The First Lady of the White House Press Corps

On Monday the Queen of White House journalism came to Cornell to give a speech on her thoughts of the past and present of the White House press corps and the role of women in the press. She has worked as a White House correspondent for 55 years starting with JFK. It was by far the best speaking event I’ve went to in my life. Dry humor abounded in her speech as well as critiques of this President’s approach to the US public (the demonization of the word liberal is an example) and the press as compared to those of past presidents. Criticisms of the Iraq war were plenty and very well backed by historical evidence. The foreshadowing of Bush Sr.’s reasoning for not continuing the Gulf War into Iraq (door-to-door fighting against an unmarked enemy) was strategically placed in her analysis of current President Bush to elicit a loud/long applause. Yet despite the harsh criticisms about the current administration there were criticisms about the passivity of her colleagues, and one could tell that if this President was a Democrat there would still be harsh critiques. What was most impressive was her manner of respect. You could tell that this is the same reporter who ends each question with, “Thank you Mr. President.” There were no personal insults, just an explanation of what she thought was being done wrong and why. She is the grandmother you never mess around with not just because of what she achieved but because her past demands respect (one of 9 children raised by parents who didn’t go to college, but all of which earned a college degree; a woman entering a “man’s” job). She truly is a reporter that should be emulated.
Thank YOU Helen Thomas and if you’re alive when/if I am President or Press Secretary you can talk all you want.