Wednesday, January 14, 2009

JTP's Big Adventure

If you've been thinking to yourself, "Self, where can I find some really bad reporting. I mean bad. Horrible. Terrible. Bad reporting by someone completely unqualified who has nothing relevant to report. Where can I find that?", then you're in luck! Fortunately for you and your nagging ache for bad reporting, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Freaking Plumber, is reporting live this week from the Gaza Strip to give us a different perspective on the fighting between Israel and Hamas. (A different perspective would be defined as "half ass at best"). Wait. He's where? Doing what? Who again?

Correct. Joe the Freaking Plumber is reporting on Israel's side of the conflict in Gaza. Why, you ask? That's what I've been asking since I heard of this idiocy. Apparently some organization called Pajamas TV or just simply pjtv.com, which I have read described as "a conservative website" has brought Joe on board to bring them to viewpoint of the (wait for it) "average Joe" over there in Israel. Good Lord, we finally reached the bottom, haven't we?

Why on earth JTP would be considered, let alone qualified, to do something of that nature is beyond me. I could be wrong. He could be a wordsmith with a poetic way of summarizing the events that perplex so many of us (mainly because we either a) don't care or b) are tired of being the world's policeman). Or he could just be a big, bald dude who is riding this fifteen minutes of fame long and hard until it can't walk in the morning. And I really can't say that I blame the guy exactly. I'm sure he's being offered a fair sized pile of cash to do this gig. I guess I just wish that he would at least act like he knows that he's not exactly qualified to be an embedded reporter or an outbedded reporter, for that matter. If he would just stop acting like he is so G-D important to all of us, it would be a lot easier to take. Not much, but some.

Joe's first report came from a town in Southern Israel called Sderot (pronounce that how you will because without the proper amount of vowel-age, I'm lost.). How have these battles effected the people who live in Sderot? Well, according to JTP, they "...can't do normal things day to day, like get soap in their eyes in the shower, for fear a rocket might come in....I'm sure they're taking quick showers. I know I would." Oh. My. God. WTF is that? Did I pay to read that? No? Thank God.

Hey, Joe! Did it ever occur to you that the ol' shower might be foregone a bit during times of mortar shelling and what not? They can't get soap in their eyes? What the hell kind of a privilege is that? Are you still having a problem with that when you shower, JTP? Speaking for just myself as a technical "adult", I have managed to overcome the SIES (Soap-In-Eyes-Syndrome) since I was about 6. Somewhere along the line you just learn to (follow me here) close your eyes when you're rinsing off the soap and voila! No soap in the eyes! It's amazing! You can imagine my delight when I first realized that....at the age of six!!! ::::sigh::::: Shoot me. Now.

According to the pop-culture reporting of MSNBC.com, JTP explained how he fell into his latest role when "...pjtv enlisted him to cover Israel because he's "an expert on media bias."I was on the short end of the stick, like Israel is now." Yeah. You and Israel. You're exactly the same. I can see where they were coming from all right. Wait. WHAT?!

Joe's breathtaking display of man on the street, er, man on the strip reporting can be seen over at PJTV.com. But I've narrated the summary of his interviewing technique which steers clear of "media bias" and gets the opinion of the "average Joe". It's simply fascinating.

"I'm not going out of my way to make them dislike me. I'm just being myself." (Well, JTP, that might have something to do with their dislike, cowboy.)

The following is the account of JTP talking to a bunch of reporters. Yes, reporters. Now, he does have a guy standing next to him who JTP claims has a great story to tell. I don't know if he did or didn't have a great story to tell because it never got to that part. Instead, JTP spends his time harping at the other members of the media who are there. The media's responses to JTP are in the parentheses below and JTP's barking at them is not.

I'm not the story here. If you guys are going to do a good story, listen to what this guy's gotta say. Get it out for real. Don't slant it. Tell the facts. Tell the truth. Quite honestly, I'm not real happy with any of you guys. I'll be very blunt. Uh, what's this? More media? Hey, guys! You want a story? Come here! Who are you guys with?

(Reuters.)

Reuters? Huh. Reuters. How 'bout you guys?

(Channel Ten.)

Channel Ten? OK. You guys want a good story? Right? That's why you're here? One, I'm not the story. I'm just an average guy. The story here is people are being killed....And the media is slanting it and trying to make it, uh, you know uh, Hamas's, uh, as far as uh, Israel's being bad.

Do you believe Israel's bad? (It's not as bad this report, I'll tell you that.)

(Do I believe Israel's bad?)

Yeah! Do you?

(I'm Israeli, so... )

So answer the question! (Who does he think he is? Jack Bauer?)

(No, I don't think Israel is bad.)

What about you? Do you think Israel has every right to protect itself?

(Yeah.)

You do?

(Yeah.)

Have you said that on air?

(I'm just a reporter.)

You're just a reporter.

Uh, they're not real happy. (Can't say that I blame them.)
Does he know that, as a reporter, he doesn't just have to mingle amongst other reporters? Why is he chewing out the Reuters guys? He's right there in the Gaza Strip, surrounded by folks whose lives are affected every single day by this war and JTP spends his time interrogating the Israeli cameraman from Reuters. (I have no idea why JTP sounded so perplexed when the guy said he was with Reuters. "Huh. Reuters." Yep!! And....? Oh. No and. OK, then. How about you just yell at that cameraman a little bit? There ya go!)

And since Joe is giving his opinion on just about anything he thinks might be relevant, let's see what he has to say (as a reporter) about reporters covering the war over there on the Gaza Strip.

"I'll be honest with you. I don't think journalists should be anywhere allowed war (sic). I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what's happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I think it's asinine. 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 them. 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."

I'm SO confused. He's acting in the capacity of a journalist (I can't bring myself to actually call him a journalist) and he's stating that he believes that journalists should not be allowed anywhere near the war? Be-cause....why again? Wait. Because they make a big deal out of it? Well, yeah! It's a war. It's kind of a big deal. I don't know about you, but if I had mortar shells intermittently being fired into my neighborhood on occasion, that would quantify itself as a big deal to me. Actually, that would quantify itself as a big freaking fat deal to me! Rockets that kill people are a big deal, Joe. Deal with it. And what's with the World War I and II references? That's what you want us to go back to? Reporters in actual foxholes and black and white footage in movie theaters? Um, that sort of seems like a small step backwards to me, but you can try that if you'd like. Let us know how that works out for you.

Look, I don't consider myself to be a journalist. Good Lord, no. I consider myself to be plenty of things, but a journalist is not one of them. That being said, the world doesn't need any more commentators. (Now, that's my gig. And it's getting crowded in here.) The world needs reporters and journalists and it also needs the media. And it needs them to all be impartial and committed to reporting events truthfully and accurately and those facets of distributed information don't seem to be a requirement anymore. That's the problem, Joe. The problem is that people who are supposed to be reporting simply aren't. That doesn't mean that they all need to be banished away from all events that occur! Does that belief extend to everything out there that is reported on, Joe? Why are you there again? Aren't YOU supposed to be reporting? I have yet to hear you report on anything that is going on over there other than your incredible dislike for everything that isn't the way that you think it should be. John McCain might have been fond of your act, but I, most definitely, am not.

So he's over in Gaza, chewing out cameramen and proclaiming that "the media" shouldn't be allowed to "report". I see. Well, we've learned plenty here today, haven't we? We sure have! We've learned that if you milk your fifteen minutes of fame long enough, after a while you'll start to believe that you're really that important. And after that happens, then you'll start acting like you're really that important. So it's a good thing if you end up in Gaza and have to duck and run for cover to dodge incoming rockets because you're going to need that duck and cover maneuver when you get back to the US, but not because of incoming rockets.

Long live the reporting media!

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