From the Falls Church News-Press, which is Helen Thomas’s new employer, comes an interesting bit of gossip. In an otherwise mundane column, the paper’s editor, Nicholas F. Benton, reports on the “handful” of Thomas’s friends and supporters who reached out to her during her controversy last summer — and apparently, one of these supporters, oddly enough, was former president Jimmy Carter:
[Rosie] O’Donnell sent Thomas, now age 90, flowers in sympathy for the highly upsetting incident and, along with President Jimmy Carter, was one of only a handful of her longtime colleagues and friends to reach out to her.
If true, this is certainly fitting. Both Thomas and Carter have been accused of anti-Semitism for their statements about Israel, although Carter hasn’t gone as far as to say that the Jews should “go back to Germany.” Could the former president have contacted Thomas to commiserate about his own experiences?
Benton told me over the phone that Thomas told him about Carter’s outreach herself, though she didn’t give him details about what the former president said to her. “The context was in the context of what transpired,” said Benton, referring to Thomas’s unceremonious retirement from Hearst.
So while Carter’s outreach could have been as innocuous as a generic sympathy note, it’s still amusing to think of Thomas and the former president trading war stories about how they both got taken down by the Jewish lobby.