Update: Helen Thomas talks about why she returned to writing
Why, at age 90, and after a devastating departure from her last job, is Helen Thomas returning to the battlefield of punditry?
"It's my life, and I want to die with my boots on," the liberal firebrand told us. "There's never a day without news, and I want to be on top of it. I covered 10 presidents, and I don't want to stop."
We spoke to Thomas on Friday, a day after she emerged from seven months of unwilling retirement with a new column in the weekly Falls Church News-Press. While she initially agreed to speak only about her new gig, Thomas was the one to bring up the circumstances that led to her downfall -- her videotaped comments that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine." She told us her words were "distorted": "I didn't tell the Zionists to get out of Israel, I told them to get out of Palestine, and to stop mistreating the Palestinians. It's very depraved and inhumane." She added: "I'm not anti-Semitic."
Since leaving her Hearst column and seat in the White House briefing room, she's been "reading newspapers, going out to dinner, eating, drinking, being merry." Her reemergence with a new column stirred up outrage again: praise from adoring fans but scathing comments from others. "So what?" she said. "I'm not hiding." Not bothered by that stuff? "Hell no."
She'll mostly be reporting from home now, with her 6:30 a.m. read of the daily papers. Does she want to return to the White House to work the beat firsthand?
"I don't know. Maybe. If I can get in, if I get a pass," she said. "Nothing can replace being there when you're a reporter."
The Reliable Source
| January 9, 2011; 7:30 PM ET
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