Former White House correspondent fires back: School “made a mockery of the First Amendment”
Helen Thomas’ alma mater killed a journalism award that had been given in her name after the former White House correspondent made another series of anti-Semitic remarks last week — and the 90-year-old fired back at the school, saying it had “made a mockery of the First Amendment.”
“The leaders of Wayne State University have made a mockery of the First Amendment,” Thomas, who graduated from Wayne in the 1940s, said in a statement to the Free Press on Sunday, “and disgraced their understanding of its inherent freedom of speech and the press.”
That came after the college pulled the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award because of her latest remarks.
“As a public university, Wayne State encourages free speech and open dialogue, and respects diverse viewpoints,” the school said in a statement. “However, the university strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas during a conference yesterday.”
And those remarks?
“We are owned by the propagandists against the Arabs,” Thomas said in a speech at the Michigan conference last week. “There is no question about that. Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion.”
Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, quickly slammed Thomas, and urged schools like Wayne State to pull Thomas’ name off awards like theirs:
“Helen Thomas has clearly, unequivocally revealed herself as a vulgar anti-Semite. Her suggestion that Zionists control government, finance and Hollywood is nothing less than classic, garden-variety anti-Semitism. This is a sad final chapter to an otherwise illustrious career. Unlike her previous, spontaneous remarks into a camera, these words were carefully thought out and conscious. It shows a prejudice that is deep-seated and obsessive.”
Thoma’ remarks about Israel in a video interview in June led to her decision to retirement as a Hearst Newspapers columnist and dean of the White House press corps.