January 12th, 2009
03:01 PM ET
12 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. r.d

    Go. Away.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Dani

    Why is Joe still even in the media limelight? I am so tired of hearing about him and I do not care about he feels about this terrible situation. Why should his opinion matter? I wish his 15 minutes would hurry up and run out.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Gideon

    Joe The Plumber is another Government LIE.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Rev. mkell

    Sounds like the guy who wrote the book about how bad the publishing
    companies are and was then shocked that no one would publish it.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Kelly

    What a terrible idea. Banning reporting on war....I never thought I would hear someone honestly submit that as a possibility. Upon thinking beyond his nose for more than 3 seconds, everyone can easily see the foolishness of this thought.
    Reporting in war is good because. 1. We at least see some of what is going on. There is never perfect reporting of any event, war or non-war
    2. Images from war help convey the true horror of war to people so they aren't so willing to go to war. Think about it, is it easier to trick a young man to go to war during ww1 or now? ww1 obviously where propaganda can be more effectively used
    3. Without reporting, there is less to answer for

    We should ask Joe for his expertise on quantum physics, cosmology, black hole physics, physiology, psychology, medicine too. He seems so versed in all subjects.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. NJ

    his two minutes of glory went to far.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Joe the Fake Plumber

    It is so sad that in our society, we regard stupidity. Case in point. Palin and Joe the plumber.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. RH

    What an idiot. I mean, he's absolutely right about the media slant in the Arabs' favour, but forbidding journalists from covering war?! This guy is a joke.

    January 12, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Mike Kelly

    Definition of news: This is not news. Whatever news is, this is what it is not.

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Steve

    There's a larger issue than Joe the Plumber's appalling stupidity, here. The reactionary, religious right keeps whining about not being taken seriously. The best they can do, apparently, are people like Joe the "wannabe" Plumber, who couldn't even hold a steady job before McCain "discovered" him, and Sarah Palin, who struggled in near-oblivion before the McCain campaign "discovered" her. This is the best you can do??? Well of course no one is going to take you seriously!

    Here's a hint. Find someone with a decent education, a basic understanding of world politics, a knowledge of geography, and put THEM up as the hood ornament of your political vehicle. You might get some respect. Until then? Prepare to be the continued butt of jokes you're setting yourself up for.

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. rob

    Sickening, just sickening. More sickening, Madoff is still free on bond. MONEY TALKS, the rich scumbags.

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Rula Lenska

    Joe, your 15 min. of fame are over.

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Darren

    Seriously, what a freakin joke.

    I hope Joe gets kidnapped by Hamas

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. SM

    OMG. Get him out of there before he gets someone killed. Remove the media? Then what "news" will we get out of a war zone? The manufactured, cleaned up version? We're already being "saved" from the sight of the corpses returning from Iraq–even their commander-in-chief doesn't welcome them home.
    And guess what...when Israel has killed 800 people, half of them civilians, and they have suffered what 10 deaths, they ARE the bad guys right now, and they are funded by the good old USA.

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Sherry

    You are all so hung up on Joe the Plumber that you are missing the point of all of this. His issue is about media bias in reporting & we should all be concerned about that. Of course his isnt really qualified to be a journalist, but the point about media bias is valid. It was clear during the presidential campaign that the media was biased in favor of Obama. It is their job to report facts & not opinions & Israel has been getting the short end in recent reporting.

    Did anyone ever stop to consider when looking at all of the suffering in Gaza, that "what did they expect when they elected a terrorist organization as their governing party"??

    Abbas was looking for peace. Hamas is looking for the destruction of Israel. Arent the Palestinians getting what they asked for??? They obviously wanted the destruction of Israel or they wouldnt have elected Hamas to govern. I guess it isnt working out the way they planned!!!!!

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Sea.gem

    Half the story wasn't there...he went on to say that reporting on troop movements and relaying information to the enemy is not good journalism...you may enjoy "hating him" but he is correct. This is not how war was reported in WWII...we were late getting there and were scoffed at by Europe for it...also Germany never attacked us either...quit worrying about palin and worry about what the next Pres. can or can not do...

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. chad in avery, ca.

    so hes against freedom of press and taxes.
    typical republicant.

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. Joe the Fake Plumber

    Really sad. In our society, we reward stupidity.

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Jeff the Flunky

    I read all the comments goofing on this guy, and I'm thinking to myself, "Are these a bunch of liberal whinners saying these things? What has this man said so far that isn't true?"

    Put yourself in the Israeli's position. If the country of Mexico or Canada were firing missles into American border towns, killing indescriminantly, would you still be standing up for those countries? Hell no. We'd be sending in the military to kick the crap out of them until they decided to stop firing missles into our country.

    Why is this so hard for people to accept? Because noncombatants are getting killed? The same noncombatants that voted in the Hamas government by an overwhelming margin? The same noncombatants that the Hamas fighters are hiding behind when Israeli forces attack?

    How the bloody hell did so many stupid people sneak in to the gene pool?

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Bobby, Albany Georgia

    Call Joe a moron if you like but the reality is if WWII had been covered the same way as present day media covers war, all of Europe would be speaking German and all the West would be speaking Japanese. We wouldn't have the stomach to do what had to be done to win that war.
    And, that's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    what is Wurzelbacher doing In Israel maybe just for a picture There is noting he can do but get hurt

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Pee4Poultice

    ...And HE'S a subject matter expert because...? Oh! he's been there a whole few hours!!!

    January 12, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. Dan

    What a fruitcake !

    January 12, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. Daniel

    Maybe Joe the Plumber should shut up. He has no legitimate claim to fame, and he's not even a reporter. You want to talk about a guy who doesn't know the back story half of the time, you're looking right at him. The man is just trying to take advantage of his wading fame by making annoying comments. If this is the hope for the GOP, I'm happy to be a democrat.

    January 12, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. Amy Allen

    I guess he's never heard of heard of Ernie Pyle.

    January 12, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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