Press society board votes to shelve Helen Thomas award

Society of Professional Journalists directors decide to retire lifetime achievement award named for controversial journalist.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 15, 2011 09:32
1 minute read.
Obama and Thomas in the White House in 2009.

obama helen thomas 311 AP. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 
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INDIANAPOLIS — The board of directors of the Society of Professional Journalists has voted to retire a lifetime achievement award named for longtime journalist Helen Thomas, who has made a series of controversial statements about Jews over the past year.

The board of the national journalism group made the decision on Friday.

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The Detroit News said the SPJ's move follows one by Wayne State University to shelve the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media Award over similar concerns.

The 90-year-old Thomas grew up in Detroit and retired as a columnist for Hearst Newspapers last year after telling an interviewer that Israelis should get out of the Palestinian territories and go to Germany, Poland or the US.

She told a crowd in Dearborn, Michigan in December that "Zionists" control Congress, Wall Street and Hollywood.

She gave up her front row seat in the White House press room, where she had aimed often pointed questions at 10 presidents, going back to Eisenhower.

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