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(photo credit: AP)
Samuel Wurzelbacher of Ohio, aka Joe the Plumber, arrived in Sderot at noon Sunday to show local and foreign reporters how to do it right.
"You should be ashamed of yourself," he told foreign reporters.
"You should be patriotic, protect your family and children, not report like you have been doing for the past two weeks since this war has started," he said.
Wurzelbacher, the man who stole the limelight from Republican presidential candidate John McCain during the American election campaign, has found a new job - as a correspondent for the Internet Web sites PJTV and Pajamas Media.
Armed with a camera and a temporary Government Press Office card, he got a taste of reality in Sderot, visiting a house hit by a Kassam rocket two weeks ago and experiencing a "Code Red" alert first-hand. He also observed and reported from the house where a Kassam landed on Sunday afternoon.
The people of Sderot "can't do normal things day to day," like get soap in their eyes in the shower, for fear a rocket might come in, Wurzelbacher said. "I'm sure they're taking quick showers. I know I would."
He also wondered why Israel waited so long to act. "I know if I were a citizen here, I'd be damned upset." He described himself as a "peaceloving man," but added, "when someone hits me, I'm going to unload on the boy. And if the rest of the world doesn't understand that, then I'm sorry."
Wurzelbacher had already announced that he would arrive in the area for 10 days to cover Operation Cast Lead and to assist in getting out the Israeli side of the story.
"I want the average American Joes to understand the story here from the point of view of someone like them," he told WNWO, a TV channel in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, before heading here.
During the election campaign, Wurzelbacher (who supported McCain) warned Jewish voters in America that voting for President-elect Barack Obama would be a death blow to Israel, saying, "Obama has offered to sit down with the enemies of Israel."
But in Sderot, he seemed just as intent on teaching a thing or two to the media. "Do you think this is normal, the way you cover this conflict and give away information to your enemy?" he asked the journalists that gathered around him.
"It makes me sick to see the way you behave - you guys need to be protective of your homes, your children, your family."
"I am angry," he said, "and this is why I came here."
AP contributed to this report.