In the wake of the recent passing of Helen Thomas, it has been revealed that Thomas wanted (if you can believe it) a more liberal press, one that took up the causes of the Left to the extent that reporting the news was to be done solely for the purpose of advancing liberal principles. Conservatives are not shocked that liberal reporters have an agenda; in fact, we are surprised when a reporter doesn’t lean to the left when conveying information to the public. In a 2005 interview, Thomas said that “What is a liberal? A liberal cares for the poor, and the sick, and the hungry. A liberal cares about the government doing for the people what they cannot do for themselves, is what Lincoln said. A liberal seeks the truth and doesn’t put the spin on anything and asks to look at the facts. I think liberal correspondents are honest. I don’t mean the others are dishonest, but what I mean is–I don’t think that liberals, liberals have an axe to grind except they really do want a better world.” This provides us with the contrast between Helen Thomas’ liberal view of journalism’s role in public life and that of the rest of Americans who demand and expect factual, unbiased reporting that is not influenced by one’s ideology or worldview.
Thomas’ comments are insightful and revealing in that we are provided with a unique opportunity to delve into the liberal mind, as frightening as that concept may be to the educated among us. Moreover, we are able to develop an accurate assessment of the contrast between liberals and conservatives. You see, conservatives do not hold onto the hope that one day the press will become more conservative. Sure, we would like to see journalists take a more balanced approach to reporting the news or we would like a more diverse newsroom with an equal number of conservatives and liberals penning articles on the news of the day. And the reality that most journalists are leftists is in itself not problematic. Humans are innately political creatures who are unable to mask their biases when conveying important ideas; however, the objective of journalists should be to report the truth while keeping their prejudices and biases in check to whatever degree it is possible. This is what Americans deserve and what conservatives expect from the media. Provide the people with accurate, untainted information and allow them reach their own conclusions. Thomas wholeheartedly and proudly rejected this approach to reporting news.
Helen Thomas was a renowned reporter who spoke her mind and never minced her words. We should give her credit for a lifetime of passionate work dedicated to advancing liberal causes on the vehicle of American journalism. Yet, Thomas was not good for journalism itself nor did her work make the American public better informed about the inner-workings of our national government. She gave us valuable insight into the liberal way of looking at the role of government, but her reporting did not hold government officials accountable for anything other than making sure that they, too, were advancing the interests of liberalism at large. The duration of Thomas’ career enabled her to become a cultural icon to many Americans and this gave her reporting more attention and credibility than it deserved. She was an interesting, irascible ideologue who did her best to ensure that both Republican and Democrat presidents were living up to her expectations, but not necessarily whether they were doing what was right for the country. That Thomas retired after controversial remarks about Israel was, in some ways, a symbolic and fitting end to a career dedicated to imposing her own views on others through the medium of journalism. The 2005 interview merely confirms what we all knew, that Helen Thomas all along was just trying to make the world more liberal.