12 June 2010
Listen to Helen Thomas
When I watched you at press conferences during the George W. Bush years, you seemed pretty disgusted with your fellow journalists.
Helen Thomas: In the run-up to the Iraq War, no one asked for proof of weapons of mass destruction. It was very, very clear that President Bush wanted to go to war at any cost. And he would not go back to the UN and allow them three more months to look and see if it was really true. We went to war on lies. I think 9-11 was definitely used to terrorize the people away from taking any stand against the government, because they felt it was a real crisis and I guess they—halfway at least—believed the government. Using terrorists is a very effective propaganda weapon...
Is it just me or did the mainstream press seem particularly flabby after 9-11?
They were afraid of not being considered real patriots, and I’m sure the big communications corporations got orders from on high. So they played ball...
I notice that you’re the only White House reporter that questions why an event has occurred. You did it several times regarding 9-11.
That’s the reason we’re so easily led down the garden path—nobody’s asking “why?” The question “why?” should always be there. What is the reason this other government or these people would do this to us? But I had the impression that throughout the whole country, truth took a holiday. There’s been very little search for truth, except for a few people who have spoken out...
But as a ranking member of the liberal press?
Where is the liberal press? It doesn’t exist. Read the Washington Post, read the New York Times. I mean, sure, a couple of columnists. But the weight of the editorials is toward the conservative side. For one thing, does anybody ever denounce aggression? No...
Is there somewhat more honesty with the Obama White House than there was with Bush?
You’re getting the same amount of dissembling from Robert Gibbs that you got from Tony Snow?
[laughs] It isn’t Gibbs’ fault. He’s getting orders. I asked the president last year, “Do you know any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?” He said, “I don’t want to speculate.” And I asked Hillary Clinton very recently, “In view of the pressure on Iran concerning nuclear weapons, do you know any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?” She said, “We’re for non-proliferation.” She kept talking, but of course she wouldn’t answer the question. So I don’t see much difference in terms of credibility or reversing the decision to ignore certain truths.
The full interview is at Vice.
Addendum: An incisive column at TPM calls out the hypocrites who accuse Thomas of intolerance.