Helen Thomas, Pioneering White House Journalist, Dies At 92 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Helen Thomas, Pioneering White House Journalist, Dies At 92

NBCNEWS.COM - Famed White House journalist Helen Thomas has died at the age of 92.

The Gridiron Club and Foundation, a journalistic organization in Washington, D.C., confirmed Thomas' passing to NBC News on Saturday.

Thomas died on Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness, the club said in a statement. A former president of the Gridiron Club, Thomas broke a long line of all-male leadership when she was chosen for the position in 1993.

The journalist who scored a front-row seat at White House press briefings after years of reporting for wire services had been in and out of the hospital recently, a friend, Muriel Dobbin, told the Associated Press. The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, Thomas had grown up in Detroit before moving to Washington, D.C., where she broke several barriers for female correspondents.

Known for her persistent style of questioning, Thomas was most recognized for her work with United Press International, and covered nine presidents over her long career. She started as a copy girl at the Washington Daily News, moving to what was then called the United Press in 1943.

She spent her last 10 years in journalism writing a column for Hearst newspapers, a post she retired from in 2010 after she was caught on a videotape saying that Israel should "get the hell out of Palestine." Her comments spread quickly on the Internet, and Thomas announced that she would retire shortly before her 90th birthday.

In a statement issued later, Thomas said she regretted her comments: "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

A 49-year veteran of the White House press, Thomas was known for getting the last word at presidential news conferences: "Thank you, Mr. President."

She saw the nation's leaders at their best and worst from her front-row seat to the executive branch.

"I have witnessed presidents in situations of great triumph and adulation, when they are riding the crest of personal fulfillment, and I have seen them fall off their pedestals through an abuse of power or what President Clinton called ‘a lapse of critical judgment,'" Thomas wrote in her memoir.

Her husband, The Associated Press' Douglas Cornell, died in 1982.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Hundreds gather to remember student killed in Freeman shooting

    Hundreds gather to remember student killed in Freeman shooting

    Saturday, September 23 2017 9:44 PM EDT2017-09-24 01:44:28 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people made their way to University High School to pay their respects and remember Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old student who was killed in a shooting at Freeman High School on September 13. The Spokane community came together to say their final goodbyes to Sam. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people made their way to University High School to pay their respects and remember Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old student who was killed in a shooting at Freeman High School on September 13. The Spokane community came together to say their final goodbyes to Sam. 

    >>
  • Colorado hikers rescue dog stuck on mountain for 6 weeks

    Colorado hikers rescue dog stuck on mountain for 6 weeks

    Saturday, September 23 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-09-23 23:56:12 GMT

    PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.

    >>

    PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.

    >>
  • South Hill man gives deputy ride to chase down suspect on the run

    South Hill man gives deputy ride to chase down suspect on the run

    Saturday, September 23 2017 2:10 AM EDT2017-09-23 06:10:59 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies are calling a 79-year-old man a hero for stepping in to help a deputy when he suddenly needed it.   That deputy tried stopping a driver on the South Hill after noticing the car didn't have license plates.     It started a chase that ended with the help from a very unlikely place. For Paul Eminger, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Seeing a Sheriff's Deputy running after 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies are calling a 79-year-old man a hero for stepping in to help a deputy when he suddenly needed it.   That deputy tried stopping a driver on the South Hill after noticing the car didn't have license plates.     It started a chase that ended with the help from a very unlikely place. For Paul Eminger, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Seeing a Sheriff's Deputy running after 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • D.C. child confuses pet store with power company, gets hamster anyway

    D.C. child confuses pet store with power company, gets hamster anyway

    Friday, September 22 2017 8:54 PM EDT2017-09-23 00:54:14 GMT
    @PepcoConnect twitter@PepcoConnect twitter

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a mailing mix up, a little girl in Washington, D.C. sent her letter asking pet supply store Petco asking for a hamster to Pepco, a D.C. utility company. Despite her minor mix up, her letter seemed to win over the power company.  Cynthia McCabe, Pepco's Communications Director, tweeted that customer services representatives decided to make Serenity's wish come true and gave her a hamster anyway. What a lucky 

    >>

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a mailing mix up, a little girl in Washington, D.C. sent her letter asking pet supply store Petco asking for a hamster to Pepco, a D.C. utility company. Despite her minor mix up, her letter seemed to win over the power company.  Cynthia McCabe, Pepco's Communications Director, tweeted that customer services representatives decided to make Serenity's wish come true and gave her a hamster anyway. What a lucky 

    >>
  • Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Colorado principal, assistant out after forced-splits video

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:57 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:57:52 GMT

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    >>

    DENVER, Co. (AP) - A Colorado principal has retired and an athletic director has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down in splits. Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg also on Friday released a report by a law firm that the district ordered after learning about the videos in August. Officials have said the school administrators saw at least one of the videos in June and 

    >>
  • Strahan Family opens up memorial to the public

    Strahan Family opens up memorial to the public

    Friday, September 22 2017 6:28 PM EDT2017-09-22 22:28:02 GMT

    In a media release from the Strahan family, they said: "The Strahan family invites the public to join them in a memorial service celebrating the life of their son Sam Strahan. The service starts at 2:00 pm in the University High School Gym. The family is so appreciative of the outpouring of love from so many people throughout this community. We hope everyone can join them for this celebration. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

    >>

    In a media release from the Strahan family, they said: "The Strahan family invites the public to join them in a memorial service celebrating the life of their son Sam Strahan. The service starts at 2:00 pm in the University High School Gym. The family is so appreciative of the outpouring of love from so many people throughout this community. We hope everyone can join them for this celebration. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Hundreds gather to remember student killed in Freeman shooting

    Hundreds gather to remember student killed in Freeman shooting

    Saturday, September 23 2017 9:44 PM EDT2017-09-24 01:44:28 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people made their way to University High School to pay their respects and remember Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old student who was killed in a shooting at Freeman High School on September 13. The Spokane community came together to say their final goodbyes to Sam. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - On Saturday afternoon hundreds of people made their way to University High School to pay their respects and remember Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old student who was killed in a shooting at Freeman High School on September 13. The Spokane community came together to say their final goodbyes to Sam. 

    >>
  • Colorado hikers rescue dog stuck on mountain for 6 weeks

    Colorado hikers rescue dog stuck on mountain for 6 weeks

    Saturday, September 23 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-09-23 23:56:12 GMT

    PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.

    >>

    PARK COUNTY, Colo. - Mountain climbers came together on social media to help rescue a dog stuck atop a 14,177-foot mountain in Colorado. A group dedicated to climbing so-called 14ers (mountains with elevations of at least 14,000 feet) worked together to find a dog stranded on Mt. Bross.

    >>
  • Damage in Puerto Rico strains relief efforts by agencies

    Damage in Puerto Rico strains relief efforts by agencies

    Saturday, September 23 2017 7:06 PM EDT2017-09-23 23:06:01 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal agencies are grappling with the vast scale of the disaster in Puerto Rico left by Hurricane Maria, the third major storm to strike the U.S. in less than a month. Three days after the massive hurricane crossed the U.S. territory, towns in Puerto Rico remain without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service.

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal agencies are grappling with the vast scale of the disaster in Puerto Rico left by Hurricane Maria, the third major storm to strike the U.S. in less than a month. Three days after the massive hurricane crossed the U.S. territory, towns in Puerto Rico remain without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service.

    >>