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Pioneering White House Press Corp Reporter Helen Thomas Resigns Amidst Controversy

June 7, 2010

In response to a flurry of controversy over Helen Thomas’s recent statements on Israel,  the veteran White House reporter resigned from her position today. Her recent comments on Israel were met with strong criticism from White House reporters, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, as well as the White House Correspondents Association.  The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement on Ms. Thomas’ comments yesterday, declaring that “Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history.” Thomas responded to this criticism on her website with the statement, “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians.  They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon." Reflecting on the announcement, our WMC President Jehmu Greene said the following:

While Thomas has apologized and resigned over regrettable comments, we honor her legendary service and look to the White House Press Corps to be even more inclusive of women in the future. Helen Thomas has spent her life serving as a trail-blazer for women in journalism. Helene Cooper (NYT), Savannah Guthrie (NBC), and Suzanne Malveaux (CNN) owe their currents seats to her shattering of the glass ceiling.

Ms. Thomas's achieved groundbreaking milestones in the fight for gender justice in the White House Press Corps, having served as the first female officer of the National Press Club and the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents Association.  She has maintained a strong presence in the White House press room for over 58 years, despite facing strong opposition and exclusion from the old boys club Press Corp.