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. William, from Cali!

    I'm with you on this one...Joe! 100%

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Shon

    Joe the plumber and Sarah the Palin need to keep quiet for a while, a long while.

    Neither seems too bright and whenever they talk they prove it.

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Jam Master Mike

    I think that the point that is being missed here is that you can tell a professional journalism vs. a hack. All he is full of is biased opinion that has no substance..

    What we all should take a way is being able to tell what a good and true story with facts from both sides vs. his story about his anger issues and single sidedness...

    Another issue is that he is a "journalist" and getting angry that missiles are coming his way, sorry buddy, but no, they are meant for Isreal, not you....

    This is how people will see us around the world, as ignorant and uneducated americans.... giving the rest of us bad names...

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Jim Q.

    you know he's right, we shouldn't allow the media to report on war. we should just do whatever the government says and take their account of things as golden. they've never lied to us about war. they've never gotten us into useless wars. they don't owe us anything - it's not like we're a government of the people or they're using our tax dollars or our warriors or anything like that.

    we don't need to know anything. we should just be good little sheep.

    joe the plumber for president in 1984!

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. sukkee

    Umm... that's all about the conservatives that keep picking up the boneheaded plumber or bimbo for VP.
    As an independant, I couldn't see any future for a bunch of morons, aka conservatives for a while. What a dumb luck for Obama!

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Kyle

    So he said the media shouldn't cover the war, while he is there to do precisely that.

    The mind boggles. Well, with that guy, not really.

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. oh dear

    Every argument he makes could be made for the Palestinian side and have it make more sense. You want to see people who live in fear? Try the citizens of the Gaza who have seen over 800 deaths, over 350 of those being women and children, all because extremists they have no affiliation with apart from nationality are commencing rocket attacks. 828 deaths to 13 deaths. Yeah, I'd say Israel is being pretty fair about this.

    As for the media slanting the story to the Palestinian side, ohhhh I just love that. Our government and our media have always blindly supported Israel in every move it makes, and this conflict has been no different. You have to dig pretty deep to find any major news outlet that cares to report the numbers of Palestinian casualties as well as Israelis. Although I must say I'm impressed, because this means it's possible Joe the plumber has seen a news report that isn't from FOX.

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Comradio

    Ban the media? Did he just say that? Much less on a media trip that he's going there to cover in his own admittedly biased way?
    BAN THE MEDIA? What you want Joe, is an unquestioning public that has no option but to go along with your war-mongering ideals. If the public can't see it without going against your side, 9 times out of 10, you're wrong.
    We know war is hell. We know the media can't get it all right. We know your ideas are dangerous and badly BADLY ill-informed.

    January 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. sammieb51

    I used to think Ohio was a pretty good place to visit and always heard that Alaska was really a great place to visit. This election cycle I lost interest in those places, especially Alaska. Now if Joe moved to Alaska .... BTW, anyone think it extremely odd this guy uses two different names? Makes you wonder if he votes twice or something. Hiding from creditors? Alimony behind?

    January 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Serendipity

    lol...This is the funniest and saddest thing I have read. Funniest because, what makes Joe the Plumber an "expert" on international relations. Saddest because, CNN is a waste for posting stories from "Joe the Plumber" – when we have real stories to report.!!!!!!!! Nice to see my tax dollars are going in the right use!!!!! NOT!!

    January 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Joyce Becker

    Dear Joe,
    Of course the media should cover wars to let the people know how how horrible they are and maybe they would concentrate on peace instead. If that is what you think why are you there in the first place, who cares what kind of showers the people are taking. Do you think you were sent there to repair the plumbing. Joe, go home, get your license and go to work, that is where you are needed most.
    A New Yorker who needs a good plumber.

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

    Why does anyone care about what this phony idiot thinks?!

    I'm sick of him and Palin!!!

    Hello media – forget about him already!!

    January 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Go away!

    So he wants to ban the media....yet he's there as a part of the media????? Just another shining example of why the GOP failed.

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

    I agree: the US would have lost WWII if reporters were allowed everywhere. If reporters want to report on a guerilla-style war, they shouldn't complain if they're shot at.

    January 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. John - Toronto

    "Does Joe not know? The First Amendment gives the press the right to be there. "

    Just to clarify, the American Constitution does not apply in other sovereign countries, including those in the Middle East.

    January 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. yellowbmblbee, Boston

    one word......SOCIOPATH!!!!

    January 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. SJW

    Maybe he can be a plumber over there

    January 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. The Big NB

    Oh god please help us all! Seriously, go away Joe! Nobody cares! I for one need not see this man ever again.

    January 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Brenda

    OMG – first off, this guy is an idiot. "Ban the media" – he IS the media! And what horrible hardships he's describing – quick showers and no picnics? Hey – the hot water at our house runs out quickly when everyone is showering – so you better believe I take a quick shower. But I'm in peaceful Fort Worth Texas! The media doesn't know the whole story – so his solution is to not give them ANY story. Seriously, this man's a doofus.

    January 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Kim

    Seriously, this is the problem with our media. This guy had his 15 minutes of fame, and we are still reading about him. Who really cares what Joe the Plumber is doing!

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

    Are you kidding me with this loser? Not only is he dead wrong on not allowing media to cover world events like war and conflict, but he's a hypocrite because he's engaged in a reporting piece on the war for a media group while telling others they shouldn't.

    So to him, he wants to live in a country where we don't pay taxes and are not informed about events that our own troops are involved in.

    Why aren't we rid of this idiot yet?

    January 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. Costa

    I can't believe CNN and other media outlets are covering this BS. He is so irrelevant and so out of touch with reality and yet he is still given an outlet.

    January 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Poor Levi

    We should get rid of all reporting, including the Weather Channel. Christina Abernathy is a communist sympathizer.

    January 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Pete

    I see his 5 minutes have been extended.

    January 12, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Dave

    So, Republican Party, still wondering where you went wrong?

    January 12, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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