Washington Babylon — June 8, 2010, 7:10 am

Helen Thomas and “Objective Journalism”

Granted, Helen Thomas’ remarks were vile and disgusting, but it’s been hard to stomach much of the media commentary about her. For example, CBS correspondent Mark Knoller is quoted in today’s Washington Post as saying, “She asked questions no hard-news reporter would ask, that carried an agenda and reflected her point of view, and there were some reporters who felt that was inappropriate. As a columnist she felt totally unbound from any of the normal policies of objectivity that every other reporter in the room felt compelled to abide by, and sometimes her questions were embarrassing to other reporters.”

Yes, questions other reporters found too embarrassing to ask, like, President Bush, are you sure there are WMDs in Iraq?

As for the tough questions asked by “objective” reporters more recently, highlights from the presidential campaign of 2008 include, “Oooh, Mr. Obama, how’d you get such big muscles? Can I touch it?” Or just this past weekend, “Vice President Biden, can I borrow your super-soaker?

And keep me posted on when Martin Peretz (among others) is admonished by journalists for his racist comments, going back at least a quarter-century, about Arabs.

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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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