Quantcast

Helen Thomas's Legacy | The Nation

  •  
Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Helen Thomas's Legacy


President Gerald Ford talks with reporters, including Helen Thomas, during a press conference at the White House.(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

In his refreshing appearance at the 2006 White House Correspondents Association dinner, comedian Stephen Colbert showed a parody video in which he “auditioned” for the position of press secretary. In it, he refuses to answer a question from real-life White House correspondent Helen Thomas and spends the rest of the video trying to escape her dogged questioning.

It was a brilliant turn, not only for its skewering of a Washington press corps that was asleep while President George W. Bush took us to war in Iraq but for its implicit praise of the tenacious, shoe-leather reporting of Thomas, who died Saturday at the age of 92.

Born two weeks before women officially had the right to vote, Thomas broke glass ceiling after glass ceiling as a woman journalist, including by becoming the first female member of the White House Correspondents Association and the Gridiron Club. She fought, with characteristic perseverance, to join these organizations. It wasn’t because she saw being in the room as an end itself. Rather, she understood that she needed to have access to power in order to question that power.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.