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The story of "Joe the Plumber" and how McCain and Obama view him, according to the media

Page history last edited by ccorro@... 11 years, 11 months ago

For each entry, include the following as the TITLE

1) the title of the news article (in quotation marks);

2) the author of the article if one is listed (Associated Press & Reuters count as authors);

3) where you read the story (eg: New York Times online), in italics;

4) The URL of the story if you read it online; the page number(s) if you read it in print;

5) the date the story was published (and if you read it on line, the time you consulted it).

At the end of the summary, write your name!

 

 

"McCain Says Obama Turned Heat on Joe the Plumber"

By Michael Cooper and Michael Powell

The New York Times online

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/us/politics/17webplumber.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=McCain%20Says%20Obama%20Turned%20Heat%20on%20Joe%20the%20Plumber&st=cse&oref=slogin

Published: 10/17/08

Date found: 10/20/08

Concerned with Obama’s tax plan, Joe Wurzlebacher asked Senator Obama if McCain’s tax plan is more favorable towards his own situation.  Joe is a plumber looking into buying his own plumbing business; however his ability to do so might be hurt by facing increased taxes under Obama’s plan.  Obama’s proposal involves increasing the taxes that many small businesses have to pay, while decreasing the taxes of lower income workers.  Asking Obama whether McCain’s tax plan is a better alternative for his personal situation provoked the media to dig up background information about Joe.  They found that Joe does not have a plumbing license and that he has not paid all his taxes in the past.  McCain backs Joe up by saying that Joe never asked the media to scoop up information on him, all he did was ask Senator Obama a question. Just like any concerned American citizen, Joe should be able to ask Obama a question without being penalized with the badmouthing of the media. Senator McCain argues that Obama supports a tax plan where the middle class will end up paying the people who cannot afford to pay taxes.  McCain is campaigning in Florida, a state he needs in order to win the election, while Obama campaigns in Virginia, a state that has not had a Democrat win since 1964. -Callie Corro     

The issue is whether the media is treating Joe the Plumber fairly.  The article also discusses Obama and McCain's tax plans and which would be better for people like Joe the Plumber.  This article seems to tell the situation without taking one side. The journalist seems to tell the story more than stick to defending one perspective.  The article basically is going through what each of the candidates are up to and both their points of view on the Joe the Plumber issue.  This story covers the subject fairly.    

 

"Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant"

By Larry Rohter

The New York Times online

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/us/politics/17joe.html?scp=1&sq=real%20deal%20on%20Joe%20the%20plumber&st=cse

Published: 10/16/08

Date found: 10/20/08

After challenging Obama’s tax plan, Joe Wurzelbacher went from being a regular worker in Ohio to the media’s next spotlight.   John McCain mentioned Joe’s concern at the debate, making Joe a nationally recognized figure.  The business manager of the Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, Thomas Joseph, confirmed that Joe lacks a plumber license which is mandatory to have when working as a plumber in Toledo and some other areas in Ohio.  Thomas also made it clear that Joe is not part of the plumber’s union, which endorsed Obama.  It is now brought to our attention that Joe’s real name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher and he owes taxes to the government.  Some believe the complaint Joe made on Obama’s tax plan may be inaccurate and that Joe’s business dream would not be affected with higher taxes to pay under Obama’s plan.  Wurzelbacher’s question became a big topic in the presidential debate.  Obama believes wealth should be “spread”, while Senator McCain’s view is that wealth needs to be “created”.  Wurzelbacher, who voted Republican in the primary, asked Obama this question with the intention of getting a straightforward answer but complained that instead he got a “tap dance”. - Callie Corro

The issue is whether the media should follow Joe the Plumber's ideas when his personal life reveals information that questions his reliability.  I think this article is leaning toward the Democrat side.  I think this because it mentions how Joe the Plumber lied about his name and the fact that he does not a have a plumber's license.  It is almost trying to make Joe the Plumber look bad, by pointing out his personal information.  It seems to go off topic and avoid Joe the Plumber's point for asking his question by referring to his personal information.  This story is being covered in a bias way by resorting to personal attacks against Joe the Plumber.         

 

"Joe the Plumber Leaves a Mark on the ‘08 Election"

By Bonney Kapp

Fox News Online

http://embeds.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/10/22/joe-the-plumber-leaves-a-mark-on-the-08-election/ 

Published: 10/22/08

Date found: 10/22/08

The conversation between Obama and Joe the Plumber has gained more attention than Obama had intended.  Obama believes the Republicans are desperate to finding things against him, so they are using that as their tactic.  He says that 95% of Americans will have a decrease in the amount of taxes they have to pay with his plan.  Obama thinks the only part of this issue they disagree on is how to assess the tax on the really wealthy Americans.  In the year 2000, Obama notes that McCain disagreed with the tax cuts Bush applied.  Obama recalls McCain saying that the tax cuts would not benefit the middle class.   Obama said that he has no issues with Joe and that he wants to give Joe the desired tax cuts.  Obama states that “He’s [McCain] not fighting for Joe to Plumber; he’s fighting for Joe the hedge fund manager.” –Callie Corro

The issue is if the Republican party is harping on and obsessing over the Joe the Plumber situation as a way to attack Obama's tax plan.  This article is basically following up on Obama's view on Joe the Plumber.  It is basically informing the reader about Obama's response to the Joe the Plumber issue that the Republican side keeps bringing up.  This article is biased towards the Democratic side by discussing Obama's point of view and leaving out McCain's argument.   

 

 

"McCain cast self as middle-class guardian"

By Glen Johnson

Associated Press (found through google news)

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iE2JCSH5p9r2GBkQWS9TWAMzmuvQD93TO3VG0

Published: 10/19/08

Date found: 10/22/08

Senator John McCain promotes himself as the candidate that will protect the important middle class workers from an inappropriate amount of taxes.  Joe the Plumber, who lives in the swing state Ohio, asked Obama whether his tax plan would prevent him from buying a two-man plumbing shop.  Some people believe Joe the Plumber would benefit more from Obama’s tax plan; however McCain points out Obama’s saying “spread the wealth around” and his proposal to increase income tax on  families or businesses that earn more than $250,000 in a year.  –Callie Corro

The issue is whether people who own or who are considering owning a small business will be hurt under Obama's tax plan and if Obama's saying "spread the wealth around" promotes socialism.  This article is basically following McCain's position and his view on issues including Joe the Plumber.  This article is biased towards the Republican side, since it leaves out Obama's response to McCain's ideas.    

 

 

 

"McCain, Obama dispute tax plan"

By: Associated Press

SouthCoastToday.com

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081023/NEWS/810230375/-1/NEWS10

Published: October 23, 2008

Date Found: October 25, 2008 

McCain was campaigning in Ohio on Wednesday October 22.  He emphasized his plan to have lower taxes while associating Obama’s plan with socialism.  Obama was campaigning in Virginia, normally a Republican state, but this year the poles seem to be tight in several former Republican states and Obama is challenging McCain by spending resources in several states that normally are Republican.  Obama used the phrase “spreading around opportunity” to assist people who do not have as much by taking more from those who have a lot.  Obama mentions that McCain had voted against Bush’s tax cut in 2000, asking if that would indicate McCain is a socialist.  McCain argues that despite Obama’s claim to propose lower taxes for 95% of workers, Obama’s plane will raise taxes on many small businesses and more generally the middles class.  McCain and his running mate Palin evoke the name of Joe the Plumber to illustrate their lower tax proposals.  They also use the phrase “Redneck Woman” as another catch phrase that Sarah Palin has caught on to use to associate their policies to the working class.  In another issue that has come up in the campaign is the comment by Joe Biden that Obama would be tested by an orchestrated crisis within six months of becoming president.  McCain has used that remark to support their argument that McCain is tested and experienced while Obama is not.  Obama tried recover from that comment by clarifying what Biden really meant.  Obama claims Biden meant any new president would have to overcome this type of challenge.   Obama also likes to respond to McCain’s reference to Joe the Plumber by saying that “He’s [McCain] not fighting for Joe the Plumber, He’s fighting for Joe the hedge fund manager.”- Callie Corro 

The issue is which party, McCain or Obama's, is going to help people like Joe the Plumber and the rest of America with their tax plans.  This article seems to tell the situation without taking a side and giving equal time to both sides.  This article is fair by informing both John McCain and Obama's position on Joe the Plumber by quoting them.     

 

“McCain: Joe the Plumber being slimed by critics”

By: The Associated Press

USA Today Online

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-10-25-mccain-reaction_N.htm

Published: October 26, 2008

Date Found: October 26, 2008

It is under investigation on who looked up Joe Wurzelbacher’s personal information.  It was determined that the information was found through the inappropriate use of a state computer.  McCain argues that this act shows that Americans cannot ask hard questions to politicians without being attacked.  However Americans have the right to ask any questions they may have to the candidates and should not fear attacks because of it.  Baker, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, denies any responsibility by Obama’s campaign and states that this matter should be thoroughly investigated.   While McCain himself did not lay blame on the Obama campaign, other McCain supporters such as Rudy Giuliani believe the information came from a source from the opposing campaign group.  Giuliani then continues “All Joe the Plumber did was ask a question, and that should not open American citizens to having – if this happened- their private records probed because of some kind of political retribution.” –Callie Corro

The issue is who looked up Joe the Plumber's personal information when all he did was ask a simple question and if this person was involved in Obama's campaign.  The article is biased toward the Republican side because it hints that Joe the Plumber's personal information might have come from someone in Obama's campaign.  Also the article ends with Giuliani's words, letting his statement be the last thing the readers will think about.     

 

 

My Paragaph of what I've seen so far and of bias

 

                When reviewing articles on Joe the Plumber and how both candidates have used his question to Obama, it becomes clear that both the candidates as well as the press like to refer to personalities rather than specifics.  McCain uses Joe the Plumber as a way to put a face that many Americans can appreciate and relate to.  Similarly Obama prefers to use phrases like Joe the Plumber and Joe the Hedge Fund Manager.  Both candidates use this as a way to explain their tax perspectives in ways the public can better appreciate and take an interest in.  The press also likes to write stories with Joe the Plumber in the headline, because they know their readers would be more likely to read that type of story than a dry story of tax rates. 

                Both candidates have received some benefit from the press coverage of the Joe the Plumber issue.  By writing many stories, Obama’s comment “spread the wealth” will be brought up in peoples’ minds whenever Joe the Plumber is mentioned.  This works in McCain’s advantage, because this phrase indicates a desire for government to redistribute income which is regarded as a European and Un-American.  On the other hand many of the articles spend more time discussing Joe’s background and personal information in order to present Joe as someone who is other than an innocent citizen asking a legitimate question.  Also, when the articles discuss tax policy, they tend to make the observation that Joe currently makes less than $250,000 and would therefore receive a bigger tax cut under Obama’s plan.  However, Joe’s actual question considered the hypothetical case that he buys a plumbing business that would earn him more than $250,000 a year.  Again the press prefers to discuss Joe’s personal circumstances than the point of Joe’s question.  In this respect the press coverage seems to favor Obama by focusing on Joe’s character and current earnings.     

 

 

Claim: This article is biased against Wurzelbacher/McCain.

Using  Article: "Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant"

By Larry Rohter

The New York Times online

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/us/politics/17joe.html?scp=1&sq=real%20deal%20on%20Joe%20the%20plumber&st=cse

Published: 10/16/08 

 

 

1. “Thomas Joseph, the business manager of Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics, based in Toledo, said Thursday that Mr. Wurzelbacher had never held a plumber’s license, which is required in Toledo and several surrounding municipalities.”

1.  Joe the Plumber never claimed he had a plumber’s license.  Besides this fact, this has nothing to do with Joe the Plumber‘s question.  This is going off topic and does not relate to the point Joe the Plumber was trying to make. 

 

 

2. “His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher.”

2.  His true name is also avoiding the point Wurzelbacher was trying to make.  His real name has nothing to do with the question he was asking.  It does not answer if his taxes would increase under Obama’s plan if he were to buy this 2 person plumbing business.

 

 

3. “And he owes back taxes, too, public records show.”

3.  The fact that he owes taxes proves there are people struggling to pay their taxes. 

 

 

 

 

4. “The premise of his complaint to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts. Contrary to what Mr. Wurzelbacher asserted and Mr. McCain echoed, neither his personal taxes nor those of the business where he works are likely to rise if Mr. Obama’s tax plan were to go into effect, they said.”

4.  This is suggesting Joe the Plumber does not buy the two person business.  These calculations deal with the money he is making currently.  His question involved the “American Dream” how his taxes would be affected if he were to buy and grow this business; however, this article refuses to follow his question.

5. “He added, ‘He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.’”

5.  It seems like the only reason why the author would conclude the article with this statement would be to imply that Joe the Plumber does not think highly of black people. 

 

 

 

Outline

 

Argument:  When researching the responses the two Presidential candidate’s had for Joe the Plumber’s tax policy question, only 2 out of 6 articles seemed to be fair, where as the rest seemed to have some sort of bias. 

Commission

1.     "Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant" By Larry Rohter

a.     “He added, ‘He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.’”

                                                        i.     Suggest Joe the plumber does not think highly of black people

2.     “McCain: Joe the Plumber being slimed by critics” By: The Associated Press

a.     Mentions McCain’s advisors and aides think that Obama’s campaign group had something to do with Joe the Plumber’s personal information leaking out to the media

b.     “If this is the way an Obama administration is going to conduct itself, the American people should know this” is quoted by New York’s former mayor Giuliani

                                                        i.     Suggests Obama’s campaign was responsible for the attack on Joe the Plumber

Omission           

1.     "Joe the Plumber Leaves a Mark on the ‘08 Election" By Bonney Kapp

a.     Only includes Obama’s perspective and omits McCains view

b.     Includes around 5 quotes by Obama and none of from McCain

c.     Article mentions under Obama’s plan 95% of Americans will have a decreased tax rate- does not mentions McCain’s tax plan

d.     Quotes Obama saying “He’s [McCain] not fighting for Joe the Plumber; he’s fighting for Joe the hedge fund manager”- includes this quote without including McCain’s view   

2.     McCain cast self as middle-class guardian" By Glen Johnson

a.     Shows McCain’s point of view and leaves out Obama’s

b.     Around 4 quotes said by McCain and none by Obama

c.     Uses Obama’s phrase “spread the wealth around” without informing his use of this phrase in context or what his intent was when he said this

Story Selection

1.     "Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant” By Larry Rohter

a.     Includes irrelevant information regarding Joe the Plumber’s question, included his personal information  

                                                        i.     Real Name Samuel J. Wurzelbacher

                                                      ii.     Did not own a plumber’s license

                                                     iii.     Did not belong to plumber union

                                                     iv.     Owes taxes

                                                      v.     Saying Joe the plumber would get a tax cut even though this is referring to if he does not buy the two person business that he specifically asked in his question to Obam

What is Not Biased

1.     "McCain Says Obama Turned Heat on Joe the Plumber" by The Associated Press

a.     First part of the article it discusses McCain and his views, then gets into Obama’s perspective after

                                                        i.     Discusses each candidate pretty equally.  Does not go into more detail or emphasize one side

                                                      ii.     First mentions McCain’s argument that Obama’s tax policies will increase for the middle class and be given to people who do not pay their taxes.  Then quotes Obama saying that he might not be against Bush, but he is against his policies.  This is putting arguments both candidates make about one another

                                                     iii.     Mentions where both candidates are campaigning- McCain is in Florida and Obama in Virginia

2.     "McCain, Obama dispute tax plan" by The Associated Press

a.     Mentions McCain’s tax plan, then right after Obama’s

b.     Discusses argument Obama makes about McCain being a socialist when he voted against Bush’s tax cuts, then article immediately puts McCain’s point of view that Obama’s taxes will hurt middle class

c.     Article goes back and forth between the two candidates positions

d.     Quotes both candidates-not just one

 

 

 

 

“Forecaster Blasts Gore on Global Warming” is biased.

 

Reasons:

 

 

Commission

“George’s documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ has helped fuel media attention on global warming.”

1.     Suggests that global warming may not be true and only this documentary is what brought attention to the theory.

 

 

Omission

Mentions “Gray believes a recent uptick in strong hurricanes is part of a multi-decade trend of alternating busy and slow periods related to ocean circulation patterns.  Contrary to mainstream thinking, Gray believes the ocean temperatures are going to drop in the next five to 10 years.”

1.     Mentions what Gary believes, but not what Gore or the theory of global warming supports

2.     Global warming has information that supports its theory, article leaves it out

 

 

Story Selection

Selects Gary to quote on his ideas on this issue

 

 

Outline on

  "Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant” By Larry Rohter

 

 

Commision

1.     He added, ‘He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.’”

a.     Suggest Joe the plumber does not think highly of black people

b.     Added no information to the paper

2.     included a discussion of the taxes of the business Joe the Plumber currently works for, however that was not his question

3.     included information on some Joe the Plumber’s debts that turned out to be improperly obtained by a state employee and were not “public records” as the author characterizes it

4.     In the article the author describes Joe the Plumber’s personal life in this quote “Just five days ago, Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, lived in anonymity in Holland, Ohio, a single father who, as he said on national television, worked all day and came home to fix dinner and help his son 13, with his homework.”

a.      The inserted phrase  about speaking on national television undermines   the impression of Joe as a regular citizen.

5.     “That encounter wound up on YouTube and led to appearances on the Fox News Channel, interviews with conservative bloggers and a New York Post editorial, all of whom seized on a small part Mr. Obama’s long reply.  ‘I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,’ Mr. Obama had said.”

a.      By referencing Fox News and the New York Post the author is suggesting the controversy is an unfair attempt by conservatives to criticize Obama.  

b.     Noting that it was only a short piece of a long response by Obama makes the suggestion that it was taken out of context

Omission

1.  Left out any reference or discussion of what the taxes would have been if Joe bought the business and grew the business

Story Selection

1.     Much of the article follows up with background information on Joe the Plumber which is irrelevant to his question for Obama or to Obama’s response

a.     Real Name Samuel J. Wurzelbacher

b.     Did not own a plumber’s license

c.     Did not belong to plumber union

d.     Owes taxes

e.     Saying Joe the plumber would get a tax cut even though this is referring to if he does not buy the two person business that he specifically asked in his question to Obama

 

 

Draft with only "Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant” By Larry Rohter supporting 

 

There are many ways articles can present their information that causes them to be biased.  Some of the main ways include commission, adding unnecessary information, omission, leaving out the other perspective, and story selection, choosing a story that is meant to support one position.  Articles that cover political discussions seem especially to be biased.  When researching the responses the two Presidential candidate’s had for Joe the Plumber’s tax policy question, only 2 out of 6 articles seemed to be fair, whereas the rest seemed to have some sort of bias.

The article “Real Deal on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant” by Larry Rohter was among the six articles that were biased. In the way of story selection, Rohter chooses to present background information of Joe the Plumber, however this is irrelevant to his question for Obama or to Obama’s response.  The article notes that Joe the Plumber’s real name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, it also mentions that he did not own a plumber’s license, that he did not belong to the plumber’s union, and that he owes taxes.  All of this personal information is beside the point and has nothing to do with the question he asked.  Including this into the article makes it appear that the author is trying to make Joe look bad.

Larry Rohter also uses many examples of commission.  When reviewing Joe the Plumber and his tax question to Obama, Larry added, “He was almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.”.  This quote suggests Joe the plumber does not think highly of black people and supplied no valuable information to the paper.  The article also incorporates a discussion of the taxes of the business Joe the Plumber currently works for, though that was not his question.  Joe the plumber asked if he would be paying more taxes under Obama’s tax plan, if he bought the plumbing business he currently works for and not under his current job.  Another piece of information the article includes that has little to do with Joe the Plumber’s question is the fact that Joe owes back taxes. That information actually turned out to be improperly obtained by a state employee and was not from “public records” as the author characterizes it.  In the article the author describes Joe the Plumber’s personal life in this quote “Just five days ago, Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, lived in anonymity in Holland, Ohio, a single father who, as he said on national television, worked all day and came home to fix dinner and help his son 13, with his homework.”   The inserted phrase about speaking on national television undermines the impression of Joe as a regular citizen.  Another quote from the article that seems biased is:

 That encounter wound up on YouTube and led to appearances on the Fox News Channel, interviews with conservative bloggers and a New York Post editorial, all of whom seized on a small part Mr. Obama’s long reply.  ‘I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,’ Mr. Obama had said.

By referencing Fox News and the New York Post the author is suggesting the controversy is an unfair attempt by conservatives to criticize Obama.  Even further, noting that it was only a short piece of a long response by Obama makes the suggestion that the “spread the wealth” phrase was unfairly taken out of context.  On the other aspect, the article uses omission when the author left out any reference or discussion of what the taxes would have been if Joe bought the business and grew the business.

 

 

Bias on a scale of 1-10 of article “Real on ‘Joe the Plumber’ Reveals New Slant” by Larry Rohter: 7.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

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