Warehouse K

Helen's Chair

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Fox News Given Coveted Press Seat

By James Donahue

Most observers must agree that there is something perverted about the way people in and around Washington, D.C. are thinking these days. A subtle example of the twisted mindset is the decision to grant Fox News, known for its talking heads that carry out a blatant ongoing assault against the Obama Administration, a coveted front-row press room seat created by the recent retirement of veteran reporter Helen Thomas.

While Fox sought Thomas’s specific seat, we are glad to say they were denied that final insult to the dignity of the outgoing Thomas.

It appears that getting a seat in that place is not just by random selection as reporters enter the room. Each seat is specifically assigned by the White House Correspondents Association. And the association gave the Thomas seat, located front row, center, to The Associated Press. The Fox correspondent was assigned the Associated Press’s former front-row seat and a reporter for National Public Radio was moved up to the second-row seat formerly held by Fox News.

Thomas, who resigned abruptly in June during controversy over a videotaped comment she made in which she called on Israelis to get out of Palestine, had been a respected member of the Washington Press Corps, representing United Press International and the Hearst News Service. She was known for being outspoken and firing the “hard” questions that other reporters appeared unwilling to ask.

The 89-year-old Thomas was, in our opinion, one of the last real journalists still working on the Washington Press Corps at the time she was forced into retirement.

That the association would appear to insult Thomas’s name by moving Fox News into the front row apparently raised a few eyebrows around Washington. The association’s board, however, said the decision was based on the “length of service and commitment” shown by Fox News staffers.

Indeed, while most Fox talking heads appear to be devoting their news space to dumping slanted right-wing propaganda on all that watch, there is at least one anchor that seems to be doing a very good job of delivering the daily news. In our judgment, Shepard Smith is offering one of the best news hours to be found in American television.

Smith’s work, alone, may warrant Fox that coveted front row seat.