Feature

Joe the Plumber vs. the media

The former campaign icon launches a journalism career with an attack on reporters covering Israel

What happened
Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. Joe the Plumber, launched his career as a journalist by scolding journalists in Israel for focusing on the violence in Gaza instead of rallying behind their government. “It makes me sick the way you behave,” he said to a group of journalists. “You guys need to be protective of your homes, your children, your family.” (The Jerusalem Post)

What the commentators said
Joe the Plumber hasn’t been a journalist for 48 hours, said Scott Johnson in Power Line, and already “he has gotten a better handle of the situation than his supposed betters in the media.” Let’s hope that his new bosses at the Web sites Pajamas Media and PJTV send him to Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran next, so he “teach the media reporting from those locales how to do it right as well.”

What a joke, said David Knowles in AOL News. Many conservatives think Joe is already a better reporter than seasoned war correspondents, because “average Joes always see the world in a more nuanced and accurate light than those high-minded, trained journalists.” But John McCain’s former campaign mascot clearly went to the Mideast with his mind already made up. So much for objectivity.

The beef against Joe the Plumber, said Bob Owens in Pajamas Media, seems to be that he has no experience, and that being a war correspondent requires some specialized journalism background. “At the risk of bruising the fragile egos of some of these journalists—no, it doesn’t.”

No, said Jazz Shaw, also in Pajamas Media, but “journalism, as with most professions, requires its own set of skills, training, and perhaps even a bit of native talent.” So far all we know Wurzelbacher can do is watch a televised debate and fire off a few witty retorts afterwards. Joe might turn out to be the next Edward R. Murrow, but don’t count on it.

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