I've been a longtime fan of veteran journalist Helen Thomas, especially since she was the first woman to be allowed into the White House press corps. She helped forge the way for later women journalists like myself, she's written some wonderful books about presidential history, and I was lucky enough to meet her a couple of years ago at the American News Women's Club.
Now, she has resigned from her job as a reporter for Hearst News Service as a result of these comments:
I don't condone in any way what she said about calling for the Jewish people to get out of Palestine or the way that she said it. It was a horrible and thoughtless comment and there should be consequences when someone who is supposed to be an objective journalist not only inserts themselves into a news story, but also does it in an offensive and inexcusable way.
But I have to ask -- why does Helen have to "resign" but others who have done similar things get to keep their jobs?
Like, say, Rush Limbaugh?
Or Sean Hannity?
If forced resignation is good enough for someone who's actually contributed to real journalism, then it ought to be good enough for those who work for "news" organizations with an agenda when they cross that kind of not-so-fine line of offensiveness.
But I suppose in this day and age of opinion news, as long as the offenders are making money for their bosses, it will get excused. If Helen Thomas had been working for FOX News, she'd probably still have a job.
Joanne Bamberger is an author, political analyst and new media strategist in Washington, D.C. Her book about how mothers and social media are revolutionizing the world of politics will be published later this year by Bright Sky Press. Joanne is the founder of the site PunditMom, a blog about the intersection of motherhood and politics.