White House Correspondent Helen Thomas began her career with JFK and ended it under Obama.
The Era of Trump calls to mind what Helen Thomas advised:
“We should back up the president when he does the right thing and drop him when he doesn’t.”
By Eileen Fleming
President Obama held his first news conference in February 2009 and White House correspondent Helen Thomas asked her first -and last- question to Mr. Obama.
To test his credibility and integrity, Ms. Thomas asked POTUS Obama about the possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
Mr. Obama dodged the truth.
However, this reporter followed up with Helen Thomas in 2011 on topic. As POTUS Donald J. Trump’s West Wing dramas reminds me of my one and only evening with Helen Thomas it follows because of her advice to ALL Americans.
I can still see her eyes brimming with unshed tears as she said:
“Why do we call them leaders? Leaders are supposed to do the right thing. We should back up the president when he does the right thing and drop him when he doesn’t.”
The following is excerpted from: “VANUNU’S WAIT for LIBERTY, Remembering the USS LIBERTY and My Life as a Candidate of Conscience for US HOUSE 2012”
Which is dedicated to the crew, family and friends of the USS LIBERTY, and to the career of Helen Thomas
…During my evening with Ms. Thomas I also filled her in on my distress over Amy Goodman’s failure to follow up on her 2004 interview with Mordechai Vanunu.
In April 2007, I had lunch with Amy Goodman and filled Amy in on the fact that her one and only interview with Vanunu was major testimony against him in his FREEDOM of SPEECH trial.
I asked her to please follow up before his sentence came down and she acted interested and jotted down notes in her Blackberry.
But Amy didn’t bother to call Vanunu until July 2007 after he was sentenced to 6 more months in jail essentially for speaking to her in 2004!
When I saw Vanunu a few weeks later he told me he refused to speak to Amy again because she –like all THE MEDIA-hadn’t done anything to help him raise awareness about Israel’s continuing persecution of him.
In reply to my outpouring, Ms. Thomas replied, “She used to be better.”
I then brought up Ms. Thomas’s first and final question to President Obama regarding Middle East nuclear weapons, which he blew her off claiming he didn’t want to “speculate.”
The Media remained mute, and some even rolled their eyes and smirked when Thomas countered, but Obama moved on and The Media missed another opportunity to address the reams of documentation our State Department has on file regarding Israel’s WMD.
Ms. Thomas noted, “They have no conscience.”
I claim their lack of integrity borders on treason!
I told Ms. Thomas I was not a reporter when I met Israel’s nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu for the first time in June 2005, but I knew I would become one because he told me:
Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’
Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.
The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out. Everything inside was written in French, when I was there, almost twenty years ago. Back then, the Dimona descended seven floors underground.
In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on.
When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.
Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year…
I asked Ms. Thomas what she would advise anyone who wanted to go into the field of journalism and she stated:
“Go for it! It’s the greatest profession in the world because you are always learning and you are aware of the world, so you just might be able to affect change.
“You cannot have a democracy without an informed people.
“Information is everything; it enlarges your intellect and that guides you.
“The job is to follow the truth and report where it leads you!
“Right and wrong is not relative. Empathy is fine but kindness and sympathy do not change the facts and conscience is everything!
“Leaders are suppose to do the right thing and we should back up the president when he does the right thing; but drop him when he doesn’t.
“The WHY is the most important question-not that something happened- but WHY did it happen?
“Somewhere along the way America lost its soul.
“People have to rise up but Americans have become so passive and power overwhelmingly abusive.”
I asked, “So how do we fix this situation?”
Ms. Thomas readily replied, “It’s being done!”
Then I asked Ms. Thomas if she had always wanted to be a journalist, her persistent smile broadened and the gleam in her eyes sparkled with unshed tears as she replied, “When my first article was published in the high school paper and I saw my byline, I was hooked!”
I shot back, “I had a similar but opposite experience!”
I explained that when I was a child, my dream was to grow up and become Brenda Starr, the red headed, ace investigative journalist and star reporter for the metropolitan daily, The Flash.
The fictional Brenda traveled the world solving mysteries, unearthing scoops and she intuitively knew when somebody was not telling the truth.
But when my first assignment for the high school newspaper was edited beyond my recognition but my name was attached, my Irish temper erupted and I immediately confronted the faculty member on the paper and demanded, “Why did you publish an article with my name but with words I did NOT write?”
I was told that it was just standard procedure for the faculty to edit all of the student’s work.
I shot back, “Not mine you don’t! I quit!”
Ms. Thomas pointed her finger at me and said, “That’s ethics!”
And that comment is the second highest compliment I have ever been paid in my life!
The first remains the one Vanunu graced me with when he said, I was “always good to remind him of JC.”
JC/Jesus Christ was never a Christian, but a social justice radical revolutionary nonviolent Palestinian devout Jew who rose up against a corrupt Temple and taught the people there was no need to pay the high priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already loved ALL just as they were.