From “Scoop” –
An Interview with Helen Thomas –
“I’m going out with my boots on.”
Full Text of Interview:
Audio Links: (Windows & MP3)
Radio NZ Interviews: HELEN THOMAS
Transcribed For Scoop by Rosalea Barker
Published with Permission of Radio New Zealand National
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ON THE CORPORATE MEDIA
Helen Thomas: My colleagues let the country down. They gave up their one weapon, which is skepticism. They took all of these falsehoods in stride and even when they knew it was so questionable, they didn’t ask the questions…They didn’t know you don’t go thousands of miles away to kill people in their own country, or to get one man.
Kathryn Ryan: Why didn’t they ask the questions at the outset?
Helen Thomas: The fear card was played very heavily. I think. After 9/11, everyone started pulling their punches. They didn’t want to ask tough questions–this is my belief–because they didn’t want to be called un-American, unpatriotic. So they remained silent when they should have been questioning very strongly, and the administration got away with it.
HER TREATMENT BY THE BUSH ADMINSTRATION
Kathryn Ryan: what happened in terms of your own treatment, in the early days of the Iraq war, when you were questioning President Bush over his decision?
Helen Thomas: Ha! Persona non grata! I will survive. I didn’t go into this business–and neither did you, I hope–to win a popularity contest. I feel my job is to ask the questions and let the chips fall where they may. And I don’t expect to be kid-gloved or anything else.
ON BEING A LIBERAL
Kathryn Ryan: You’re a self-declared liberal, how much has that influenced your reporting and commentary over the years?
Helen Thomas: I write a public opinion column. I’m allowed to think for myself.
Kathryn Ryan: And how much can and should personal opinion influence political commentary?
I hope it influences a lot of people. But I’m not running for anything!
BUSH I & BUSH II
Kathryn Ryan: Is there not the theory, though, that in some ways George Bush II’s presidency is about completing the uncompleted work of his father’s era?
Helen Thomas: What is uncompleted? To go into someone’s country and conquer it, and say, This is a big victory? What is the goal? What do you mean “uncompleted”? I know you’re not saying it; everybody else says it.
”I WANT TO DIE WITH MY BOOTS ON”
Kathryn Ryan: Do you ever regret committing an entire life to this the way you have?
Helen Thomas: Hell, no! I love my job. Don’t you? Love yours?
Kathryn Ryan: I’ve got to be honest with you I intend to retire before I’m in my eighties.
Helen Thomas: I know what you’re hinting at. I love my job. I want to die with my boots on. Is there anything wrong with that?
I think not.
Why do I have to apologize for being alive?