Media Obsessed with Discrediting 'Joe the Plumber'

     Call this a concerted effort by the media to assassinate the character of an ordinary guy for calling out a liberal politician for wanting to raise taxes.

      Journalists covering Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, Ill., haven’t asked tough questions about his tax proposals – specifically who will see their taxes increase, decrease or stay the same.

    So “Joe the Plumber” did it for them. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, known as “Joe the Plumber,” was mentioned many times during the Oct. 15 presidential debate because he confronted Obama on taxes while the candidate was canvassing neighborhoods in Toledo, Ohio on Oct. 12. But instead of scrutinizing Obama’s tax plan, the media set their sights on Wurzelbacher.

    “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Wurzelbacher asked, concerned that if he were to expand his plumbing business and it earned more than $250,000 annually, he would get soaked by Obama’s tax policies.

     “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance for success too,” Obama replied. “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody ... I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

     After GOP candidate Sen. John McCain used “Joe the Plumber” in the presidential debate, the media went out of the way to discredit him.

     The Associated Press  took on Wurzelbacher for not having a plumber’s license. “But the county Wurzelbacher and his employer live in, Lucas County, requires plumbers to have licenses,” John Seewer wrote for the AP on Oct. 16. “Neither Wurzelbacher nor his employer are licensed there, said Cheryl Schimming of Lucas County Building Regulations, which handles plumber licenses in parts of the county outside Toledo.”

     The New York Times took a different approach with their inquiry to find the same conclusion. They went to a favorite liberal haunt – a union hall.

     “An official at Local 50 of the plumber’s union, based in Toledo, said Mr. Wurzelbacher does not hold a license,” Larry Rohter and Liz Robbins wrote for the Times “The Caucus” blog. “He also has never served an apprenticeship and does not belong to the union. (The national plumber’s union, the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and ServiceMechanics, endorsed Mr. Obama, it should be noted.)”

     “‘He’s basically playing games with the world,’ Thomas Joseph, the local’s business manager, said in a telephone interview to the Times.”

     Wurzelbacher told the AP he didn’t need a license because the company he is contracted by has a license. But Bloomberg took it a step further looking into the tax records of “Joe the Plumber” – all this because he questioned Obama about taxes.

     “‘Joe the plumber,’ the Toledo, Ohio, man whose complaints about Barack Obama’s tax plan were featured in the final presidential debate, owes the state of Ohio almost $1,200 in back income taxes,” Ryan Donmoyer wrote on Oct. 16 for Bloomberg. “According to records on file with the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, the state filed a tax lien against Samuel J. Wurzelbacher for $1,182.98 on Jan. 26, 2007, that is still active.”

     The Toledo Blade, Wurzelbacher’s local newspaper asked if he was even legally eligible to vote.

    “Questions were raised Thursday morning whether Mr. Wurzelbacher is a registered voter,” Larry Vellequette and Tom Troy wrote in the Oct. 16 Toledo Blade. “Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said a Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher, whose address and age match Joe the Plumber’s, registered in Lucas County on Sept. 10, 1992. He voted in his first primary on March 4 of this year, registering as a Republican.”

     Still, in interviews following his rise to stardom, Wurzelbacher stuck to his guns and called Obama’s response about higher taxation “socialist.”

     “That’s a pretty socialist comment,” Wurzelbacher said. “Two-fifty ($250,000) is his number now. When is it going to be one-fifty ($150,000)? When it’s going to be one hundred ($100,000)?”