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Posts Tagged ‘Helen Thomas’

Helen Thomas Has Died

Helen Thomas, who covered every president from Eisenhower to Obama, has died. Thomas, 92, was born in Kentucky to parents who were immigrants from Lebanon. Her first job in journalism was as a copygirl for the Washington Daily News. She joined United Press in 1943 where she would remain for 57 years. Early in her career, Thomas reported on women’s issues and would later cover federal agencies including the Department of Justice and the FBI. She began covering the White House following the election of John F. Kennedy, in the last days of the Eisenhower administration. She left UPI in 2000 and joined Hearst news service.

Thomas left Hearst, and the White House beat abruptly in 2010 following comments suggesting that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.”

Thomas had a front row seat — literally — at the White House, front and center in the briefing room. When she left the White House in 2010, Fox News got her front row seat, thanks in part from some lobbying by then-CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry, who is now with FNC.

In recent years, Thomas wrote for the Falls Church News-Press, contributing a weekly column until January, 2012. In its obituary, the paper says Thomas, “came out of a retirement induced by a cascade of criticism from her journalistic colleagues for off-hand comments she was recorded making that were taken out of context in June 2010.”

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Helen Thomas Speaks To Joy Behar in First TV Interview Since Retiring Last June

Former White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who hastily retired last June after she made comments about Jews and Israel, gave her first national TV interview to HLN’s Joy Behar last night. Update: HLN sister network CNN says that it actually ran the first TV interview with Thomas a few weeks ago on “The Situation Room.”

While she seemed to regret the way in which she made her remarks, she remained firm when pressed on whether she stood by them:

“They [The Jews] didn’t have to go anywhere really, because they weren’t being persecuted anymore, but they were taking other people’s land.”

FBN’s Gerri Willis Celebrates 100 Shows

FBN’s “The Willis Report” anchored by Gerri Willis celebrates its 100th episode today at 5pmET. TVNewser hears it’s one of the best performing shows on the network, and she is FBN’s top female anchor. This morning TVNewser got a chance to speak with Willis about her transition from CNN to FBN.

TVNewser: You moved from CNN to FBN in March. How has the transition been?

Gerri Willis: It’s been so much fun starting up this show. We’re having a ball. We just have so much freedom to do what we want to do, and I feel like this has been just a gift. The way I’m interpreting consumer news now includes you as a taxpayer too. We’re also really looking into what Washington is doing as they spend your tax dollars and run up record deficits and debt. We have a segment at the back of the show that is a round table where we discuss some of the fun stories of the day. It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a lot of lighthearted fun. And then there’s a lot of tactical, ‘how do you fix this financial problem? How do you overcome this hurdle?’ We try to give a lot of “How to” in the show as well. I am just bringing our viewers information in a way that’s easily consumable.

TVNewser: When you were hired, Roger Ailes said, “Most of the CNN talent have been restrained from showing what they can do. We’re looking forward to providing Gerri with a platform at Fox Business to showcase her financial acumen and television expertise.” Have you been able to do that on FBN?

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Fox News Gets Front Row Seat in the White House Briefing Room

emptyseat_8_31.jpgEarlier today, the White House Correspondents Association met to decide what to do with that empty front row seat in the briefing room. Now Michael Calderone from Yahoo! News reports that the seat, which became available when Helen Thomas retired earlier this year, will go the Associated Press.

However, the AP’s old front row seat will go to Fox News, confirming a report from Calderone last week.

According to a statement from the WHCA, the decision was “very difficult,” citing requests from Bloomberg and NPR to receive a front row seat.

“[A]ll three made compelling cases. But the board ultimately was persuaded by Fox’s length of service and commitment to the White House television pool.”

Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett, who will occupy the new seat, tweeted words of thanks to his predecessors:

“Those of us who will sit in the front owe a debt to Jim Angle, Carl Cameron, Bret Baier and network that supported them.”

NPR will now move into FNC’s old second row seat, next to Bloomberg.

There were also a number of other changes to the seating chart, including the addition of a seat for the foreign press pool.

The full statement from the WHCA is after the jump.

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CNN’s Ed Henry Wins Election to WHCA Presidency

Henry_7.15.jpgCNN White House correspondent Ed Henry has won election as the next president of the White House Correspondents Association, FishbowlDC reports. Henry got a whopping 186 votes of the 243 ballots cast (three were ruled invalid. Dangling chads maybe?)

Henry also won the Association’s television seat with 198 votes. This is for the 2012-2013 term.

One of the issues the WHCA has not yet resolved is who gets Helen Thomas‘ front row briefing room seat. Both Fox News Channel and Bloomberg News are vying for the seat. As TVNewser reported last month, Henry is going to support Fox News for the seat.

Should Larry King Take a One-Year ‘Victory Lap?’

LKL062110.jpg The last few weeks have seen a barrage of stories regarding the fate of CNN’s 9 p.m. host, Larry King. While the current wave of articles began with this New York Times story in late May, similar stories have been written about King’s fate going back as far as 2006 with this piece in the Wall Street Journal which just might give you a feeling of deja vu.

Today, New York Times media columnist David Carr weighs in with his take. Carr doesn’t break any news, but he does offer a suggestion to King and CNN:

There is another choice for CNN. Think of the hand-off from Tom Brokaw to Brian Williams – graceful and profitable, with Mr. Brokaw continuing to show up doing work that interests him and Mr. Williams storming along in the ratings as the anointed heir.

Why not announce a yearlong victory lap for Mr. King? You could probably count on both Obamas, both Clintons, both George Bushes, both Martha and Jon Stewart, with maybe some Tiger, a little Oprah, all stopping by for some much deserved ring-kissing.

The 25th anniversary week proved that Mr. King can still move the ratings with aggressive booking, and meanwhile CNN could negotiate with Mr. King to free up some nights for a kind of bake-off, a rolling audition of hopefuls.

Carr also references the recent Helen Thomas fiasco, which saw the legendary columnist retiring suddenly after making controversial remarks about Jews and Israel. As Carr puts it: “The more legendary the talent, the more delicate the endgame.”

What do you think? Should Larry King take a year-long “victory lap” as Carr suggests? We have a poll waiting for you after the jump.

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What do Supreme Court Justices, Popes and Andy Rooney Have In Common?

Rooney_6.18.jpgAndy Rooney will work until he drops dead. Deal with it.

“How long am I going to work? How long am I going to live? That’s the question,” says the irascible Rooney, who turns 92 in January. “I will work until I drop, or until I lose my head. Until somebody tells me different, I’m not going to quit.”

Rooney, headed into his 34th season as “60 Minutes’” resident curmudgeon, joined CBS in 1949 (that’s not a typo) as a writer for “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” (ditto.) Until a few years ago, he wrote his weekly commentaries on a manual typewriter from his World War II days (see above.)

Seven days a week, he goes to his office, which, in a manner befitting a true contrarian, is physically apart from those of the “60 Minutes” gang. When the “60″ staff set up digs across the street from CBS News headquarters, Rooney stayed put.

Given the recent public flameout of 89-year-old Helen Thomas, some say Rooney should leave the party before he suffers the same fate.

Rooney’s musings “too often are the discomforting ramblings of an old man…,” writes TV critic Ed Bark. “Hanging on like this is unseemly. Rooney has made his mark and then some. He should give someone else a chance to end ’60 Minutes’ on their own terms.”

Not gonna happen, says Rooney, whose wry, two-minute sermonettes cover topics ranging from the amount of coffee in coffee cans to the demise of the “funny papers” (newspaper comic strips) to who is Lady Gaga.

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How Close is Too Close For Political Reporters?

For political reporters, the relationship with sources can be a tricky game. Reporters are expected to hold elected officials accountable, but require a certain level of access in order to get any sort of response from them.

CNN’s Ed Henry drew some attention from media observers when he tweeted photos from a barbecue hosted by Vice President Joe Biden. The photos and video, one of which Henry jokingly tagged as “exclusive” showed members of the Washington press corp mingling with Biden and other White House officials.

Henry appeared on NPR’s “On The Media” to discuss the incident:

The notion that we’re working 24/7, holding their feet to fire every single second, and you can’t actually stop to have a conversation or, God forbid, go to the vice president’s house, somehow democracy is compromised – I think people have to look at the whole picture.

And if you look, for example, at what I do on a daily basis with Robert Gibbs in the briefing room at the White House, I hardly think that Robert Gibbs thinks that I give him an easy time or that going to a White House holiday party with the president, which pretty much everyone in the White House press corps and a lot of people from New York and other cities who comment on politics, etc., show up for those parties too, and I hardly think that they’re compromised.

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen also mentioned Henry in a column examining “the actual ideology of the American press.” Rosen mentions an exchange Henry had with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last year.

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Fox News, Bloomberg Spar Over Thomas Seat

Oh its on. With Helen Thomas no longer occupying the coveted front row seat in the White House briefing room, the two leading contenders, Fox News and Bloomberg, are making their cases.

Michael Calderone at Yahoo! News has the details, including the letters from Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon and Bloomberg executive editor Al Hunt.


FNC’s argument is that the network was promised the seat when Thomas retired, having previously jockeyed for the spot. Even CNN’s Ed Henry supports the move.

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Major Garrett Guest Hosting Fox News Sunday

Garrett061010.jpg Real Clear Politics reports that Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett is trading in the briefing room for the studio, serving as guest host of “Fox News Sunday” this weekend July 4.

RCP speculates that it could be something of a tryout for Garrett:

Though Garrett is simply filling on a holiday weekend, his peformance will invariably be seen by some as a potential audition for a shot at the host chair when Chris Wallace, now 62, decides to call it quits at some point in the future.

Meanwhile, Chris Wallace, whose seat Garrett will be filling, had a few things to say on “Imus in the Morning” about Helen Thomas‘ currently vacant seat in the White House briefing room.

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