Exclusive w/Joe (“the Plumber”) Wurzelbacher: Waiting for Apology from Megyn Kelly
Joe Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, has a few choice words for “America’s Sweetheart”, Megyn Kelly. It all started when Politico’s Roger Simon published a blog entitled, “Government Shutdown Unleashes Racism”. Simon based his article on a piece that was supposedly written by Joe called,“ America Needs a White Republican President”. The only problem? Joe did not write the piece; he only posted the aggregated version on his website. The real author is Kevin Jackson of The Black Sphere who, by the way, just happens to be black. Kevin provided a satirical and relevant look at how the policies of President Obama have been a disaster for Black Americans.
Megyn Kelly, showing her journalist chops (or lack thereof) repeated the inflammatory accusations of racism against Joe on her new prime time show, apparently forgetting the first rule of Journalism 101: verify and vet your sources.
LG: What happened, in your opinion, that caused you to be vilified as a racist for posting an op-ed piece written by someone else on your website?
Joe: We know that media uses these kind of tricks trying to shut people up. A lot of people do this; they stir the pot and then run to the press with it-without checking their sources.
LG: Were you surprised, in light of your appearances with Megyn Kelly on Fox, that she repeated the Politico article without verifying it?
Joe: Oh, certainly. I’ve watched Megyn Kelly in the past, and have disagreed with her on some issues. However, she always seemed well thought out in her opinions. When she quoted someone like Roger Simon from Politico it took me back for a second.
LG: Why do you think that is? Is it possible that this was a publicity stunt to stir up controversy, improve ratings, or to appear more moderate?
Joe: I think Fox is making very thoughtful moves-they are protecting the image of “America’s sweetheart”. Do I feel singled out on this? To a degree, yes. Was this something that she blatantly did? I don’t think so. I’ve had good exchanges with her in the past and she always seemed to be supportive. We would be out there working on behalf of the American people trying to get our voices heard-but, I also think Fox does not want to apologize.
LG: Have you received any response or apology from Roger Simon?
Joe: He did make a correction on October 17th, at the bottom of the original article, where he claimed his mistake in misidentifying me as the author as a “glitch”. (laughter)
LG: What about this incident has been the most troubling to you?
Joe: Actually, what really upsets me about this whole thing is that the argument that Kevin put forth is right on the money. If you sit there and critique Barrack Obama it’s not because of his policies but is strictly based on skin color. That was the point that Kevin Jackson was making. Tying the title of the article-he made references to President Reagan and how Blacks prospered more underneath his economic policies-hence, the name of the title. Far from being a racist comment-it was all tied back, which proves the point that Kevin Jackson was making-as soon as you criticize Barrack Obama-you’re a racist. Here I am, Joe the Plumber, being called a racist by Huffington Post, Politico, and even Kelly’s File. That’s what we should be talking about, that’s what we need to get out there is that his [Obama] policies are bad for America-I don’t give a damn what color he is-it’s wrong.
LG: I’ve assumed you’ve discussed this with Kevin. What was his reaction?
Joe: We’ve laughed about it-everyone out there has proved his point in the article. Kevin and I did a tour a couple of years ago fighting racism. He and I are some of the few conservatives who will not back down with people talking about racism. What happens most of the time when someone is accused of racism, the only thing they have to come back with is, “Well, I have black friends”. I don’t play that game. They are using racism as a tool. Is there racism in the country? Absolutely. Are they using it to their own purposes? Absolutely.
LG: How does it feel to be called “racist” after speaking out and working against the scourge of prejudice?
Joe: Look, I grew up in Louisiana and went to a pretty much all black school in the early 80’s. We fought, as boys do, but it was never about race. Surprisingly, it was when we moved to Ohio that I experienced the most racism. A guy that wanted to be friends with me said, “Yeah, we can really use you, the blacks up here are really uppity.” I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “I mean, you’re from Louisiana-you have the KKK and all that stuff.” He had this perception that because I was from the South that I must be racist. I sat there and looked at him and said, “Man, I don’t judge anyone except by their character. That was my freshman year. It just amazed me-all the pre-conceived notions and misconceptions about the North and the South. It always bothered me. That’s why I can’t stand racism. There are so many great men and women out there of all colors and race that to patronize them makes you look like a moron.
LG: Have you contacted Fox for a retraction?
Joe: The fact that, even after three or four days, I still haven’t received a response from Fox News or Megyn Kelly’s producers who I have personally emailed in an attempt to have them correct this. I have given them the opportunity to make good on this and I still haven’t gotten an acknowledgement from them-that concerns me.