Monday, February 16, 2009

Disrespect for Helen Thomas Speaks Loudly

A big thank you to my friends at the Women’s Media Center who drew my attention to the February 9 segment of “The O’Reilly Factor,” during which host Bill O’Reilly mocked award-winning long-time White House Press Corps member Helen Thomas.

In the clip, you'll see O’Reilly and two other male hosts calling Thomas names like “The Wicked Witch” and making fun of her voice. It's a sad, sad day for girls in our country when accomplished professional women like Thomas are not given the respect they have rightfully earned.

Helen Thomas is a pioneering woman journalist: first female member of the National Press Club, first female member (and then first female president ) of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and first female member of the Gridiron Club. She's a professional and a class act, a great example to girls and young women who are interested in becoming journalists.

The fact that she was mocked for her appearance, age, and voice on national TV is a disgrace. It underscores the messages that our daughters get every day from popular culture: if you're female, how you look is more important than what you do. Girls don't need this negative message.

That's why, as parents, we should click here and add our voices to the growing number of people who are calling on Bill O'Reilly to apologize to Helen Thomas. Add your voice and tell your daughter why this matters to you. It will send her the strong positive message that you value females for their accomplishments, not their appearance.

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