Politico blog Shenanigans is reporting that Helen Thomas, long-time Presidential correspondent, may be about to lose her front row seat in the Press Briefing Room.
Apparently, being the first woman officer of the National Press Club, the first woman member(and president) of the White House Correspondents Association, and the first woman member of the Gridiron Club, not to mention covering every president since John F Kennedy, does not necessarily entitle Thomas to a front row seat. But at this point it' s up in the air; White House Correspondents' Association President Steve Scully says only "I can tell you categorically no decisions have been made."
The rationale for such a move? It seems the latest White House Press Room renovations will only create one extra seat per row but many of the cable news networks having been hankering after a front row seat for some time. Who will be the winner in this reverse game of musicals chairs? Well, if it's between CNN or Fox, then, a Politico source wondered, "how do you choose between the two?" (Hmmm, how, indeed.)
This isn't the first time Thomas has been moved to the back of the room. A number of years ago she was given back row status for Press Conferences because she
gave Bush a hard timeno longer worked for a wire service (she's technically a columnist now).
According to Thomas it makes no difference where she sits, "I know how to shout". After watching her chase down Steven Colbert at last year's White House Press Association Dinner, we have no doubt.
Leave the Old Ay-rab in front. She's earned it. And speaking as an incipient old folk myself, seniority is about all we got left.
And just how do us Olde Fartes (y,Lctp) handle those long press conferences? Depends.