January 12th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
11 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. cjb

    The media should be banned from reporting on wars?! I have an idea: plumbers should be banned from reporting on the media.

    Joe would be outraged if a reporter tried to tell him how to be a plumber.

    January 12, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. jason

    “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..."

    so wait, you go into a war as a war correspondent to cover the war, and then you get angry that you have to move into a bunker because a missile is coming.

    hahah, hey joe- we're laughing at you.

    January 12, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Accountability

    Spoken like a true Fascist......

    January 12, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Ant

    LOL what an ignoramus.

    When someone hits you, you hit back? Great "peaceful" strategy. Same one that's keeping the conflict alive in the first place.

    The news media shouldn't be covering any wars? Then why is he there reporting on war? I guess he means the media shouldn't be covering war unless it's telling us what he wants us think about it.

    January 12, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. nora CC TXAS

    WHO???Honestly why does anyone care what this man has to say, CNN please stop reporting on this fool, you are better than this!!!

    January 12, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. AnnMM

    CNN if you want to stay a credible news service than stop reporting anything this moron has to say. Pretending that this guy is viable news is insulting. He's an absolute joke. He's not even a plumber.

    Has he paid his back taxes yet?

    January 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. The End is Near

    Reporters should be banned from reporting, hmm, why not have the government should control all the media? Old Joe would probably be much more comfortable under a dictatorship. He's not just stupid, he's evil;)

    January 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. The Man

    Look in the Dictionary for "Hypocrite" and you will see a picture of Joe the plumber and Sarah Palin.

    They both blame the media for their own stupidity. Absolute Morons!!

    The media simply reported their words and actions.

    January 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. lost in Texas FOREVER

    I wonder if "Joe the Plumber" had of been a "Jane the Plumber",or "Jose' the Plumber", or "DeWayne the Plumber" if he would still be in the spotlight and getting all this attention. I doubt if he would. Yet there are some peole that want to call this guy a hero. Isn't he supposed to be a single father? I guess doing this is much more important than raising his kid. How ironic it would be if Obama, the man he has so much disdain for, has to be the one who would have to get him out of there alive!

    January 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. deadhead dylan

    what a hypocrite!

    January 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Alex

    I used to like CNN when it actually reported on news. They may get a ton of posts everytime they talk about Sarah and Joe but they don't realize it's because no one can stand the fact they're reporting on them. I'm going to start a trend of boycotting CNN for a week everytime I hear mention of these two twits. Feel free to join me on the BBC website folks!

    January 12, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Steve in DC

    This guy isnt smart enough to figure out that he is being used in a silly game. He's going to wake up one day and say "What the heck was I thinking?"

    Poor guy.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Brooklyn Democrat

    If he doesn't think the media should report on war, why is he reporting on war?

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. TruthWillSetYouFree37

    Palin went to Germany to visit the wounded troops.

    Obama went to Germany to give a speech for adoring fans.

    Go figure.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Bill

    This guy is the absolute poster boy for the Republican party. Total ignorance and a lot of tough talk.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. thanks, but no thanks

    Speechless..... Joe maybe best way for you to be useful is to stay quiet. Little Joe could not take a shower... People are dying and he wants no one to cover the conflict. Maybe Joe the plumber is nostalgic of Putin. He, also, does not like media, either.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Abe

    Interesting reporting Joe. Now take a trip into Gaza or the West Bank and see what you would do if you had to live under occupation or a blockade. Would you get just as "angry" and wanting to "hit back" from there too or is it OK for some people to live under constant attack, control and humiliation and not others? Injustice is injustice no matter who it is against Palestinian or Israeli. Rockets aimed at civilians is wrong but so is the blockade and collective punishment on the residents of Gaza. You can't justify either one morally. They both use anger and self-defense as a justification but in the end they both kill and injure civilians. This conflict will never be solved militarily because an occupied people will never stop resisting and the occupier cannot succeed in maintaining control without using force. A political solution based on justice is the only possible way to end the conflict...and the United States is the only country capable of facilitating such a political solution...Godspeed president elect Obama!

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. john

    Joe, stay in Israel, and get Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin to move next door to you.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. chuck


    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Ray from Nebraska

    What a way to show you have a license to be an idiot.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Jack

    Can anybody reasonably answer why he's reporting? For crying out loud its sad that somebody like Joe The Plumber has a publicist as well.

    January 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. adjacent

    "War is hell". That is why we need more reporting from it, not less. So when our governants try to draw us into one, we know what we are getiing into.

    January 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Barbara

    What about the company that gave him the job and sent him over there
    what is the matter with them ?

    January 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Vik

    I think people who are really pro Israel should go and look at the map of the Palestine territory, it's pot marked with settlements. It's like saying, we are the United States, but sure Canada and Mexico can start making towns in our borders, with their own roadways to these gated communities. If Israel can't even stick to their borders, what do they expect from the Palestine people, but for them to fight back for their land? I feel people in general don't know enough about what's really going on and only think that anyone from the Middle East is a terrorist. Sorry, but when you don't have food, water, shelter, and a way to make a decent life for yourself, it's very likely that you will pick up that gun.

    January 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Cole

    To comments concerned with CNN's apparent colored coverage of 'Joe the Plumber" I'd just say consider what he had to say about the media's right to cover a war. That's pretty difficult to take any differently than exactly how it reads, it isn't out of context or something.
    Clearly Joe is interested in the greater good, "the story of the common man" some might say...which would have nothing to do with journalism. Maybe we aren't giving Joe enough credit because he apparently is ahead of the curve in his ability to be the only human being able to cover international conflict devoid of a drop of bias. Joe the Plumber: 15 minutes of fame is not equivalent to a professional degree.

    Please save your "homespun wisdom" for toasts back stage with "The Nuge" so we can stop pretending like anything you have to say matters.

    January 12, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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