Sunday, June 13, 2010

Media: Let's Kill Helen!


Last week, if you missed it, was when journalist Helen Thomas was served on a platter with many in the press crying out "I'll take a leg!" The press cannibalizes their own, especially if it happens to be someone who's ever actually stood for something. Radio women especially seemed determined to trash Helen and NPR worked really hard to achieve new lows.

"Joining me in the studio to talk about the week's top international stories on the Friday news roundup," Diane Rehm declared before listing her partners-in-crime, " Yochi Dreazen of The Wall St. Journal, Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera and Roy Gutman of McClatchy Newspapers." The first thing you may have noticed was that they were all men. It's really something to see Diane Rehm, a woman who has benefited from NPR's attempts (long ago) to create an equal playing field, fail to strive towards equality herself -- a fact that NPR ombudsperson Alicia Shepard willfully ignores while pretending to care about calling out sexism. Oh, yes, dear readers, our story of the savagery and the lies will also include Alicia Shepard.

But forgoing equality, Diane served up CessPool Soup. Actually for two solid hours. Which is how, in the first hour, you got David Corn sneering that Carly Fiorina was a "Tea Party candidate" when, in fact, she wasn't. In that race (California GOP's nomination for US senator), the Tea Party candidate was Chuck DeVore and, in fact, Sarah Palin was criticized by more than a few for endorsing Fiorina and not DeVore. CessPool Soup is how you got Dayo Olopade making the ridiculous claim that Alvin Greene got 100,000 votes Tuesday because he was running as a Democrat. Is Dayo unaware that Greene was running in a, pay attention, Democratic Party primary? That would mean his opponent was . . . a Democrat. To hear her gas bag, you wouldn't know that. You'd assume that, in a general election, Greene won 100,000 votes and agree with Dayo that was due to his being 'the Democrat in the race.' (Allegations of corruption or deceit in that race were loudly ridiculed and dismissed by the panel.) Over and over, their ignorance and refusal to learn basic facts before speaking or to admit honestly "I don't have enough information to speak to that issue" ensured that listeners were left short changed and uninformed.

The first panel featured no reporter, it should be noted. It instead sported ideological mouthpieces who write columns -- joining David and Dayo was Byron York (and, of the three, only York appeared to have both feet planted firmly on the ground). So listeners may have wrongly expected that the second hour, featuring reporters, would provide information. But that was Diane's all male panel and each one appeared eager to grab onto their limp dicks in order to use the one-inchers to whack at Helen Thomas as if she were a pinata much to the delight of Diane Rehm.

Because not everyone lives inside the DC bubble, let's explain what Helen Thomas did. A rabbi, with his sons, was at the White House last month, holding a video camera and asked Helen if she would speak on camera for him? She graciously agreed. She shared her thoughts on the importance of journalism -- comments forever lost in the gas baggery that followed -- and then, asked about Israel, declared, as summarized by Richard Cohen (Washington Post), "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. . . . Go home. Poland. Germany. And America and everywhere else." A fuller version would be, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland. . . . They should go home, to Poland, . . . Germany . . . and America . . . and elsewhere." Helen's comments will be dealt with elsewhere this edition. What we'll note of them right now is that ". . ." does not indicate Helen's struggling for words, it indicates the man is speaking. We note that because a number of people insist she should have thought her remarks through more clearly and they apparently didn't hear the man interrupting her, asking questions, leading her off topic. We're not accusing him of any hidden intent. We're noting it was a free flowing conversation and not a monologue Helen was delivering.

We'll further note, as Mike did Friday, that this wasn't an "international" story. Helen Thomas is an American citizen. The White House is in America. The rabbi was an American. The videotape surfacing was an American issue. Even her chief antagonist was an America: Ari Fleischer -- a name we had hoped not to hear of again until he was caught in a motel room with a dead 12-year-old male hooker.

So how did she become a topic?


Never forget that. Whores cheat. You saw that repeatedly last week. On Friday, Diane was the cheating whore who worked in the topic by hiding behind an e-mail. We asked our friend who works on the show: Was Iraq not a topic of the e-mails?

It seemed strange to us since the day started, hours before Diane's program began broadcasting live, with the news that there was an attack on US soldiers in Iraq which left 2 dead and six wounded. Setting aside all the other news coming out of Iraq last week, that bombing attack should have insisted that Iraq was discussed. Somehow there was no time for Iraq as a topic on Diane's show. However, Helen Thomas, who apologized and resigned on Monday, was. Which is actually news? Which is international news?

We were told a large number of e-mails mentioned Iraq and there were only two that mentioned Helen Thomas. Guess Diane felt being bitchy was more important than covering a war. Well, whores have their own . . . Don't call it standards. Pricing guides. Gotta' move the merchandise, eh? Whores have their own pricing guides.

So hiding behind an e-mail (a minority e-mail), Diane launched yet another attack on Helen.

Yochi wanted to talk about the Israeli press and stated he would leave it to someone else to address the Arab press because he doesn't follow it. The obvious question for Yochi is why are you, a Wall St. Journal reporter covering the State Dept, following the Israeli press?

Because you care about international issues? Then shouldn't you also follow the Arab press? And, if you don't -- and he admitted he didn't -- does that go into the attacks you launch on Helen?

He insisted it wasn't a surprise, Helen's remarks, to the Israeli press, "In part because, with Helen Thomas, this was not the first that was anti-Israel, verging on anti-Semitic Her political biases have never really been in question and as time has passed and she's gotten older and as her role ["segued" is the word Yochi mispronounced] totally into that of a columnist rather than a reporter, her questions were always -- in the White House briefing room -- were always harshly anti-Israel."


Yochi, are you a damn liar or are you trying to tell us that the Iraq War was all about Israel? We seem to remember Helen asking Ari Fleischer February 26, 2003 why Bully Boy Bush was "going to bomb them?" And "them" was Iraqis. She continued, "I mean, how do you bomb people back to democracy? This is a question of conquest. They didn't ask to be 'liberated' by the United States."

If you need more than text -- and Yochi probably does -- click here for a series of video clips The New York Times posted last week of Helen asking questions and you'd have to be Yochi to watch them and claim that all Helen ever did was ask "harshly anti-Israel" questions at the White House press briefing.

Shame on that little liar Yochi. Shame on Diane Rehm, Roy Gutman and Abderrahim Foukara for refusing to correct Youchi's obvious lie.

Youchi wasn't done distorting reality, "Now the question of whether that ever verged over into anti-semitism is a different one and a difficult one to answer. But it was not a surprise. In the Israeli press it was not covered as 'Shock News Flash Helen Thomas may pose anti-Israel views.' But it was surprising all the same because of the Holocaust reference and the idea that people should go back to Poland or Germany which is a mainstay of some of the rhetoric you hear from [begins required Yochi slam on Iran]."

Really? And again, shame on Diane, Roy and Abderrahim. Yochi, as usual, lied. He lies to get his "Holocaust reference" in. Can't very well admit she noted America and elsewhere and still pimp that lie.

Some people are saying Helen needed to retire because she was 'old.' Diane turns 74 this year. After Friday's embarrassment maybe it's time for Diane to step down with grace?

If nothing else, maybe there would be a better chance of women being booked as guests if she left the airwaves? Not that we can ever expect Alicia Shepard to call her out. No, the NPR ombudsperson refuses to do her job.

Sometimes she manages to do even worse than that. Tuesday, she showed up on KPFA's The Morning Show to chat with 'Bomb the children of Pakistan' Aimee Allison. And each attempted to out whore the other.

For example, the segment kicked off with Helen's comments being played followed by a sigh from Aimee and then a long, drawn out "Well" filled with sadness. Typical crap from Aimee that should have everyone in the Bay Area screaming for KPFA to drop her already.

Alicia was lapping it up with all the zeal of Melissa Etheridge on a drunken Friday night. She rushed to insist, "Three years ago, I was on a book panel with her [Helen] and at that point she was quite critical of the Bush administration about the [Iraq] War in a way that an advocate would be and not a journa -- a straight up journalist would be."


Three years ago was 2007 and the country had long turned against the Iraq War. Only a cheap whore like Alicia Shepard, giving half-offs on cum facials, would bother to be offended by a journalist -- an opinion columnist in Helen's case -- expressing a sentiment in keeping with the majority of Americans.

Alicia continued her crazy, "And, yes, many people championed the fact that she was asking those questions but they were really not appropriate. And it's been known for maybe the last five or so years that there have been rules for White House reporters and then Helen Thomas rules. She has, in a way, gotten away with a lot that I can't imagine any other reporter would today."

The questions weren't appropriate?

So it's 'appropriate,' Alicia, for a president to bomb another country on false pretexts, it's just not appropriate to question him on it? Doesn't make for 'polite conversation,' is that it? Where the hell, airhead, do you get off thinking journalistic history demands that reporters be either 'appropriate' or 'respectable'? Alicia gave up her profession in order to practice another one, a much older one. And as we already noted, Whores Cheat.

"Well Helen has always enjoyed," Alicia began, "as I said, special treatment. She's always sat up in the front row. The president has always called on her no matter who it is."

Is she is an outright liar or just that stupid? Jack Shafer (Slate), no huge fan of Helen, noted March 12, 2003 how Bully Boy Bush "deliberately snubbed" Helen by refusing to call on her. "The president has always called on her," insisted Alicia, "no matter who it is." Want to try that again, Alicia? If it helps, you can stay on the clock while you do it.

She certainly stayed on the clock while lying repeatedly such as when she declared, "Her feelings about -- anti-Semitic feelings -- have been known. And many in the press corps -- or I would say -- those who watched the White House press corps have felt critical of her for I'm sorry, felt critical of their brethren for not challenging her more for letting Helen quote-unquote 'get away' with these anti-Semitic comments."

Aimee Allison's role was to challenge that. But Whores Cheat. So when Aimee finally got around to questioning whether or not Helen's comments were anti-Semitic, she pushed it off on callers who were calling in (though not heard on air) and disagreeing that the comments were anti-Semitic.

"There's no way of looking at it except if she was an advocate for [laughing] the Palestinians," Alicia snarked revealing her own hatred is targeting the Palestinians because there's nothing funnier to her than someone advocating on their behalf. "In the sense that there's just nothing that she said that could be looked at as respectable."

Is truth 'respectable,' Alicia? Because your remarks had little-to-no truth in them. After savaging Helen, mocking her and laughing at her, Alicia tossed it back to Aimee, "I mean, what was your take, Aimee? I was just shocked."

"Yeah. I guess," Aimee appalling agreed, refusing to stand up for Helen. "Just, at 89, why would she make the comments now? Has she been known to make those kind of comments in the past?"

There's a reason we're going slowly through this train wreck. And here comes your first pay off, Alicia responds, "I have not known that in terms of anti-semitism."


Alicia says she's not known of past remarks "in terms of anti-semitism."

The same woman who, mere minutes prior, was saying, "Her feelings about -- anti-Semitic feelings -- have been known. And many in the press corps -- or I would say -- those who watched the White House press corps have felt critical of her for I'm sorry, felt critical of their brethren for not challenging her more for letting Helen quote-unquote 'get away' with these anti-Semitic comments."

Which is it, Alicia, were these alleged feelings known or not? You're a referee at NPR and you can't even offer a consistent answer?

She wasn't sure about anti-Semitic statements (at this point in the interview) but, "I've certainly watched and seen her say things that were anti-war and anti the administration and then challenge them again in a way that you wouldn't see a reporter for CBS doing."

Oh my goodness, Helen's anti-war! Strip her of her American citizenship! Truly, that must be a huge offense to Alicia since she likens it to anti-semitism. Can you get more stupid than Alicia Shepard?

Others may not be able to, but she surely can. And did. No reporter for CBS would get away with that, Alicia wanted to insist. And she follows that up by telling Aimee that age can't be to blame because "Dan Schorr" is 91 and he works for NPR.

He does, she's right.

But he doesn't work for CBS, does he?

Nor can he.

Yeah, we'll go there.

Daniel Schorr was fired from CBS. He and his supporters (who funded a year long travel circuit for Danny after his firing) insisted he was fired for doing his job. That is and was a lie. Daniel Schorr was not fired for being a defender of freedom.

Most people are aware of the Church Committee which investigated governmental abuses. The Pike Committee came immediately after, doing the same sort of work, and they wrote a report. They then decided not to issue it. Schorr, in his capacity as a CBS reporter, had a copy of the report. CBS was weighing whether or not to report on the now killed report. Schorr has often (not always) maintained that a decision was made to kill the report and that's why he acted. That's not true. Either he's lying or he was out of the loop. CBS was still deciding. Schorr took the report to The Village Voice which published it.

That could have been the end of it for CBS News because they retained their copy (Schorr had photocopied it and given the photocopies to the weekly). There was an internal investigation at CBS to determine whether or not someone at CBS leaked the report to The Village Voice. Had Schorr kept his mouth shut, the investigation would have been as half-assed as every other internal investigation CBS News conducts. But Schorr couldn't keep his mouth shut.

This is why he was fired, this is why he will never work for CBS again. When asked, as all who had access to the report were, if he had given it to anyone, Schorr didn't stick to "no comment" or a lie that he didn't do anything.

No, instead Schorr chose to finger Lesley Stahl. Schorr told the investigators that The Village Voice published the report (which they knew) and Lesley was dating Aaron Latham (who worked for The Voice) so it was most likely that Lesley Stahl handed over the report to the weekly.

Schorr was not fired for leaking the report. He was fired for lying and for trying to blame someone he knew was innocent.

Think for just a moment what could have happened if Schorr had gotten away with that: Lesley Stahl's career would have been over -- at least at CBS though probably no other network would touch her if they feared she'd take their stories elsewhere. Aaron Latham (a notable journalist in his own right) would have been outraged that Lesley lost her job because she was dating him. Knowing Aaron, he would have made it his life's purpose to find out who falsely accused Lesley and prove that liar wrong. If he'd been successful, it might have been a messy media moment and then life would have continued. If not? Most likely, Lesley would try to move on from it and Aaron would want to remain in the role of protector/enforcer. Meaning it wouldn't have just effected her professional life, which was bad enough, if would have changed her entire life. Lesley and Aaron married years ago and have had one of the few enduring marriages in the journalistic community. Lesley could have lost everything as a result of Daniel Schorr's lies. He was prepared to destroy someone professionally and personally.

And this is whom Alicia holds up as a model?

One more thing, Alicia, "Dan Schorr's almost, I think, 92 at NPR and still on the air" -- No, idiot, he's 93. He'll be 94 in August and his longevity is proof that NPR loves snitches and rats.

And liars. Alicia (who 'hopes' Helen doesn't die soon) declared, "She's basically saying that the Jews should go back to Germany where they clearly were never welcome so that does not seem in any way anything but anti-Semitic." It's cute how she pretends like all Helen said was "Germany." It's cute too how Aimee Allison doesn't correct on that. When you get two Whores on microphones, they're too busy calculating their wages to offer up anything factual or worth hearing.

On things worth hearing, Iraq did surface briefly and accidentally on Diane Rehms's show Friday. Yochi's usual and expected attacks on Iran resulted in Ashraf calling in to correct Yohci's incessant lies. In the process, Ashraf declared, "I think that, for all the reporters, they should be more responsible because what happened in Iraq was because of the reporters. Misinformation and stirring just to get the rage up. "

You just knew Yochi wasn't having any of it. He stopped digging around his asshole with his own tongue long enough to exclaim, "I think all of us who work for a somewhat beleaguered industry would wish that the media was as powerful as to have caused a war. [Roy Gutman is heard guffawing if you listen closely. Shame on him.] There were deep flaws in the reporting pre-war in Iraq. To say that the media caused the war is, I think, a stretch."

First off, Yochi, the economy sucks for nearly everyone, it's a recession, you idiot. Second, the media lied, the media is responsible for helping Bush sell the illegal war. That Roy Gutman's fat ass could be heard chortling on air was disgusting since Roy worked for Knight-Ridder which was the only outlet that refused to play megaphone and actually and consistently do reporting. Shame on you, Roy Gutman. You damn well know better.

But in Yochi's rush to lie (speaking even faster than usual), you see why Helen was served up. It wasn't about what she said. If it was about what she said, Alicia and Yochi and all the rest wouldn't have to lie and could actually quote her. Helen was killed by the press. By little whores like Ann Compton (the years weren't kind so she had to move to radio and now she's allegedly holding onto her laughable marriage with her fingernails -- listen closely for the RRRRIPPPP!), Yochi and Alicia and so, so many more. And it was because she did what they didn't. She questioned, she called out. She did what they wouldn't. Alicia castigates Helen for being anti-war -- failing to grasp just what that says about Alicia Shepard.

And what it says about Helen and what it says about the others in the press corps. As if to remind and underscore the real reason her peers attacked her all last week, Vice magazine published Steve LaFreniere's interview with Helen:

Vice: When I watched you at press conferences during the George W. Bush years, you seemed pretty disgusted with your fellow journalists.

Helen Thomas:
In the run-up to the Iraq War, no one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost. And he would not go back to the UN and allow them three more months to look and see if it was really true. We went to war on lies. I think 9-11 was definitely used to terrorize the people away from taking any stand against the government, because they felt it was a real crisis and I guess they--halfway at least--believed the government. Using terrorists is a very effective propaganda weapon.

[Vice:] Is it just me or did the mainstream press seem particularly flabby after 9-11?

[Helen Thomas:] They were afraid of not being considered real patriots, and I’m sure the big communications corporations got orders from on high. So they played ball.

[Vice:] In your decades at the White House have you witnessed this kind of complacency before?

[Helen Thomas:] Well, the Watergate scandal was the turning point in the White House in modern times. We took all the [Nixon administration's] denials, and when they turned out to be absolutely wrong, when it turned out to be disinformation, it made reporters much more wary in that brief interval that followed. But of course 9-11 made everyone into a prime citizen again, and afraid to ask. The Pentagon was also very effective in propagandizing, as was the State Department, as was the White House. So, again, I think that journalists became afraid to be called unpatriotic if they didn’t support a war, even one that was obviously not true.

That's why it was time to kill Helen. She stood as an exception, she stood as proof that you could challenge, you could question, you didn't just have to nod along and waste everyone's time asking about White House pets and other nonsense. Helen Thomas was a reporter before she was a columnist. It says a great deal about the state of the press today that it was necessary for her peers to professionally kill her off.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }