Over the weekend, members of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) weighed in on what some members are calling “outrageous and offensive comments” made by 89-year-old Helen Thomas who said that the “Jews need get the hell out of Palestine.”
Suggested responses to Thomas’ gaffe ranged from a WHCA-issued statement to revocation of her White House press pass. Though some members would like to overlook this incident so as not to “define Thomas’ career by a lapse in judgment,” it seems likely that the board will take some action.
In an email to the association on Sunday, board member Ed Henry of CNN said that it has not been the role of the WHCA to “police speech by members, which obviously prizes The First Amendment.” Henry also noted that there is a broad misconception that the WHCA can “yank any member’s press pass when in fact that power comes at the discretion of the White House itself.”
Regardless of the group’s historical role, Thomas’ fate with the association will be determined today. The WHCA board has encouraged members to discuss at the White House throughout the day or to individually email their opinions on the matter so that the board will be in a better position to determine an appropriate response.
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