Belief Beat

When a faith-related story falls off the radar, sometimes I try to catch up up with it, Lewis Black-style. (In all seriousness, it amazes me how short our news attention span is — when’s the last time you heard about the earthquake in Haiti, the genocide in Darfur, etc.?)

So, at an event with NBC’s “Meet the Press” host David Gregory last night in Seattle, I took the opportunity to ask him for his thoughts on what had happened to his former colleague, Helen Thomas, earlier this year. As you may recall, the trailblazing journalist and veteran Press Corps “dean” retired after a rabbi and his son caught her on camera saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” remarks widely interpreted as anti-Semitic, though perhaps merely anti-Zionist (closer to my take on it).

Gregory identified himself as Jewish and called Thomas a “polemicist” who had “lost her way” as a journalist and whose “views were well known around the press room.”

I was surprised he didn’t offer a more nuanced opinion of the situation, given that he has a degree in international studies, in addition to his many years as a mainstream journalist. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to ask him a follow-up about whether he considered Thomas to be “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist or pro-Palestinian,” and where he draws the line at journalists/columnists (Thomas was the latter in recent years) having opinions on controversial matters.

He also shared some general thoughts about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — nothing eye-opening, but I’ll post a link to the video when it goes online. Check back for updates and share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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