January 12th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
14 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. Matt

    hey joe...where ya goin with that gun in your hand?

    January 12, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

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

    But, Joe, what if you hit him first? Which is exactly what Israel did, and has done repeatedly for over 50 years. Israel started this mess, mostly by being arrogant bullies, and has been able to keep it up only by hiding behind the U.S. and by spending huge amounts of American money.

    It's time to cut Israel loose and let them sink or swim on their own.

    January 12, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. umu ule

    That's what over ambition brings. From waxing his way into Obama campain to becoming over night political star with the failing Mcain campain to pallying with the half educated Alaska Governor. Today he is moduling his way into a war reporter.

    Any way I like him reporting in favor of Israel because it makes me angry when Hamas a terrorist group fires rocket into Israel and when Israel retaliates to protect it's citizens, the whole press will cover the whole exercise just to favor Hamas the terrorist

    January 12, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Buzz

    To those that say Joe's 15 minutes are up – His reporting is equal in importance as CNN's "iReporters". Reviewing their "reporting" mostly shows a lack of education and understanding of the economy and the facts.

    For those that ridicule him – A lesson you should learn is that you should hear BOTH sides of the story. All he is doing is giving the other half. If you don't listen to it then how do you make a decision with only half the story – is that how you communicate in everyday life? If so, I can see whay your offspring will act like 6 year olds in Toys'r'us when they are supposed to be mature adults 🙂 – If you are going to make a comment – make it count for some intelligence and not child like behavior.

    January 12, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. California Girl

    I have noticed that ever since the movie "Forrest Gump" Americans seem to have the idea that if a person has training and experience, it means they are somehow suspect, or they have some problematic agenda, and a person who is a complete blank slate would be better. We saw that with Newt Gingrich and his group of bullyboys, we saw it with Palin, and now we are seeing it again. Joe is an example of this. I hope for his sake he is saving his money so when the Ridiculous Right dumps him, he will have something to fall back on and not have to go on welfare again. By the way, my siblings and I (five of us) are all extremely liberal, we all work and have never been on welfare, even when times were tough. Be glad the government was there when you needed it, Joe.

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Bubba

    OMG did he REALLY just find out that war is NO PICNIC? Worth sending him there just for that insight, I feel. Did anyone think to paint a target on his back?

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. John, Brooklyn, New York

    This goes to show why Joe the Plumber should NOT be a journalist – and why his selction has been irresponsible by Pajamas Media. An independent press not just a "nice to have" as Joe seems to imply. It is essential to maintaining democracy and an informed electorate.

    The first step in creating a dictatorship is to actively restrict vital information about important issues – duh, like the status of a war – to the country. We are NOT Nazi Gernamy and we are NOT the Societ Union. We DON'T need, nor want, nor prosper from, the government dictating what we can see, hear, and read.

    Freedom of the Press is protected by the Constitution. Thank God it isn't protected by the likes of Joe.

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Katie in Pennsylvania

    Is THIS the image America will keep projecting?

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Mike

    A typical German war-monger.

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. j

    and he's the type of "American" that the rest of the world sees...

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. lola Planner, Houston, Texas

    so clueless...

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Al

    If there is one person to point the finger for creating this Joe the Joker and Stupid Sarah it's the so-called Maverick John McCain.

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Jason

    Why is this guy still relevant? And perhaps he should try to go to Gaza as "press" and see if he is still defending Isreal after they begin shooting up his caravan like they did with the UN and Red Cross one?

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. a little sad

    Could it be that Joe being sent over there is an attempt to prove to the world that the US is NOT too much of a friend to Israel?

    After all would you send Joe the Plumber to a friend?

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Now here's the reason why a birth control pill exists!! This guy is an idiot. Why is he getting any coverage???

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. John

    Joe the TOOL needs to disappear of the face of the Earth!

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. DJ in TX

    Actually the media has reported on the thousands of rockets that Hamas has sent over into Isreal. BTW Joe, President Elect Obama supports Isreal. The only issue I think people have with Isreal is the killing of children. Most people know in an offensive, that there will be some civilian casualities. But Isreal hit two schools with children in them. I'm not defending either side. But all of Palestine is NOT behind Hamas. Why doesn't someone help Fatah get back in charge when the peace process was actually moving along?

    I agree the people of Isreal need to be heard, but not from this guy. He has no, not one single ounce of journalism in him. He states that ALL media should be banned, but he's hired by a media outlet to report on the war. I wish no harm on him, but this guy needs to go. I understand why this guy was used by the McCain camp, but it was a mistake. I think he hurt the campaign, especially when he didn't show up at an event.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Rico

    I think everybody is being very unfair to Joe. This is probably as good as life will get for him. I don't blame him for trying to milk it for all that it's worth. I mean he went from a guy with bad credit and struggling financially to getting a paid trip to Israel to poorly write on the war. Of course it does seem highly obsurd, but he got a much better break than most of us will ever see.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. boered1

    Proud to be a Republican January 12th, 2009 1:42 pm ET

    So if a conservative says media shouldn't report on war, it's against 1st Amendment rights, but when commie liberals try to ban conservative talk radio, it's patriotic?

    actually what we say is honest non-libelious news is acceptable but libel and slander should not be acceptable. So that is why rush, the druggie, and his ilk should not be allowed they are lying outright and calling it facts. they are entitlted to their point of view, no matter how hate filled and racist it is, but for them to be allowed to go on, unchecked and call their distortions and outright lies "truth" is unacceptable. I also would note that no matter how much the "liberals' (ie anyone with an idea that was not formed before 1901) dislike and whine about the facist members of the radical religious right we have not taken them off the airwaves. So get over yourselves, unlike the radical religious right who ahve killed those they disagree with, bombed out public buildings, and had the protestors at the republican convention jailed for no reason (see Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!) the Liberals ahve yet to imprison ANYONE for voicing their opinion.


    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. a REAL American

    I find the level of condescension from the comments so amusing, but then again it shouldn't be surprising coming from all the liberals here who obviously are so much smarter and more enlightened (HAHA) than the average "joe."

    Why don't ya'll just get over yourselves already, because it's plain to see that the only reason you despise Joe is because he made Obama look so vulnerable and typical of Democrats with his "spread the wealth" outlook on life!

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Jazz

    Joe what a good job but how do we know you are telling the truth. You are just their so get you a??? back or better yet go to Alaska and cover the story on Palin daughter Mother-In-Law.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. AC

    This man is douche bag just like most of his other right winged Republican friends. What in God's name does he know about war? Did he ever serve in the military? This poor sloth, I am afraid the media has given him WAY too much attention and as a result has lead him to think that he can do anything, anywhere, at anytime or at any place. Is this what we want representing this country??? I don't think so! To all the media outlets: TURN THIS GUY'S CAMERA AND MIC OFF IMMEDIATELY! I am sick of hearing about and seeing this goof ball!

    JOEY: Go find something that you are good at, if that's possible, besides mouthing off about things that you don't have clue about. Obviously, everything that you've tried doesn't work for you. You are not as popular as you think or have been told.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Carl

    This guy is a joke! He has somehow managed to extend his 15 minutes of fame for far too long... I think that John McCain and Sarah Palin should take turns babysitting this idiot in their respective homes. After all, they created him. To say that the news media should not be allowed to cover war is absurd. It is unbelievable that any media is giving this empty headed loon any coverage whatsoever. Does he think this will raise his visibility level even further with the American public? What next? A talk show on cable or radio? Perhaps a run for political office? Well, dogcatchers are needed everywhere...even in Ohio. Is he qualified? I know I would not trust him with my pipes...especially if he knows as much about plumbing as he does journalism or politics. Go away Joe...or whatever your name really is!

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Joe in Austin

    He's fun, in a bumpkin sort of way.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Jason

    Wow, I still can't believe you democrats still unload on this boy. Do you have anything better to say than "idiot". I scanned these comments and hardly saw a word on what he is talking about, just attacks on him and whether he should be saying it. The party of tolerance, give me a break!

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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