Special Report Attacks Helen Thomas
Reported by Janie - March 22, 2006
"Special Report with Brit Hume" dedicated more than one segment yesterday (3/21) to bashing White House Correspondent Helen Thomas because she understands the definition of journalism and dared to question the President on his policies.
White House lap dog Carl Cameron filed a report on the press briefing Bush held yesterday. The segment began with a video of the altercation between Bush and Thomas.
CC: "In a news conference aimed at easing public doubts about Iraq, President Bush found himself confronted by veteran White House Correspondent turned columnist and harsh Bush critic, Helen Thomas who demanded to know why the President really went to war in Iraq."
Comment: So asking Bush a tough question now makes you "Anti-Bush"? This - coming from a White House correspondent that literally takes his talking points directly from the President's office.
HT: "Every reason you've given, publicly at least, turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House you have said it wasn't oil, a quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel or anything else. What was it?"
GB: "I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist, is that I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat out wrong Helen, in all due respect. No, hold on for a second please. Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Hold on for a second, excuse me for a second, excuse me for a second. They did. The Taleban provided safe haven for Al Qaeda, and that's where Al Qaeda trained. Helen. Excuse me. That's where Al, Afghanistan provided safe haven for Al Qaeda. That's where they trained, that's where they plotted, that's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of Americans. I also saw a threat in Iraq."
Comment: Fox would not DARE to mention that Bush absolutely refused to answer Thomas' question. She wanted to know the real reason for going to war with Iraq - but Bush only gave his reasoning for going to war with Afghanistan. It appeared as though, once again, Bush and Fox were attempting to tie Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda.
Fox also made an attempt to portray Thomas as rude for interrupting Bush while he was responding, but again failed to mention that Thomas was simply trying to clarify since Bush was refusing to answer the question she initially asked.
They left Thomas alone for the time being, but picked up the topic once again during the All Star Segment near the end of the show.
"All Star" Fred Barnes opened the Thomas bashing with, "Today President Bush sparred with Helen Thomas and I thought he came off very well. He said nice things about her and so on."
BH: "Well, we didn't see any of that."
FB: "Yeah, I know. But he did!"
BH: "And we didn't get to see him fully make his point about the Taleban gave sanction to and have to Al Qaeda, and so he argued did Iraq."
Comment: Of course we didn't get to see him fully make his point about the Taleban - that wasn't the question that was asked to begin with! If one single person on this "All Star" panel were actually a journalist, it would be their responsibility to point out here that Al Qaeda had nothing to do with Iraq, but once again Hume and his merry band of misinformers decided to peddle the distortions which were seemingly faxed over by Karl Rove.
Barnes continued, "...All that stuff is not going to be remembered. It'll be the President sparring with Helen Thomas, after she didn't really ask any question. She had three accusations which she leveled. Reporters aren't supposed to fire accusations at the President or anybody else they're interrogating, and that was wrong."
Comment: "I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?"
I actually see three questions in there, but apparently Barnes doesn't understand the definition of a question, or he's trying to lie to the audience.
Barnes' fellow "All Stars" Mara Liasson and Mort Kondracke attempted to steer the conversation away from Thomas, but Barnes seemed obsessed and eventually brought the conversation back around to her once again.
FB: "Can I go back to Helen Thomas a minute? Because I think this is important. She made three accusations, she started out by saying Bush had caused the death of thousands of Americans and Iraqis by authorizing the invasion of Iraq. It's also true that he saved the lives of thousands of Iraqi children who were being starved and allowed to die because Saddam Hussein was using the oil for food money that was supposed to save them, he was using to build resorts and military stuff. But she didn't. It was an accusation. Then she said that every reason he'd ever offered for going into Iraq turned out to be false. Well that's not right. He gave all kinds of reasons. He said it was a horrible tyranny that invades its neighbors, and so on, it had ties to terrorists, all those were true, he cited those. And then she said this. That Iraq didn't do anything to you or to our country, another accusation. Well, maybe she hadn't heard that Saddam had tried to assassinate President Bush's father when he was in Kuwait. And many other things. Here's my point. A reporter sitting on the front row of a White House press conference making accusations and that's I think unprofessional and improper."
MK: "Of course I agree, it was an accusatory question with, but Bush knew what he was going to get from Helen Thomas. She has actually said that he is the worst president ever, she is notoriously anti-Israeli, and been against this war all along."
Comment: Where to even begin? Thomas was not accusing Bush of anything, she was merely giving background for the question she was about to pose.
1. Iraq never attacked (nor had the capacity to attack) the United States. Barnes claims that it's ok, because Hussein made an attempt on Bush's father's life. I'm sorry, but I don't remember that a supposed assassination attempt (which may or may not have actually happened) from 13 years ago being a reason given for going to war.
2. "She started out by saying Bush had caused the death of thousands of Americans and Iraqis by authorizing the invasion of Iraq." 2,319 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, almost 17,000 wounded. At LEAST 30,000 Iraqis killed (the number admitted to by Bush himself). So what was incorrect about her statement, that Barnes needed to add his special touch of spin?
3. "Then she said that every reason he'd ever offered for going into Iraq turned out to be false. Well that's not right. He gave all kinds of reasons. He said it was a horrible tyranny that invades its neighbors, and so on, it had ties to terrorists, all those were true, he cited those." None of these were the main reasons given to the American people for going to war. WMDs found: 0. Ties to Al Qaeda: 0. Uranium purchased in Niger: 0. These were the main reasons given for going to war. The "mushroom cloud" argument is what got the backing of the American people. Had we not been frightened into thinking Hussein was going to attack us with a nuclear weapon within 45 minutes, I don't think "Saddam is a tyrant" or "he attacked his neighbors" would have worked (especially since we already fought a war over Hussein attacking his neighbors more than a decade earlier).
4. Thomas supports the rights of Palestinians, and does not agree with every policy of Israel. That does not make her "Anti-Israel".
These four puppets had nothing better to smear Thomas with, a woman that has more journalistic integrity than all four of the people involved in this conversation plus every employee of Fox News combined.
I guess when Bush is asked a tough question, that he can't seem to handle (aka - "answer"), the guard dogs at Fox have to attack the JOURNALIST asking the question, rather than expose Bush's incoherent, incompetent, untruthful answer.