Alexis Grant asks the question: Doesn't Helen (Thomas) have a right to her opinion?
Answer: Yes, of course she does.
She also has the responsibility of paying the price for voicing said opinions.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that free speech shall occur without public reprecussion, or that an ideology can be publically voiced without cost. What it says is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;"
There's nothing illegal about what Helen Thomas said although many find it offensive, and rightly so. As a newspaper columnist she certainly has the "right" to tell America how she feels, just as Rush Limbaugh and any other journalist has the right.
And her employers have the "right" to choose to terminate her employment in the face of overwhelming public condemnation.
As far as things go at HCA, we can't help but wonder if many of the same people who are so staunchly defending Helen Thomas for her "personal opinion" in some noble conquest to uphold free speech would be so ready to defend a conservative writer/talker if they expressed the same opinion....maybe involving blacks or latinos?
Some how my guess is no.
They would (and have) call for Limbaugh's (or..locally, Michael Berry) firing and, given that this is their opinion, they would be correct to do so.
Such is the cost of free speech.