I found myself unloading a healthy dose of skepticism over the prospect of Joe Wurzelbacher taking on the role of Middle East war correspondent in my new column at Pajamas Media, “No-Joe. Wurzelbacher is not Edward R. Murrow.” I invite you to read and comment. For an opposing perspective, you are also encouraged to read the companion, contrasting piece by Bob Owens, “Pro-Joe: Plumber’s Trip to Israel Scares the Establishment Media.”
As a bit of background – and in my own defense – I was working under deadline on that column and finished it before Joe’s arrival in the Holy Land. He has since filed his first report (which you can view for yourself at Pajamas TV) and really caused a bit of a stir. Rather than starting off his next moment in the spotlight by focusing on the people of Israel, however, Joe decided to spend some of his time chastising the media.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” he told foreign reporters.
“You should be patriotic, protect your family and children, not report like you have been doing for the past two weeks since this war has started,” he said.
Amanda Terkel was quick to point out some instances of just what I predicted in my PJM column, to wit, a certain lack of concise communication skills on camera.
“I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think journalists should be anywhere allowed war.”
“You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you’d go to the theater and you’d see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for’em.”
(Ed. Note: Joe was around during World War Two? He looks great for his age!)
“Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to downer–and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers.”
“I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. 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.“
Joe still has another nine days in Israel to fulfill his mission. Will things take a turn for the better or will it result in little more than fodder for the late night comedy circuit? I leave that for our readers to decide. But in closing, I’ll commit the cardinal sin of blogging and stoop to quoting myself from my column linked above.
If we are to be truly honest with ourselves we must admit one thing: had Barack Obama taken ninety seconds longer to eat his waffle that morning, it might well be Pete the Pest Control Guy packing his bags for Damascus this week. And for all we know, Pete actually is the next Murrow, or would have been had his mother not kept him out of J-school in favor of a more honorable and honest profession.
You are invited to submit your favorite Joe the Plumber moments this week via comments or e-mail.