Joe the Whiner
Look, the media doesn’t pay enough attention to Samuel Wurzelbacher. The key scene in Wurzelbacher’s latest episode of “Just Joe,” the Pajamas TV web show comes when he’s talking to a small group of reporters in the Capitol. Why aren’t there more reporters in the room? What is it they’re so busy covering?
That’s the key scene, but what struck me was Wurzelbacher’s whiny recollection of what happened after he made a highly publicized visit to Republican Senate staffers, in which he gave them political advice.
I went further into the Capitol building. I wanted to ask some senators some questions as well. And I was told I needed some credentials. So I went to the office to get the credentials and unfortunately I was explained to that (sic) right now PJTV.com is considered more opinionated than hard news. And that kind of put me off. I was surprised about that.
This news disturbs host Roger L. Simon, the Bernie Madoff of internet video. “We heard the same thing, funnily enough!” He reads a letter from the Senate Press Gallery explaining why PJTV wasn’t given media credentials because it’s an opinion site, not a news site. “Well, Joe, there you have it! You’re too opinionated! Ironically, it was the NBC news crew who shot you in the press office being denied access. The network of Keith Olbermann has press credentials, and you don’t!”
If Simon wants to prove that “citizen journalists” deserve the same access as NBC News, he could start by explaining how the credentials process works. I’ve been through this. For two and a half years I worked for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication (which turns 41-years-old this year) owned by the Reason Foundation. Because of that, we were not allowed to get regular press credentials. This is a trap that small political magazines (and Websites) fall into. For-profit news organizations are allowed to apply for the credentials, and individual reporters can apply for long-term passes that are only available on a case-by-case basis.
I didn’t love this situation. I dealt with it, because if I called up any congressional office with an interview request, I could get credentialed for the day and roam around. That’s all any reporter needs, especially if that reporter, like Wurzelbacher, is on the Hill for one or two days to do some quick interviews. That’s what Keith Olbermann would do if he was on the Hill to talk to senators, as he’s the opinionated host of his own show, and not a daily Hill reporter. Either Simon and Wurzelbacher are scamming their viewers (can we use the plural?) by telling them the credentialing process is biased, or they really don’t understand the process.