Professional Journalists retire Helen Thomas award

Journalists retire award named for Helen Thomas

January 16, 2011

(JTA) — The Society of Professional Journalists retired a lifetime achievement award named for Helen Thomas.

The society’s board on Jan. 14 accepted the recommendation issued by its executive committee on Jan. 8 based on anti-Zionist remarks made by the longtime journalist.

“While we support Helen Thomas’ right to speak her opinion, we condemn her statements in December as offensive and inappropriate,” the executive committee said at the time.

On Dec. 2, in a speech to an Arab-American group in Dearborn, Mich., Thomas, 90, said that Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street “are owned by the Zionists.”  

The remarks raised fresh concerns about the sincerity of an apology for her remarks last summer to a video blogger that Jews “should get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany and the United States.

The award itself would be retired, officials of the Society of Professional Journalists said.

“The controversy surrounding this award has overshadowed the reason it exists,” the Indianapolis-based national group said in a statement. “To continue offering the award would reignite the controversy each year and take away from its purpose: honoring a lifetime of work in journalism. No individual worthy of such honor should have to face this controversy. No honoree should have to decide if the possible backlash is worth being recognized for his or her contribution to journalism.”

The Society for Professional Journalists, established in 1909, granted Thomas its first lifetime achievement honor in 2000, and pledged to name subsequent awards for her. It has been awarded nine times since its debut. The award has no cash value.

Officials emphasized that Thomas’ 2000 award was not rescinded.

Thomas, born to Lebanese immigrants, for decades was the White House correspondent for the United Press International wire service. She subsequently was a columnist for Hearst Corp., but resigned that post after her comments last summer. She recently began writing a column for a free Virginia weekly newspaper, the Falls Church News-Press.

Wayne State University, Thomas’ alma mater, immediately withdrew its Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media Award following her resignation from Hearst.

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    • RUKind on January 19, 2011 at 09:23

    I’ll put on in since a can’t as the author of this comment.

    What the hell is JTA?

    And I’ll probably take a boatload for this – is Helen Thomas right? All 2008 candidates had to interview with ad be vetted by AIPAC? What’s that all about? ADL around the country does a great job working anti-discrimination issues. On the other hand, their CEO Abe Foxman is basically a Likud thug. He fired the NE ADL head for agreeing with a large Armenian communmity in Watertown, MA that there was a Turkish genocide against the Armenians.

    Big no-no, that one. Israel has extremely close gun-running and corruption ties to Turkey and the Turks are their only Muslim friends. This is probably because both countries are rotten with corruption at the top.

    Turkey does not want to get called out on genocide and Israel wants to reserve its special victim high ground.. NEWSFLASH TO BOTH SIDES: Genocide, the word, the term, was coined to describe what the Turks did to the Armenians. Later when Hitler committed genocide on the Jews, the term and its definitions were already in place.

    And as for Helen:

    Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street “are owned by the Zionists.

    Congress and the White House are only rented by the term. With Hollywood and Wall Street you could probably make a case – albeit a very shaky case.

    One question I have is wwhy do we tell them not to build settlements and then turn around and give them the money to do just that? And don’t give me any bullshit about money being earmarked. Money is the most fungible product on the planet.

    Maybe we need a Politely Listened to the Most Bullshit Ever Award and make it a statue of Helen.

  1. has an adopted black child?

    What good is multi-culturalism at gunpoint when dystopian corporate assholes are sitting on everybody’s face.

  2. That gets you in hot water with the corporate media.

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