Thomas Accuses Bloggers of 'Deterioration' of Journalism in Iraq War

    Not everyone is thrilled about how new technology has changed the way news is reported. Long-time White House Press Corp member and columnist for Hearst newspapers Helen Thomas is one of those unhappy. She blames bloggers for contributing to the “deterioration” of journalism that led to the Iraq war.

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     “What I really worry about is that I think the bloggers and everyone, everyone with a laptop thinks they’re journalists,” Thomas said. “And, they certainly don’t have our standards. They don’t have our ethics, and so forth. There’s a deterioration,” she continued. “Reporters laid down on the job in the run up to this [the Iraq] war.”

     Thomas made those remarks in a January 4 round-table discussion that followed the premiere of a documentary about the National Press Club 100th anniversary, “The National Press Club at 100: A Century of Headlines.”  The documentary chronicled how the National Press Club has changed over the years as forms of media have changed – from newspapers to radio, TV, magazines and now bloggers. The most recent changes were underscored by Matt Drudge’s June 1998 National Press Club luncheon address.

     “I think they did a lousy job and we’re making for it now because the questions that should have been asked were not asked and because of 9/11 and the fear of being called unpatriotic, un-American and so forth. We let the country down,” Thomas added.

     Thomas, 87, is regarded as the “dean of the White House press corps” and has had a front row seat at White House press briefings bestowed upon her by her colleagues over the years and has used her position to be very critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war.

     Thomas openly admitted she was liberal in a November 5, 2006, Philadelphia Inquirer interview and her actions have proved it. She has repetitively derided her colleagues in the media for not being more aggressive with their questioning of the president. In March 2006, she appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” and accused Bush of killing innocent people.

     “In this case, in the case of the President and his cohorts, I think they have really spread war throughout the Middle East,” Thomas said on March 22, 2006. “They have really encouraged all of the horror that's going on. We have killed so many innocent people.”

    Thomas latest remarks come as newspaper circulation numbers continue to drop as people are relying on alternative means – including bloggers’ Web sites, to find their news. According to an article in the November 7, 2007 Editor & Publisher, of the top 25 papers in daily circulation, only four showed gains.

    In November, another icon of the old media, former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw, predicted The Washington Post print paper would be “probably dead” in 10 years.