Bob Owens defends Joe The Plumber:

I don’t know if he can craft a coherent sentence or conduct an revealing interview. And perhaps he’ll be an absolute disaster as a journalist, even as he’s created a PR explosion for PJTV.

Owens is surely right to express a healthy skepticism toward journalists who create some kind of priestly, professional caste for themselves and believe amateurs should be deterred. As an early passionate believer in citizen-journalism, I couldn't agree more with him. But what that really means is that we shouldn't pre-judge the work of amateurs. No one can condescend to Totten or Yon, for example, because their work speaks for itself and earned them their reputation. But that only reveals how farcical the JTP pick is. All that Wurzelbacher has earned is instant fame as a campaign tool. Owens concedes he has no way to judge his journalistic skills and sent him to the region on a whim and for p.r. And Wurzelbacher has already given his own view of what war-journalism should be about: propaganda for the government you support.

The whole thing is somewhere between a farce and a disgrace. It's also, in its way, a slap in the face to accomplished reporters like Yon and Totten who are actually interested in reaching the truth and have complicated views of the world. But in a party that gave us Palin instead of Pawlenty, why are we surprised to have Wurzelbacher big-footing Totten?

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