By: E&P Staff
At the age of 83, journalistic legend Helen Thomas obviously doesn’t believe in mincing words. “This government lies,” she told a group of editors, reporters and interns from The Indianapolis Star on Wednesday. She also called Bush administration claims on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction “baloney.”
At a downtown luncheon, the Hearst columnist added, “I think we have a government that absolutely is ignoring the truth and a press that is ignoring the truth,” according to the Star’s Sara Scavongelli. The press, she said, is doing a poorer job of covering the White House than ever.
“I really think that reporters for two, three months after 9/11 — everyone was afraid to ask their question,” Thomas said. “They would not ask any question that would appear to be unpatriotic.”
Reached by the Star, Rich Noyes, research director of the Virginia-based Media Research Center, called Thomas’ remarks “a totally fictional account of what happened since 9/11. By early 2002, it was really back to normal, with reporters asking many, many tough questions both about domestic policy and foreign policy….
“When Helen Thomas says the press was too soft, what she really means is the press should have been more of an actor in the process instead of covering the process,” Noyes said. “That’s just not the right role for a journalist.”
His center describes itself as conservative in outlook. Thomas told the Indianapolis journalists she was “born a liberal and I’ll die a liberal.”