Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt of Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at theWashingtonPost.com.
Columnist Helen Thomas, a trailblazer for women journalists and one of the few in the White House press corps who courageously questioned President Bush and other officials in his administration on war, torture and U.S. policy toward Israel, announced her retirement Monday. It comes in the wake of a controversy triggered by offensive comments she made about Jews and Israel last week.
It is a sad ending to a legendary career. Thomas was the dean of the White House press corps and served for 57 years as a UPI correspondent and White House Bureau Chief, covering every president since John F. Kennedy. During the run-up to the Iraq war, Thomas was the only accredited White House correspondent with the guts to ask Bush the tough questions that define a free press.
In March 2006, Thomas wrote a piece for The Nation, "Lap Dogs of the Press" — a scathing indictment of the country’s leading print and broadcast media. She argued that the media could have saved lives if it had questioned the Bush administration’s pronouncements. Instead, the media became, with a very few exceptions, an echo chamber for the White House.
Read the rest of Katrina’s column at the WashingtonPost.com.