Why is Les Kinsolving still allowed in White House press room?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

In the wake of the Helen Thomas controversy, it now appears to be CW that n recent years, even before the firestorm regarding her comments about Jews getting the "hell" out of Palestine, Thomas should not have been allowed inside the White House press room because she was entirely an opinion journalist (i.e. not a hard news reporter), and she often asked provocative or out-of-bounds questions.

How do I know that's the CW? Because the WashPost's Howard Kurtz said so. In Monday's paper he wrote [emphasis added]:

Since Thomas was a columnist, she had every right to her opinions -- even if her view was that Jews should be banished from Israel. But she didn't have a perpetual right to a newspaper column or a White House press room seat.

But a local right-wing radio show host from Baltimore who doubles as a correspondent from the thoroughly discredited WND does enjoy that perpetual right? Apparently so, because nowhere in his long article does Kurtz mention that Les Kinsolving functions in the exact same way as Thomas did. Thomas should have been shown the door years ago, Kurtz writes. Yet he remains silent about Kinsolving who, it could be argued, is sort of the right-wing version of Thomas.

Note how Kurtz described Thomas in his article:


-"cranky columnist"

-"disturbing" behavior"

-"spewing bile and bias"

Trust me, that also perfectly captures Kinsolving, who has a a long history of asking partisan, whack-job questions in the WH press room that have nothing to do with news gathering, and everything to do with partisan theater. As the Baltimore City Paper reported, Kinsolving's interrogatory style of questions has been described by CNN's Wolf Blitzer as "a lengthy statement, usually designed to score a political point, packaged as a question."

A-ha! According to Kurtz's column, that's exactly why Thomas should have been booted from the WH press briefing room before the recent controversy: Thomas wasn't asking questions, she was making political statements.

Just like Kinsovling does!

In fact, here's a looney birther question from just this month which, if we adopt Kurtz's Helen Thomas standard, should immediately force Kinsolving to forfeit his press credentials:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs confronted WorldNetDaily correspondent Lester Kinsolving in the White House briefing Thursday, challenging the reporter to say whether he believed President Obama is a U.S. citizen after questioning the authenticity of Obama's Social Security number.

In the last question of the day, Kinsolving asked Gibbs "why the president is using a Social Security Number reserved for Connecticut applicants" – alluding to a popular conspiracy theory among some who question the president's citizenship.

Gibbs began to reply, saying he was "amazed" by the question, before interrupting himself to ask directly: "Do you think the president was born here, Lester? Do you think the president was born in the United States?"

"I don't know," the conservative correspondent answered, adding he wants to see Obama's birth certificate.

"I've seen the real birth certificate. I put it on the Internet," Gibbs shot back. "And I appreciate your forthrightness on the birth answer."

As Joshua Keating recently blogged at Foreign Policy:

Obviously, it does seem a little strange that Helen Thomas was forced to resign over one comment while Kinsolving says this kind of thing every time he's called on but gets to renew his White House pass every year.

So I'll ask again, why is Les Kinsolving still allowed in the White House press room?

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