Thursday, January 15, 2009

PLUMB CRAZY. The other day Joe The Plumber said, in so many words, that the media should not be allowed to cover wars, and was mocked for it. This calls for some first class spin. So The Plumber's handler, Roger L. Simon, reached out to JD Johannes, the normally reliable operative at Outside the Wire, who had expressed some annoyance at The Plumber's statement. "Evidently I've stirred a few things up," Johannes began his apology, and graciously updated his post.

Johannes says, "Roger gave me the back story," which was that The Plumber was mad, as any regular Joe would be if he were, like The Plumber, shipped off to Israel and put in proximity to people who made their living covering foreign wars. "An observer who is unfamiliar with the media battlespace would probably throw up his arms and say screw this, none of you should be here." You good people may not imagine you would react similarly when introduced to professionals in a field with which you were unfamiliar, but that just proves you're traitors. The Ole Perfesser pimps: "It seems that Joe’s remarks on war embeds were generally misunderstood," adding parenthetically, "Had said 'misreported' originally, but that wasn’t really right," a grudging acknowledgment that his client had been condemned out of his own mouth, and as if that had ever stopped the Perfesser before.

Later Simon and The Plumber made a YouTube for their many followers who can't read. The Plumber explained, "I came over here to talk to average Joes," and said that he was only talking about "the bad media, who seem to be agenda-driven," then explained who that was: "If you're gonna cover the war, cover it, don't sit there and just keep on talking 'the death toll, the death toll,' you know, 'Israel won't let us in there to cover it...'" So if you're one of those reporters who are interested in how many people died in a battle, or are inclined to let readers and viewers know that a country has blacked out your coverage, Joe isn't apologizing to you. "Let's hope you can be more objective than Reuters and AP when they publish those Hezbollah-doctored photos in the past," adds Simon, in case his auditors have forgotten why they were listening to a plumber talk about the war in Gaza. (The Ole Perfesser agrees: Rick Sanchez is arrogant!)

In case the pretense of reasonableness has not swayed some of the punters, Bill Whittle charges in with the shouters' edition. First he reiterates to the hometown crowd that The Plumber was not talking about two-fisted characters such as themselves: "I cannot imagine for an instant that Joe was referring to common citizens like J.D., Mike Yon, and Mike Totten who -- like me and like Joe himself for that matter -- are simply regular people called to try and fight back against the tide of bias and outright deception we see in the media." To underline the point, he catalogues the crimes of professional journalists. For instance, "TV crews don flak jackets and Kevlar helmets for a news segment, only to remove them the instant the cameras ceased rolling," in contrast to The Plumber, who as a regular-people foreign correspondent wears the same jeans-and-t-shirt costume with which he earlier presented himself as a regular-people political correspondent on TV shows during the last campaign. He's like Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp that way, only rightwing and without any actual talent.

Whittle's post is full of beauties, but this is my favorite and, I would suggest, the most emblematic:
Like Lincoln’s plain manner of speaking, Joe’s commentary is still unvarnished; it still “has the bark on” as the phrase was applied to Lincoln. And if anyone reading this immediately jumps to the conclusion that I am comparing Joe Wurzelbacher to Abraham Lincoln, you have a perfect example of the dynamic I am talking about.
It's hard to know what other conclusion one is meant to jump, walk, or sidle up to. If I told you, "Like St. Francis, I am kind to animals," you would be within your rights to say I was comparing myself with St. Francis. But with Whittle, we are outside the realm of simple logic. He knows placing The Plumber alongside The Railsplitter will make the necessary impression on his yahoo readership, and they will so dimly perceive the trick that's being worked on them that, when he follows by denying the trick and attributing all devious intent to his enemies, they'll join him in reviling them for it. That's the method behind this whole Joe The Plumber thing -- and, really, behind everything they do.

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