The White House Museum.)
A legendary American journalist, Helen Thomas, has passed away. The 92 year-old journalist, who had retired in 2010, died in her Washington apartment on Saturday morning after a prolonged illness.
Ms. Thomas was born in Kentucky on August 4th of 1920 to immigrant parents (from Lebanon). She received a bachelor's degree in English from Wayne State University in 1942, and in 1943 she went to work for United Press International (UPI) -- where she worked for 57 years (until May of 2000). From 2000 to 2010, she worked as a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.
She became the White House correspondent for UPI in 1961 -- and was the first female member (and president) of the White House Correspondents' Association. She covered the White House from 1961 until her retirement in 2010 -- spanning all or part of the terms of 10 presidents (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama).
Thomas was never afraid to ask the tough questions of any president -- whether they were on the left or the right. She considered it her duty to dig for the truth, and did not pull her punches with president's of either party. Because of this she had earned the enmity of people from all political persuasions at one time or another. But she also had the respect of most of her peers, and the presidents she covered in her 49 years of covering the White House.
I respected Helen Thomas, and I believe she has earned recognition as one of this country's greatest journalists. We could use a lot more like her.