To those who ever watched a Presidential press conference, you likely aren't surprised that the once illustrious journalistic career of Helen Thomas has ended because she didn't understand when to keep her mouth shut.
Thomas, 89, has covered every U.S. president since John Kennedy. And, her blunt questioning and tough manner caused Kennedy to once say, "she'd be a nice girl if she'd ever get rid of that pad and pencil." Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said this of Thomas, "Isn't there a war somewhere where we could send her?"
It was this toughness and no-back-down approach which earned Thomas great respect from her mostly male colleagues, early in her career, and helped pave the way for the deference she was accorded later in life. Thomas always occupied a front row seat at press conferences with the many presidents she covered and traditionally always asked the first question.
In recent years, however, Thomas' questions, and comments, became more hostile, and even offensive to some. Thus, this week's revelation that Thomas said that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go home to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else" wasn't surprising nor was the consequence--her resignation/retirement.
Thomas started her press career with United Press International. She was the first female officer of the National Press Club and the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association. She most recently worked for Hearst but as a columnist after starting with the company as a news reporter.
"Stubborn," "cranky," "acerbic"--all were adjectives which described Thomas at various moments of her career. Ultimately, that willingness to speak, with little or no filter, was her undoing.