Helen Thomas, longtime White House correspondent and current columnist for Hearst Newspapers, apologized Friday for saying Israeli Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Germany, Poland, America, and "everywhere else." Her May 27 comments, to Rabbi David Nesenoff in RabbiLive.com (see video below), sparked plenty of outrage, especially among conservatives who've long pushed for Thomas be forced out of her special White House press seat. Has Thomas, almost 90, now officially overstayed her White House welcome?
Thomas needs to be reprimanded: "It's not unprecedented for journalists with odious views" to be part of the White House press corps, says Joe Klein in Time. But Thomas sits in a special front-row seat reserved for her by her colleagues. Time for that honor to end. They should "sanction Thomas by sending her back to the cheap seats" in the back, where she can be as "obnoxious" as the First Amendment allows.
"Helen Thomas: Go to the back of the room"
Fire her, now: No, Thomas "should lose her job" over her "appalling" comments, says former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, to The Huffington Post. And I say that as "someone who worked with her and used to like her." How can Hearst overlook her "advocating religious cleansing"? And would they, or any media company, stand by her if she'd "said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics"? No.
"Ari Fleischer: Fire Helen Thomas"
Leave Helen be: Look, "I'm no fan of Helen Thomas," says James Joyner in Outside the Beltway, but "I'm befuddled" that so many "rather unsporting" people are enthusiastically "piling on a crazy old woman for saying outrageous things." Is she "woefully misinformed about the origin of much of the Israeli population"? Yes. But "beyond the pale"? No. She's just who she is. "The sky is blue. Water is wet. Helen Thomas is a nut."
"Helen Thomas: Easy target"
[UPDATE: Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, "effective immediately"]