Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Brilliant Decision to Make "Joe the Plumber" a Correspondant for PJTV

I did my best to stay away from Pajamas Media and for a while, but once I heard that "Joe the Plumber" (Joe Wurzelbacher) was following up his trip to Israel with a trip to Washington D.C., I had no choice but to take a glance at the "news" organization that continued to think that this was a good idea.

Pajamas Television describes themselves as follows:

Pajamas Media (PJM) was established in 2004 and is a network of about 100 bloggers that covers news and issues of the day in a refreshingly thoughtful and civil way. Led by CEO Roger Simon, the network includes well known personalities such as the “Instapundit,” Glenn Reynolds (named one of the 10 most influential legal scholars in America by the Social Science Research Network), and well known TV commentator Michelle Malkin. About 1 million people visit the PJM network every week (about 3.5 million monthly), many of whom, are politically center-right, with maybe 40% declaring they are Democrats.

Pick a few videos from the PJTV website and you can clearly see that this website is offering conservative opinion and commentary. I looked for the results of the poll which indicated that "maybe 40%" of the visitors declared themselves Democrats, but as you might imagine...such a poll is not available. Regardless of political or ideological affiliation, it's the content that matters and any website that thinks making Joe The Plumber a correspondent is a good idea is bound to have some riveting footage.

Joe's first assignment for PJTV was to travel to Israel and report what was happening with Israel's "average Joe's". This assignment led to Joe's famous outburst where he declares "I don't think that journalists should be anywhere allowed war!"

Joe did later admit that he got a little emotional on that first day in Israel, but then settled down and asked some important questions. After Joe's stretch in Israel, his next assignment was to travel to Washington D.C. to speak to senators and ordinary Americans about the stimulus package. I won't bore you by posting all five of his "reports" here on my blog, but below is the most interesting one.

The entire validity and accuracy of this "news" organization can be summed up in the clip above. Joe's report begins with his description of attending briefings at The Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation, and Cato Institute. Joe describes these organizations as "bipartisan" or "neutral". This statement is either flat-out ignorance or a lie. Here the language from the Heritage Foundation's website regarding their mission:

To formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

Cato's mission:

The mission of the Cato Institute is to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace. The Institute will use the most effective means to originate, advocate, promote, and disseminate applicable policy proposals that create free, open, and civil societies in the United States and throughout the world.

and Club for Growth's mission:

Club for Growth is a national network of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. We work to promote public policies that promote economic growth primarily through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, training and educational activity. The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries.

So by the very descriptions found on each of the website of these organizations, they are conservative think-tanks. The Heritage Foundation even uses the word "conservative" in their mission statement. According to Joe The Plumber and PJTV however, these are "neutral" organizations filled with "real brainiacs" and wouldn't you know it...all three organizations advocate voting down the stimulus plan.

Fast forward to the disbelief expressed by both Joe and Roger Simon that Joe was not issued press credentials for interviews because PJTV is viewed as an organization that expresses opinions instead of "hard news". Wurzelbacher and Simon are baffled that they were not granted credentials, but NBC (who has Keith Olbermann) did get credentials. (Need I point out the obvious, that NBC is a well-established news organization?) Joe is "pretty upset" that NBC, who he says has had to retract countless stories, somehow manages to get access to interview Senators and he doesn't. Instead Joe is forced to catch Senator Lindsey Graham next to a subway to get his view on the stimulus package and to listen to Graham talk about why the Republican version of the bill is better. Joe mentions that everything that Graham said is true and that the Republican bill has no pork at all...Joe checked and he couldn't find any!

If you want to torture yourself any further you can check out more videos and "reports", but I think it is quite clear that PJTV offers nothing new or original to broaden the discussion on any of these issues.

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