In case you missed it, Matt Welch had some interesting points to make about the press corp in general and Helen Thomas in particular in the comments section of this post. Here is a bit of what Matt had to say:
I like Helen Thomas. She about near drank me under the table nine years ago, when we met during Clinton’s visit to Prague (I was working for UPI then). She was totally contemptuous of Bubba, and clearly had been speaking her mind freely for several decades now, for mostly good and the occasional ill.
So she’s old and sometimes shrill. Great! I’ll take her over Sam Donaldson any day of the week. I think it’s just fine that the White House press corps asks rude & occasionally bizarre questions — they’re there to provoke answers, after all. Ever see that weird old dude, I presume a Washington Times type, who always tortures Ari Fleischer near the end of his press conference? Guy’s a near-loon … and I love him. Presidents and their spokes-dwarves should be made to respond to such people, who at the very least inject a small jolt of color into an increasginly gray little room.
BUT. I like the concept of cranks asking questions. And I don’t think Helen has descended into full crank-hood yet, though it’s certainly possible (I’ve haven’t read or seen enough of her to tell, though the last things I’ve seen have been shrill). Enough *Americans* are cranks — I’m a crank, you’re a crank. I’d love to see Richard Bennett asking the first question at a presidential press conference. Or Atrios.
On his website, he now presents this scenario: