Friday, June 22, 2007

Helen Thomas is a Beacon of Hope

Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas continues to offer a ray of hope to those who believe in the journalistic search for truth. Ms. Thomas remains the only member of the White House press corps willing to consistently ask the tough questions and to press on when press secretaries attempt to brush her queries aside. She had the following exchange with Press Secretary Tony Snow on Wednesday June 20:

Ms. Thomas: A study shows that Iraq is the second-most unstable country in the world. Do we have anything to do with that?

Mr. SNOW: Do we have anything to do with that? Yes, I saw the study --

Ms. Thomas: -- the killing?

Mr. SNOW: We don't -- I'm not sure I got the --

Ms. Thomas: I'm talking about Petraeus, also, intensifying -- is he trying to build a kill record before September?

Mr. SNOW: No. No. In point of fact, Helen, if you take a look at the record of the last two months, the people who have been trying to put together the kill record are al Qaeda. Go to the mosques --

Ms. Thomas: Is everybody who resists our occupation a terrorist?

Mr. SNOW: Do you think somebody who goes in and blows up 50 people in a mosque is resisting occupation?

Ms. Thomas: What have we done for five years?

Mr. SNOW: What we have been trying to do is to work with folks to deal with a highly volatile situation in Iraq in the wake of a murderous regime --

Ms. Thomas: We've killed thousands of people, tens of thousands --

Mr. SNOW: Many have died, and hundreds of thousands died under the previous regime. This is a place that has too long been wracked by violence. And the fact that in fighting --

Ms. Thomas: We're not supposed to be comparing, are we?

Mr. SNOW: Unfortunately, if we fought evil guys who simply would say, you caught us, we're evil, we give up, we'll be good -- that would be great, that would be wonderful.

Ms. Thomas: Everybody isn't evil who fights for his land.

Mr. SNOW: A lot of the people we're talking about, Helen, aren't fighting for their land, because it's not their land. They don't even come from Iraq.

Ms. Thomas: Are we fighting Iraqis, inherently, in their own country?

Mr. SNOW: Are we fighting Iraqis inherently? I think if you take a look at what General Petraeus is saying, is that increasingly Iraqis are joining with us to defend their country from the onslaught of outside fighters, whether they be from al Qaeda or Iran.

Ms. Thomas: Good, but we have to admit we're killing a lot of Iraqis who are against our presence.

Mr. SNOW: I'm not sure. I mean, that requires the kind of canvas of those who have died that I'm not capable of doing.

If more reporters would ask questions and stand their ground the way Ms. Thomas does the future of journalism in America would not be nearly as bleak as it is today.

Glenn Greenwald discussed this exchange as well.

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