January 12th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
6 years ago

Joe the Plumber: Ban media from war


Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, is in Israel. (Getty Images/Israeli GPO)

(CNN) – ‘Joe the Plumber’ Wurzelbacher told a group of journalists covering the conflict in Israel and Gaza that he didn’t think the media should be allowed to report on war.

“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.”

Wurzelbacher arrived in Israel on Sunday to start a 10-day assignment for pjtv.com, a Web site run by the conservative media outlet Pajamas Media. The plumber-turned-foreign correspondent said he wanted to cover Israel’s side of the conflict, because he thought the media was slanting the story to make it look like “Israel’s being bad.”

In his first day as a reporter, Wurzelbacher described the hardships of daily life in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

“I’m sure they’re taking quick showers, I know I would,” Wurzelbacher said. “So you can’t plan your day, you can’t take a picnic.“

Wurzelbacher said he thought Israel should have attacked Gaza sooner. He told a group of reporters that he was a “peace-loving man,” but that "when someone hits me, I'm going to unload on the boy.”

He got a first-hand taste of reality in Sderot, when his group heard sirens warning of a rocket attack. With cameras rolling, Wurzelbacher and his group ran into a shelter.

“I’m in the bunker, I’m sitting there angry, outright furious, that I’m letting this terrorist dictate what I’m going to do because they’re firing missiles,” Wurzelbacher said. “It was fear at first, then outright anger, and then me wanting some kind of retribution. I’m not a person that runs from things, but when it’s a missile, you run.”

Filed under: Joe the plumber
soundoff (1,513 Responses)
  1. Nate

    Way to many of guys like this in the world. Thats why we have war.

    January 12, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Mike, Syracuse NY

    CNN I don't know which is worse, your never ending series of fluff stories about Obama (Obama gets a hangnail, Obama eats a hot dog, Obama picks his nose) or the equally annoying stuff about Palin and Joe the Plumber. One would think with an economic crisis, 2 wars, the Mideast, a tillion dollar budget deficit, and senate seats for sale; you could just maybe focus on real news.

    January 12, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Matt

    He isn't making any good points. The guys is a total moron. Can everyone please start ignoring him, so he will go away?

    January 12, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Patricia G, Houston, TX

    Next he will have his own program on CNN after DL Hughley..YUCK! What happen CNN??? Why even waste the space reporting about this guy...oh yeah...you are the same guys who gave DL Hughley a program...oh well guess I should not be surprised...

    January 12, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Ya_Ya

    Hey Fred, Monica Lewisky got real famous, really quickly, but I wouldn't want to trade places with her either.

    January 12, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Cliper

    Reading the above is a great way to gauge the opinion of the nation.

    Does Joe the P. and Sarah P. know how much this nation despises them?

    Behold the new face of the Republican party. As long as they keep it up with their racist, bigoted, ignorant publicity stunts, the Republican party will keep heading south in the polls. Every time I hear them or look at them, they remind me of what Republican trash is. As long as they and their supporters are in the public eye, we will be reminded of the rot in our nation, the rot that makes us less than we could be.

    January 12, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Chris

    I do not understand what the issue is here. It makes perfect sense that Joe the Plumber whose real name is Sam and is not a licensed plumber should now be a war correspondent who has never been in a war and never been a reporter! In the eyes of Republicans, what's the big deal? He has the one credential that counts – he's Conservative!

    January 12, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. buddy

    who needs to hear any more from this clown?

    January 12, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Sam

    Joe The RNC Chair!

    January 12, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. deb

    Uh...this is too funny! He says the media shouldn't be allowed to cover the war but yet he decides to "become a reporter" and cover it himself???? OKAAAAYYY!

    January 12, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Mike

    Funny how the right-wing wants to make this tax-dodging idiot into their spokesperson.

    I suppose "Joe' is now considering starting up a blackwater type tactical unit to root out Hamas but he's concerned that as a small business owner the revenue will force him into a higher tax bracket.

    January 12, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Martin

    Nothing needs to be added to this. His statement alone is funnier and more self-incriminating than any comment any of us could possibly make on it. I'll just repost it to highlight the fact:

    “I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting."

    "when someone hits me, I'm going to unload on the boy.”

    Can't WAIT till he runs for congress!

    January 12, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Surly Scholar

    Wow. The fact that McCain tried to portray this gibbering nitwit as an "everyman" is a grave insult to the intelligence of everymen everywhere.

    January 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Stefan

    No, seriously, go away

    January 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Lisa

    All politics aside, if he doesn't believe reporters should cover war, why is he there?!

    January 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Mark

    Joe doesn't mind being the court jester-if he grasps the reality that he is one. He's like the guys who sold pet rocks. Who would have thought anyone could get rich selling ordinary rocks? Joe is going to make money off all of this. He's making himself a novelty item that the media will just have to interview to see what makes him tick. He'll take the ribbing and ridicule, make money without working, probably not pay taxes on it and have no problem being the butt of jokes. He likes the attention.

    January 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Rachel

    He's right. Media has no place broadcasting what's going on in the middle of a fight. They can talk from the sidelines, or report after the fact - when their presence won't force soldiers to protect them, or give enemies information they shouldn't have. Remember Black September? It was the stupid reporters who filmed the cops going in, which the terrorists watched on their tv sets, that ruined the rescue attempt; and, in the end, look what happened.
    Reporters are concerned with selling their stories; they don't care if people die, so long as they increase the number of viewers or sell papers. They don't belong in the middle of a fight. Our soldiers shouldn't have to worry about protecting them, or having them give away important information.

    January 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Amber

    “I think media should be abolished from, you know, reporting,” Wurzelbacher said.

    aaaaaaand Scene. Thank you folks, that's a wrap!

    January 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Brent

    I cannot understand those who distrust the government with their tax dollars but absolutely trust it with the lives of their sons and daughters enough to not want the media providing a fair viewpoint.

    January 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Paula

    Am I missing something? By saying that the media shouldn't cover war, isn't he saying that he himself, as a correspondent, shouldn't have a job?

    This yob really needs some learnin'...

    January 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Al

    Joe tells us the people of Sderot can't take picnics. But how about the people of Gaza City? If you think the media is biased (which some of it undoubtedly is), cover both sides fairly. Corrective bias is bias too, and just perpetuates unfair reporting.

    January 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. HouseDiva

    Why is this fascist skinhead moron being sent to Israel to reprt on banning reporting???


    January 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. John

    Fred: "You guys seem to be just jealous."
    You sound like someone's grandma.- "He's doing good. He's got a good job...."

    Fred you're lacking in certain critical thinking skills, so you focus on semantics and completely skirt the fact that Plumber Joe is reporting on war while advocating abolishing said reporting because it inevitably makes one of the parties look bad.

    So, to re-cap: saving face is more important than having a valid reason for blowing someone's off- but don't worry about that, cuz Joe is making money.

    You're right Fred- I'm really jealous of the fact that Joe the Plumber is in Gaza reporting on something he strongly believes shouldn't be reported on. And as for Plumber Joe's 'vaild points'- I must have skipped those parts in the article because he's a friggin' plumber, Fred. It's like getting Britney Spears to be a key note speaker at an electrical engineering conference. 8 years of Bush has turned our citizens brains to mush.

    January 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Joyce

    It's a shame this guy doesn't realize what a joke he is. The world is laughing AT you, Joe, not with you.

    January 12, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Toby in Illinois

    And this person is an expert in ... what? He's not even a licensed plumber, much less a journalist.
    The fact that this is reported in the political ticker shows just how important CNN considers him - right up there with the runaway bride.

    January 12, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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