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. Barbara

    Plus, how come I'm out of work and he has a job, WITH travel, no less? Life is so not fair!

    January 12, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. OutSideIn

    Jeeze, could this guy's 15 minutes please expire?

    So if the media shouldn't report on war then why are you (Joe) doing it? I means its not like some on is holding a gun to your head and making you listen to the news. You want to remain ignorant of what is going over there – simple just don't listen to it!

    I don't understand where he gets off saying the media is saying 'Israel is being bad", for the most part the media in this country has been pretty pro-Israel in this conflict.

    January 12, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. sbhs

    I think many posting on here are a little mistaken. Banning the media from reporting, yes that's he said, but must be taken into context. The foreign media has been overly critical of Israel and Israeli policies over the past few years. Israel does not want the media to be able to report and give Hamas their position while in combat. This happened during the initial moments of the invasion, when an IranTV reported live the invasion, warning Hamas of the imminent situation. Take the incidences in Mumbai, where the terrorists were being told of the police movements by other terrorists in Pakistan who were watching the police on their TV.
    In addition, Gazans have water, they have electricity, they have the necessities needed to survive in a day to day life. Aid from non-government agencies, as well as the UN are being brought into Gaza daily, not to mention, most of the aid is already IN Gaza, but it is being distributed by these groups. The fact that it is being stolen by Hamas is shameful, but not surprising coming from a group which booby-traps schools and homes. Not to mention places missiles and weapons caches in civilian areas, hospitals, mosques, schools, and homes.
    For those that believe Israel is using disproportionate force in Gaza, you must understand that Israel is being terrorized daily by missiles and other projectiles. Israeli civilian death is not high, only because Israelis are able to go into bunkers. Gazans civilians unfortunately do not have the same luxury. Fortunately for Hamas, the Hamas leadership does have this ability, as they have been in hiding in the Shifa Hospital during the invasion. Israel has been unwilling to attack this structure only because of the enormity of civilian casualties.

    January 12, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. denial


    A Palin/Wurzelbacher ticket in 2012.

    (apocalypse and light refreshments to follow)

    January 12, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Boston Irish

    Quote: Sandymouldin
    How many "you know" does this fool say in a minute? Get a life.

    I'm not sure how many, but I'll bet Caroline Kennedy has him beat by a mile.

    January 12, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Becks

    You have to admit; the absolute moronic nature of his comments is good for a laugh – if you you still have the ability to laugh at the absurd. Eh. It comes and goes.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. An Actual Plumber



    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Jack Mehoff

    Joe is right.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Frank

    Joe, my toilet is clogged. Could you come over and clean it out? It's clogged up with excess Sarah Palin.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Zack

    Since when does being an unlicensed plumber qualify for becoming a media correspondent? "Joe the Plumber" needs to crawl back underneath the sink that he was trying to fix. It is very irritating when people have no concept on what is really going on... I would qustion if "Joe the Plumber" even completed high school or a GED.. You know?

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. pk49

    Got news for you people.......journalism died before Joe came along!!

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. kellyb

    PJs are crazy if they are paying this guy to go write the obvious, that people are taking quick showers and not planning picnics near Gaza. Really. And we shouldn't have war correspondents? He doesn't sounds very balanced, let alone competent to be a journalist of any stripe – and he is an affront to all the journalists who risk their lives to accurately portray war, let alone to all the soldiers, civilians and others of every stripe who would be trees falling in the forest were it not for eyewitnesses to history.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Joe's a Moron

    Joe's a MORON!

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Jim

    Does anyone really care what his opinion is.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Tobin

    Go away already man.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Chris The Replier

    As Joe would have it: Journalists should not cover the war because they don't know the whole story. Joe should cover the war because he knows - based on apparently incomplete media reports and prior to doing any of his own reporting - that the media are slanting the coverage to favor Israel. How god-like of him.

    Joe Wurzelbacher, Professional Idiot.

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Justin

    So much hate from the all-inclusive Left

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Vincent Petrosino

    This proves that not everyone can be everything. It takes an education to be a real journalist and a real plumber. It takes experiences and knowledge. Joe has none of these. He does not realize he is a tool for pro-Israeli groups. He is already biased. If you have nothing to hide, then let the media in and let them do their work! Joe needs an education and needs to work as hard as journalists do. The GOP is desperate and this is very sad but also dangerous. It is sad to see some commentators here think that anyone can do anyone's job. Did it ever occur to him that this conflict has a long history and that both may be right and wrong?

    January 12, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. tallullah

    I think Joe the Plunger thinks if Sarah could get as far as she did, and he probably thinks he is smarter than she is, that he could become the next George W. Bush...well, he may have a point there.

    Take his advice – stop – you know...reporting on him!

    January 12, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. True Blue

    Is hypocrisy part of Joe's plattform?

    January 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Realistic

    There are 172 comments asking why CNN continues to cover this guy. I guess peole ARE interested in what he has to say.

    January 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. tee



    January 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Enoch

    We need more reporting on the war, but not by reporters. Average Americans should do more reporting so we can get less biased coverage.

    January 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Ray in IN

    Someone needs to hire Keith Olbermann to be a plumber for 10 days for satire against this attempt at conservative brain-numbing caca.

    January 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Evelyn, St Louis

    Why are we talking about this? We must be stupid, too.

    January 12, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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