Fox and Bloomberg battling for Helen Thomas


Everybody wants to be in the front row! Personally, we’d rather see Bob Uecker get the nod to take over the seat recently vacated by iconic White House reporter Helen Thomas, who retired under a cloud. But according to reports, it looks like cable nets Fox and Bloomberg have the inside track.

According to a Yahoo News report, Bloomberg Executive Editor Al Hunt and Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon have traded letters, directed to the White House Correspondents Association, making their case for the plum seat assignment.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart had already weighed in on what he obviously thought was excessive media focus on the topic of filling the long-occupied seat. He observed that questions may be asked, and answers heard, from anywhere in the WH press room.

Some have questioned the value of the White House press corps in general. In the belief of many observers, they often wind up acting as stenographers faithfully reporting what the White House wishes to report.

The reporters get to ask questions, but the White House also controls the answers. NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory, himself a former White House correspondent, responded to critics who claimed that the WH press corps was failing to hold the administration to account, said that he was absolutely asking tough questions – that did not mean that he could produce the administration answers that critics wished to hear.

One thing the Helen Thomas seat does offer is visibility – perhaps the journalistic value of the corps as a whole is questionable, and maybe the journalists have been overly focused on a story mainly of interest to themselves. But there’s no getting around it – for many years, the most often photographed and filmed White House correspondent has undoubtedly been Helen Thomas, whether she’s doing something or not, just because she’s right there, front and center. So if nothing else, her seat has promotional value.

RBR-TVBR observation: As is usually the case in Washington, this is being waged as a war of words, but since it’s related to TV, perhaps Connecticut senate wannabe Linda McMahon can lend some expertise. Why not settle this professional wrestling style? The best of three falls, Michael Bloomberg v. Rupert Murdoch! We’d definitely pull out our credit card and order pay-per-view to see THAT match-up!