I know any and all criticism of The One from the left is to be welcomed with Strange New Respect, but … I just can’t muster it, guys. Not for Aunt Bethany.

It’s okay. Leave me behind and go on without me.

“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try.

“What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”

Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran.

“When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,” Thomas said.

“I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well–for the town halls, for the press conferences,” she said. “It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame.”

As I understand it, HuffPo was told that they’d be called on for a question from Iran but weren’t asked in advance what the question would be. In which case, what’s her problem? Wasn’t she, in fact, traditionally the first reporter called on at the daily briefing until fairly recently? Now the AP’s the first to be called on, as Gibbs himself noted earlier today. What’s the difference between HuffPo knowing the night before that they’ll get to ask a question and Helen Thomas or the AP knowing?