabee includes the Occupied Territories in the land he considers Israel. He has faced no censure for doing so. No Republicans have even demanded that he retracts what he said.

But Kurtz took his attack on genuine journalism even further than merely making it taboo to criticise Israel.

Howard Kurtz actually had the gall to ask if it's "the role of the journalists, even opinion journalists, to denounce the war in Iraq, to accuse the administration of killing civilians?" Howard, if it's not the role of journalists to ask those sorts of questions, then who else do you think is going to do it?

The woman had more journalistic integrity than any of this bunch and if we had a few more Helen Thomases over the years and a few less beltway Villagers posing as journalists that were less worried about looking "whacky" and being disrespectful to the powers that be and more worried about doing their jobs, perhaps we would not be entangled in two endless occupations in the Middle East right now.

Although Kurtz and his panel did admit that we could use more journalists holding the establishment's feet to the fire like Helen did, they did their best to paint her as either extremist and out of the mainstream or slightly senile as they did it.
Helen Thomas said a terrible thing. It does not follow, as they are trying to imply here, that everything she previously said was wrong or the voice of the angry senile old Auntie who we can all safely ignore.


Steel Phoenix said...

This is exactly why we have to weigh people's value as a whole rather than define them by a single errant opinion.

Her comment was worthy of reasoned criticism, not of career ending outrage. Has political correctness given us such thin skins? Do we hold our own populace in such low regard that we don't trust them to hear the angry outburst of an old woman?

What was the justification for a public school system? Wasn't it an effort to avoid the kind of bigotry and ignorance that can fester in small, closed environments? Nothing she said would be unusual in a private conversation with opinionated individuals. Let the bigots speak, refute them publicly.

Kel said...

I agree, SP. What she said was wrong, but people did force her to apologise and take back what she had said. I don't see why, after she had retracted her words, that her resignation was still deemed necessary.

And Huckabee makes the same point as she did, only he does it regarding the Palestinians, and he is never asked to stand down.