Helen Thomas Speaks to College Dems, Blasts Bush
I know, it's a dog-bites-man story, but I thought I'd pass along that longtime White House correspondent and left-wing columnist Helen Thomas addressed the College Democrats at the University of Maryland on Wednesday evening.
I live close to the campus, but unfortunately found out about the event after the fact and hence was unable to drop in and take in my own observations. Fortunately Maryland's student paper The Diamondback covered the event. Unfortunately the reporter covering the assignment failed to press Thomas on her commanding respect as a journalist while forsaking any attempt to objectively report news from her perch at the White House. In fact reporter Chidima Okaparanta labeled Thomas's abrasive technique as a "straight-shooting reporting style, especially regarding the war in Iraq."
Below are some excerpts with portions in bold reflecting my emphasis:
Veteran reporter Helen Thomas, often called "the First Lady of the press," criticized the Iraq War in a speech to students yesterday at Stamp Student Union, and said that the press had not challenged the administration's decisions enough.
"We have no right to be in Iraq," Thomas said. "You do not spread liberty with the barrel of a gun."
Thomas was asked to speak at the university by the College Democrats, who requested her to come because she is known for scrutinizing the Bush administration and seeking the truth, said College Democrats President Jonathan Sachs.
"She asks the tough questions," Sachs said, "and it's important for college students to understand the importance of doing the same."
Shortly afterwards, she was quoted in The Hill, a newsletter covering Congress, as saying, "The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself. All we need is one more liar."
Thomas now frequently speaks at universities, mainly to encourage students to be more critical of those in power, she said in an interview with The Diamondback.
Of her student audience, she said, "This is their world. They are leaders of the 21st century."
But young people are too apathetic, Thomas added.
"The whole country is apathetic," she said, adding that citizens' lack of involvement comes from more than just a failure to stay informed. "They are afraid of being called unpatriotic and un-American," she said.
Even while working as a wire service reporter, she never lost sight of her own beliefs, she said. "I allowed myself to care," she said. "I never bought out of the human race."