Thomas blip

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My FATHER’S cousin, James Cameron, was not always chivalrous to fellow scribes of the female persuasion, but one of the exceptions was the legendary Helen Thomas (Obituaries, 22 July).

He admired her frontal assault on the all-male White House press corps, her refusal to conceal her strong opinions and the way in which she castigated presidential evasions.

She regularly travelled on presidential excursions abroad and it was on one of these – Richard Nixon’s ground-breaking 1972 visit to China – the pair met and really hit it off. They were among the few western journalists who were routinely allowed in by south-east Asian communist regimes, even though neither was “fellow-traveller”.

Yet, while Cameron could mask the strength of his feelings behind a shield of irony and sardonic wit, Thomas’s fierce Lebanese temper was not always under complete control. A caustic response to a leading question from a rabbi ended her career three years ago and it is a matter of a regret that this trifling incident so often features in articles about her.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews, Fife