Joe the Journo, Man of Mysteries

Joe the Journo, Man of Mysteries

“Joe the Plumber” is pumping out Gaza “news” for Americans. Media outrage over this calculated insult to capital-J “Journalism” has eclipsed U.S. reporting about the hundreds of civilian deaths, thousands of casualties, and mass destruction in Gaza.

“Joe” is really named Samuel J. Wurzelbacher and his plumbing and journalism credentials are identical — he has none. Media professionals angered over Joe’s assignment characterize it as buffoonery and a stunt. Deeper thinkers point out that the mainstream media have only themselves to blame; they paved Joe’s way with tacky tabloid stunts like anchoring the evening news from combat zones.

We’ve spent a century swimming in pseudo-events, dramatized press releases cooked up to spoon-feed the media maw. We do not live in an “information economy” but an “attention economy.” The media have cut out the middlemen and gone into the carnival biz themselves. Now TV weathermen report from storm-drenched parking lots, the Today Show is hosted from Antarctica and Greenland, and has-been accidental celebrities go to Gaza instead of  Hollywood Squares.

“Joe the Journalist” was sent to Israel by Pajamas Media, a bloggateria owned by mystery writer Roger L. Simon, creator of wise-cracking, pot-smoking  LA private eye Moses Wine. Like author Simon, the fictional Wine is a Jewish-American born in the 1940s who never really knew a world without an Israeli state. Late-onset Republicanism is a frequent feature of male menopause in this demographic, often accompanied by an inability to differentiate between Jewish heritage, religion, and the interests of a particular Middle Eastern nation.

American detective stories grew out of  “proletarian fiction,” so it’s no surprise when Mr. Simon presents Journalism’s rejection of  “Joe” as an issue of social class. Journalism hasn’t changed much; it’s still a trade for competent high school graduates, but high schools today stink. J-schools provide remedial training for under-educated youth and employment for superannuated scribes. Okay; they do more. They teach cute kids to look even cuter on camera, too.

The alleged social class issue is a smokescreen. Mr. Wurzelbacher is just an uninformed, unskilled opportunist. Surely no one can think Mr. W. serves the interests of  either truth or his country with statements like:

Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to down soldiers-our American soldiers, our Israeli soldiers.

This cartoonish cardboard “Joe the Journo” character, with his awkward dialog and obious plotting, is a disappointment for fans of Roger L. Simon’s earlier fiction. Mr. Simon’s new work, said to be his first nonfiction book, a memoir, may explain the Dartmouth grad’s resentment of higher education and his late-life political conversion. What it cannot do is excuse  his petulant poisoning of the Gaza conflict.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


One Response to “Joe the Journo, Man of Mysteries”

  1. Did Joe the Plumber Kill Pajamas Media? « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] Another mystery: is the PJM Bloggers Network really a victim of financial crisis and Web 2.0 evolution? Maybe it’s just another Gaza battle casualty, collateral damage inflicted by the cost of sending Joe Wurzelbacher to war as PJM’s media scold. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: