In a move that would embarrass Jimmy Olson of the Daily Planet, Sam Wurzelbacher, AKA “Joe the Plumber,” has turned in his monkey wrench and butt-crackin’ toolbelt  to become a reporter in Israel, covering the fighting in Gaza. He is quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “I have thousands of questions but I can’t think of the right one.”

Coincidentally, I also have thousands of questions and I can actually summon up a few:

1. Where did you go to journalism school?
2. Were you on your high school newspaper or yearbook staff?
3. Did you know that the citizens of Israel are called “Israelis” and not the “Israel people?”

Of course, there is an agenda here. JoePlumb considers himself an expert on “media bias,” which in this case should be “media amusement” over his emergence as a political expert during the floundering McCain campaign. He was a mildly entertaining diversion in that context. Now, however, he fancies himself qualified to report on a conflict in the Middle East that goes back hundreds of years.

And Joe’s level of analysis? “Why hasn’t Israel acted sooner? I know if I were a citizen here, I’d be damned upset.”  According to the Post, although he described himself as a “peaceloving man,”  he went on to say, “when someone hits me, I’m going to unload on the boy. And if the rest of the world doesn’t understand that, then I’m sorry.” He goes on to say that journalists shouldn’t be allowed to be around war. He harkened back to the newsreels of WWI and WWII when people were “excited and happy” to see reporting of those battles.

So we should send plumbers instead of reporters to war zones? He compares modern journalism to largely manufactured morale-building propaganda and doesn’t see the difference?

I’m all for shameless self-promotion if there’s something of substance to promote. However, being a shill for a poorly run presidential campaign is hardly preparation for incisive reporting in a shooting war. Moreover, who would hire him as a reporter and who would treat his reporting as respectable journalism?

I’m sorry. I’ve tried to be even-handed and understanding, but the man is a moron. My prediction? He’ll be out of there by the end of January looking for his next gig. I believe Red Lobster is hiring.

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