The news travelled the world over. Helen Thomas the veteran White House reporter who grilled 10 US presidents, was forcefully retired two months before her 90 birthday.
Her tart tongue and thoughtless remarks on Gaza did her in. Asked questions at a White House event honouring Jewish heritage, a rabbi blogger who admired Thomas asked her opinion on the burning question of Gaza. She replied strongly that the Jews should get out of Palestine. And here she did herself in, by adding they should go back to Germany and Poland and America.
The admiring rabbi couldn't believe his ears. He wondered aloud if Thomas knew what she was saying. Yes was the reply. And to rub salt in the wound, she ended with reminding him her parents came from Lebanon.
It took somedays before the rabbi posted her remarks on YouTube, and then the outrage by foe and friend forced her employer Hearst to retire her without a by your leave.
Thomas' friends tried to soft soap her remarks. But how could they repair the irreparable damages her thoughtless remarks engendered? They couldn't try as they might. She might have nailed George Bush in his lies but her own words erased all that for she will long be remembered as a 'racist', to put it mildly.
Although she put a weak apology on her blog, she couldn't put her Humpty Dumpty image back together again.
Her enemies had a field day. Her friends at the White House sweated but condemned her remarks for the implications they conveyed. Had the long lived Ms. Thomas forgotten the Holocaust?
She lives by the word and she professionally perished by the word. There is no way you can put a smile on what she said. Interpret it as her friends will, but it won't wash away the hurt and the stupidity of her remarks.