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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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

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