One can picture Queen Victoria huffily declaring, "We are not amused," when reading this Margaret Carlson column about Joe the Barber in Bloomberg. Carlson appears to be upset that a "mere" plumber is steering the campaign away from the direction she wants it to follow (emphasis mine):
The most dispiriting thing to come out of the debate was the morning after. I woke to see Joe Wurzelbacher's street in Holland, Ohio, lit up like Times Square with network and cable satellite trucks clogging the place.
I thought the press was beyond 23 mentions of Joe the Plumber by one candidate and three by the other, while Asian markets were dropping 10 percent and the Dow has been diving.
Unless he starts making courtesy calls to fix the running toilets of the journalists making him famous, let's relegate Joe the Plumber back to the playroom with Bob the Builder or the 15- minute hall of fame with Harry and Louise and Ross Perot's crazy aunt in the attic.
Embarrass Obama, and expect the liberal media to go after you, no matter who you are: That's what National Review journalist Byron York warned early Thursday afternoon.
He was quickly proven right by a story from reporter Larry Rohter in Friday's New York Times, "Real Deal On Plumber Reveals New Slant," in which Rohter took a wrench to Joe Wurzelbacher (aka "Joe the Plumber"), the citizen who dared to question Obama on his tax plan as the Democrat campaigned in his neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio. Obama responded with a classic paleo-liberal cliche: "I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
That insight into Obama's mindset was politically fascinating, but Rohter buried it in the 11th paragraph of his story, focusing his investigation on such vital matters as "Joe's" actual first name (Samuel) and whether or not he has a plumber's license.
After smearing Joe the Plumber on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith turned to a group of his own hand selected ‘average Joes’ to defend Barack Obama’s tax plan: "I'll tell you, we have assembled a panel of 'average Joes.' Joe the plumber, the most famous person in America now. Well, we have five Joes here this morning, from various walks of life, and we're going to put their incomes to the test against the candidates' tax plans and see how it will affect them all." Financial analyst Jennifer Openshaw then proceeded to examine the personal financial situations of each "Joe" and concluded that four of them would save more money under Obama’s tax plan as promoted by his campaign.
Smith did acknowledge these projections were hypothetical: "...according to the Obama tax plan, and this, of course, is subject to passed by Congress...Talk about a pie in the sky." However, he then continued to assume it would be implemented and focused on the first guest, asking Openshaw: "He would do much better with Obama plan?" Openshaw replied: "You bet, he would do a lot better. But under McCain, what's interesting is, you know, he's got that $2,500 health care tax credit...for coverage, you know, you might not be able to cover both you and your son if you have to go find coverage someplace. So that's something to watch out for."
Continuing the mainstream media's dogged pursuit of the truth, Thursday's "Nightline" breathlessly asserted that Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher isn't really named Joe. In a segment on the Ohio man who quizzed Senator Barack Obama about his tax plan, co-anchor Martin Bashir derided, "But his name's not Joe and he's not a registered plumber. And those are only half his problems."
Of course, his middle name is Joseph. Continuing to harp on this subject, reporter Jake Tapper alerted, "And it turns out Joe the plumber is not even technically named Joe...His name is Sam, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher." Now, although it took the media almost a year to report on Jeremiah Wright, Obama's radical preacher, Bashir announced that in the case of Wurzelbacher, "It wasn't long before the media pounced. But with the spotlight has come some scrutiny." Before launching into an investigation of Joe the plumber, Tapper chided, "The McCain campaign did not necessarily vet Joe, it seems." (Do voters need to be vetted before they're allowed to ask Obama a question?)
On Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360 program, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen followed the liberal talking points about how Joe the Plumber’s real first name is Samuel and how he doesn’t have a plumbing license. When host Anderson Cooper asked if John McCain benefitted from the attention on the Ohio laborer, Gergen replied, "Well, I think he was for a while. But I -- when we found out he was Sam the non-plumber, it changed a little bit." Gergen went on to treat Joe Wurzelbacher, who works with plumbing, as if he worked as a McCain campaign surrogate: "...I don't understand why the McCain team didn't vet the guy before they made such a -- you know, made such a focus on him on national television. I can guarantee you that the George W. Bush campaign, you know, which ran a highly disciplined campaign, would have vetted and would have known before he went out there about... his personal status."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Friday strongly challenged "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer about the media's lack of fairness towards the McCain/Palin presidential ticket. The exchange came after the ABC journalist followed up on negative Gingrich remarks about the Obama tax plan by asserting, "for fairness," Obama talking points on middle class tax cuts.
An irritated Gingrich refused to allow Sawyer to move on to another topic and retorted, "No, wait a second. I don't notice very often, reporters, for fairness, pointing out what Governor Palin said or pointing out what Senator McCain said." The GMA anchor, slightly taken aback, defended, "And let me just say, I do point out what Senator McCain says, Mr. Speaker. You know I do." [audio excerpt available here]
And yet, just a few minutes earlier, during a different segment, Sawyer seemed to prove Gingrich's point that the media often recite the left's talking points and attacks. She launched into an update on Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher, which was really a series of gratuitous attacks on the Ohio man who famously challenged Obama over his tax plan. She derided, "It turns out, even though he was arguing about taxes for plumbers who end up making $250,000 a year, it turns out that he doesn't have a plumbing license, though the company he works for does."
Liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz stormed out of a "Fox & Friends" debate Friday morning with conservative talk radio host Steve Malzberg that involved Barack Obama's tax plan and the now famous Joe the Plumber.
After discussing the state of the current presidential campaign, the issue of Joe Wurzelbacher -- the Ohio man who recently challenged Obama over how the candidate's tax plan would negatively impact him if he bought into a plumbing business he was looking at -- surfaced.
Malzberg was first up, and claimed that Obama's plan "takes the incentive out of America; that's Marxism, my friend. Marxism."
After a loud guffaw, Schultz responded (video embedded right):
With 15minutesoffame comes 15 hours of “gotcha” scrutiny -- especially if you’re a voter who has daredto criticize Barack Obama, the liberal media’s Chosen One for president.
Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher has had his 15 minutes of fame, capping it off with an unplanned appearance as the poster boy of populist tax policy in last night’s presidential debate. So now it’s time for the press to turn its sights on him not as a human-interest story but as an investigative subject.
Jonathan Martin of The Politico was among the first out of the gate, with blog posts noting that Wurzelbacher, affectionately known by most of America as “Joe The Plumber,” has a tax lien against him and doesn’t have a plumber’s license. Martin conveniently forgot to mention that the law doesn’t require one.) Bloomberg also has a story on the tax lien, and AP and The Washington Post did their part to make a story out of the “unlicensed” non-story.
Joe the Plumber, the ordinary guy who audaciously asked Obama a question about taxes, is caught in the fierce spotlight of media disapproval.
The New York Times Politics Blog "The Caucus" shined a bright, interrogation light into the background of Samuel J.Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber) on Oct. 16.
The post by Larry Rohter and Liz Robbins rushed to point out that Joe "is not a licensed plumber." Armed with the statement from Local 50 plumber's union, Rohter and Robbins attacked Joe for "playing games with the world."
But the bloggers were playing games by burying one easy explanation for that fact.
"Unlike some other states, Ohio does not have a formal statewide licensing system for plumbers. But the city of Toledo and other municipalities do," the blog post said 10 paragraphs later.
The Times bloggers also dismissed Joe's question about Obama's tax plan saying, "The premise of his question to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts."
Wurzelbacher has become the focal point of the presidential election because of his objections to Obama's plan to boost taxes on people who earn more than $250,000. Ironically, the plumber currently has an income level that would make him eligible for Obama's proposed tax cut rather than the tax increase.
But that doesn't address what impact Obama's tax hikes might have on Wurzelbacher's boss and how new taxes might adversely impact the plumbing company's payroll under an Obama administration.
After noting that Wurzelbacher admitted the company he's hoping to buy doesn't cross the quarter-million threshold, Ibanga seemed perplexed at his anger at the notion of taxing "rich" people for their success: