Conffederate
Confederate

January 12, 2009

Joe the Plumber in Israel

Pajamas Media published a pair of articles today about Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (a.k.a. "Joe the Plumber") going to Israel for ten days to talk to Israelis and provide commentary for PJTV. I wrote the pro-Joe article three days ago; Jazz Shaw wrote the anti-Joe article since then.

In my post, I don't think I made any unreasonable demands of the man whom admirers like to refer to as "JTP."

Iím not expecting Pyle's humanizing folksiness, nor Yon's gritty incisiveness, nor Crane's vivid imagery from Wurzelbacher. I don't know if he can craft a coherent sentence or conduct an revealing interview. And perhaps he'll be an absolute disaster as a journalist, even as he's created a PR explosion for PJTV.

But there is an obvious fear among so many members of the media so defensively and preemptively dismissive of "Joe the Plumber" trying his hand at reporting. Deep inside, they must wonder if an Ohio plumber could really be much worse than the so-called professionals we already have. There lies the fear that underlies those mocking Wurzelbacher in the media. It is a bruise to their egos when they realize that almost anyone can do what they do.

Since writing that post, Joe hasn't dazzled the world as a reporting prodigy, and has most recently been mocked today for telling a group of reporters that the media should be banned from reporting the conflict he was sent to report on:

"I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting," Wurzelbacher said. "You know, war is hell. And if you're gonna sit there and say, 'well, look at this atrocity,' well you don't know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it."

The media, of course, lapped up Wurzelbacher's comment with great glee and held it up as if it were their vindication. I'm not sure it was, as there are good reasons to ban journalists from war zones on occasion.

While an outright ban on media coverage is generally considered undemocratic and is certainly unpopular in a culture told we should have access to almost any thing at any time, the simple fact of the matter is that irresponsible and often ignorant just-in-time journalism endangers combatants and civilians, and far too often reports completely false information as undisputed fact.

This conflict is no different.

Certain heavily-biased Middle eastern and European journalists have castigated Israel for using illegal incendiaries against civilians. It turns out those "illegal incendiaries" are quite legal 155mm M825A1 shells used to create smoke screens.


An aid organization temporarily stopped shipments of food and medical supplies into Gaza based upon definitive claims reported by the media that an Israeli tank targeted and shot at one of their trucks with a tank shell, killing the driver. Days later, after many came to accept this as fact, it was revealed that tank fire was not involved in the death of the driver, and that Hamas sharpshooters armed with rifles may have killed him.

Two news organizations—CNN and Channel 4—uncritically reported the claims of a Palestinian cameraman who stated his brother and cousin were killed by an IDF drone that fired a missile at them as the played on a rooftop. That no known missiles could cause the cartoonishly minimal damage shown on the rooftop, and that critics in the medical field quickly denouced the CPR performed on the boy in the hospital by a known propagandist dcotor as poorly pantomimed fakery, is buried by both networks, who defend the footage created by a cameraman who was later determined to have ties to Hamas.

France 2 is the latest to fake journalism, airing footage they claimed was from Israeli attacks, when the carnage aired actually come from a blast caused by Palestinian militants in 2005.

Another news organization can't tell the difference between dropping flares and dropping bombs. One pathic professional that reports from the region can't tell the difference between airplanes and helicopters.

So perhaps Joe the Plumber may turn out to be not much more than a media stunt. If so, he may still be more of a success if simply for causing less damage than our so-called professionals.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 12, 2009 06:37 PM
Comments

Any reporter assigned to file stories from a war zone should have, at a minimum, two years' experience in the active duty military. They would then at least have a framework that would give them a clue on what they're reporting about.

In some cases, even when facts are patiently explained to them, reporters "go with their gut" and simply report falsehoods. With a degree of military service, they could no longer claim ignorance as an excuse.

Posted by: Just Askin' at January 12, 2009 07:48 PM

The lapdogs are petrified. It may not be Joe, but soon someone is going to demonstrate that "journalists" are not doing their jobs. And haven't been for decades.

Posted by: Ken Hahn at January 12, 2009 09:58 PM

To read my commentary on Joe the Plumber, please go to this link: http://www.marymacelveen.com/blog/_archives/2009/1/13/4055174.html

Thank you,
Mary MacElveen!

Posted by: Mary MacElveen at January 13, 2009 02:18 AM
It may not be Joe, but soon someone is going to demonstrate that "journalists" are not doing their jobs.
Yon, Totten, Roggio and others have been doing that for years.
France 2 is the latest to fake journalism, airing footage they claimed was from Israeli attacks, when the carnage aired actually come from a blast caused by Palestinian militants in 2005.
France 2 also perpetrated the Mohammed al-Dura fraud back in 2000. Old habits die hard, especially when you're not trying to kill them. Posted by: Pablo at January 13, 2009 08:51 AM

I like JTP. I think his comment was meant to rankle when he said they should be banned from reporting. He was saying if they are that terrible at their jobs, and are just promoting propaganda and lies - that's not what the "free press" even means. I'm sure he would not be for banning them in fact - he's just saying they are so awful they should be banned - like the ultimate put down of how terrible of a job they are doing in providing comfort to the enemy.

They're no different than "Hanoi Jane" or whatever they called her the way they're doing their jobs over there. That's how I took it - not as a literal - but the ultimate show of disgust. He's raised my interest level and I think he'll be a sensation.

Posted by: l at January 13, 2009 11:28 AM

"It is a bruise to their egos when they realize that almost anyone can do what they do."

It's not that almost anyone can do what they do, it's that almost anyone can do it better.

Posted by: Tom the Barbarian at January 13, 2009 12:13 PM