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Devil or Angel, Whichever You Are

Shannon K. Walsh wrote on The Real Mike Rowe Facebook page, ” Mike – How could you associate with such a horrible and psychotic person that is Glen Beck? I wouldn’t accept a dime off that hateful, naMike Maher Becksty racist. Very disappointed to see this post.”

Well, hi there, Shannon – and a pleasant good morning to you too!

If you want a detailed answer to your question, please take a moment to read my earlier reply to Bob Reidel, another crestfallen soul who couldn’t reconcile my association with a TV host that he personally despised. As you read it (out loud, if possible, and in a public place), kindly replace the words “Bob Reidel” with “Shannon K. Walsh,” and “Bill Maher” with “Glenn Beck.” But prepare yourself – you might be forced to conclude that my true objective here has little to do with winning or losing your approval.

As for your personal characterization of Glenn Beck, I can only assume you have information not available to me. In my time with him, I saw nothing “horrible, psychotic, hateful, or nasty.” I smelled no burning sulfur, no smoldering brimstone, and saw no sign of cloven hooves.

To the contrary, I found a very passionate guy who employs about 300 people, works his butt off, and puts his money where his mouth is. Do we agree on everything? Of course not. Am I “disappointed” by that fact? Not at all. The real question, Shannon, is … why are you?

To be clear, I’m not here to tell you what to think or whom to hate. Like everyone else, you’re free to pick your devils, choose your angels, and attach the horns and halos accordingly.

But the guts of your question – even without all the name-calling and acrimony – reveal the essence of what’s broken in our country. You want to know “how I can associate” with someone you don’t like? The short answer is, how can I not? How are we ever going to accomplish anything in this incredibly divisive time if we associate only with people that we don’t disagree with?


PS. Not only did Glenn hand me a check for $25,000 made out to the mikeroweWORKS scholarship fund, he invited me to shoot a few PSAs on his set and offered to air them on his network for free. You know how many other networks have offered to do that? Not one. In addition, his viewers have purchased hundreds and hundreds of Work Smart AND Hard posters. I’m already getting photos of them hanging in high schools across the country. Glenn also signed one, and took some artistic license on my face. Which made me laugh. We’ll auction that off on a future episode of C.R.A.P., and my guess is we’ll raise a pretty penny.

PPS. Penn Jillette is an avowed atheist. Glenn Beck is a deeply religious Christian. They disagree on a lot, but speak often on Glenn’s show, and have some of the most respectful and interesting exchanges on television today. Here’s an example: Penn Jillette and Glenn Beck talk Atheism, Libertarianism, and Church/State

I’ve been on every network over the years, more than once, and I’ll promise you this – if you want the potential for a thoughtful exchange that’s not crammed into a five-minute segment, your options are limited.

Real Time is one possibility. Glenn Beck is another. I’m glad to have done both. – Glenn Beck and Bill Maher

  • Betty Bryant

    I consider telling you who you can talk to or not is a form of bullying. People on either side have no right to dictate to you who you can associate with. If they don’t like it, then they can just move along. Personally, I am a Glenn Beck fan and if you had not appeared with him, I never would have heard you because I don’t watch Bill Maher and I am sure that would be true of those who are fans of Bill Maher also. Your job training program is too important to let bullies tell you what to do. I’m glad you are a strong, self assured man, that does not need the approval of every nut case out there to function. I totally agree with your message that not everyone needs to go to college and shouldn’t saddle themselves with tons of debt to obtain something they will never use.

  • Tim McClellan

    I don’t understand the bile some people feel they should spew when they don’t know anything about a person, and formulate their opinions based solely on what they’ve heard from others. I watched your interview on Glenn Beck, AND I watched you guest on Bill Maher’s show. I like one of those guys significantly more than the other, but I have been so impressed with your efforts that the politics of things don’t really matter. What you’re doing to try to restore honor to good old fashioned work is laudable, and worthy of getting exposure anywhere you can. Keep doing what you do!

  • Radene Marie Cook

    WELL SAID! Bravo, Mike.

  • Sherryl Edward Mack

    Mike, I appreciate the way you handled the adversarial comments about your association with Glenn Beck. I believe you are right when you say that we must have conversations with those we seem to disagree with- education comes in many ways. Personally, I’m not a fan of Bill Maher because I find his humor borders hate speech, but I’m sure he has redeeming qualities and if he can help your education program, it’s all good! Good work ethic is becoming more rare every day. Poor behavior is often reinforced by pay increases and long-term employment. We need skilled labor in this country- it’s what the United States of America was built on! Keep up the good work!

  • Claire Whitmore

    Mike, Reading your words, the only word it left me with was…”WOW”!
    Love your “Lion Heart”

  • robinseeber

    I just hope this doesn’t make Shannon a hero for the liberals, all this publicity.. well she may end up a wealthy liberal maybe even a book or movie! Mike, you are an inspiration to all… keep it going.. I know I will do what I can.

  • James J. Wright

    loved hearing you on the Glenn Beck show your an amazing man and fighting for an amazing cause may God richly bless you Mike thank you for all you do and for your heart

  • Douglas Zwolinski

    I too have seen BOTH of these interviews and others you have done. I believe in the cause you have started and have bought a poster for my workplace. As the Branch Manager, I have earned my position by doing exactly what you recommend; work hard, stay late, & volunteer for the crap jobs. Today, I still do it. I’m the first person to walk in the door and the last one out. Anyway, I commend you for putting yourself out there to promote this cause! THANK YOU!! Keep taking every opportunity you get to promote this and people like myself will continue to support it!

  • FREE SPEECH Patriṓtēs Freedman

    Glenn goes off the deep end sometimes .. True .. But he’s not far off from the truth and not a deceiver and pompous arrogant prejudiced man like Maher

  • Jeff Ostroth

    Well said, Mr. Rowe. I think you caught the essence of your own likeability with the statement, “I’m not here to tell you what to think or whom to hate.” If only that were true of Glenn Beck — but then, he wouldn’t have a show, would he?

    I’m afraid your response to your critic suffers a bit from false equivalency. Yes, there is something broken in this country, and it seems to me that too many of us have lost all sense of limits to the lies and libels and hatred we inflict on each other. I’m sure that Beck was very gracious to you and appreciative that you came on his show. And while you may not have noticed any “burning sulfur” during your appearance, you may want to consider that your critic does indeed have information you have not received or have chosen to ignore. Because in my opinion, Beck generally traffics in the worst kind of noxious, deceitful defamation and hate mongering that one simply cannot equate with what Bill Mahr or even Bill O’Reilly puts forward.

    Presumably, somewhere there are limits to your even-handed tolerance of all type of “views.” You would not, I am sure, appear on a program hosted by David Duke, no matter how many viewers he had or how much he might contribute to your undeniably worthy cause. By the same token, I believe you have drawn the line too far in this case, providing Beck and his hate-fomenting conspiracy theories with unwarranted credibility, to the detriment of the country whose brokenness you lament.

    • Cyn Stoneking

      While this IS a Mike Rowe site (and BTW, bless you, Mr Mike for the program you have started) I have to ask Mr Ostroth if he has ever listen to Glenn Beck? To say Mr Beck …”traffics in the worst kind of noxious, deceitful defamation and hate mongering that one simply cannot equate with what Bill Mahr or even Bill O’Reilly puts forward” doesn’t square with anything I have heard Beck say.

      • Jeff Ostroth

        Ms. Stoneking, I’ll admit that since Beck was “resigned” from Fox — and it takes a lot to get “resigned” from “fair and balanced” Fox — I haven’t seen him on his new channel “The Blaze.” I’m not even sure my cable provider carries it; if so, it’s on an obscure channel I don’t flip up to. Nevertheless…

        Perhaps because I’m not a visceral Obama hater, nor a visceral black hater, I may have been more sensitive than some people to his rather baseless conjecture that the President (whose mother was wihite) “has a deep seated hatred of white people” and is a “racist.” Nor was I placated when, backtracking from that scurrilousness, he theorized (baselessly again) that Obama believed in “black liberation theology.” And I particularly wasn’t amused when Beck tried to auction off on e-Bay a mason jar with an Obama figurine submerged in a curiously yellow-orange liquid billed as urine.But, that’s just me. Perhaps for you, it’s not a big deal. I hope that’s not the case for Mr. Rowe.

        I could go on, but here are some interesting and amusing links:


        http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bl-glenn-beck-quotes.htm?PS=493%3A2 (political humor, but the quotes are real)


        Most of what Beck promulgates is designed to sow hatred, regardless of the truth of what he puts out there.

        • Douglas Zwolinski

          Its amazing how someone’s quotes or FACT BASED theories can be taken out of context to make them seem crazy. Especially when disputed with no facts at all. Take your comments here for example. Beck has NEVER done or said ANYTHING for you to assume he’s a racist. I’m so tired of the perpetuated LIE that because you disagree with Obama, you’re a racist. Thanks Chris Matthews!

          Beck and Maher have OPINION based shows. I’ve watched both because I like to hear both sides, look further into what interests me, and then decide for myself. Which brings me back to Mr. Rowe. It shouldn’t matter if he’s sitting down with Big Bird on PBS to discuss his cause. The point is that his cause is important! He SHOULD get as much of an audience as possible. Unfortunately, people like you and Ms.
          Walsh (above) are brainwashed by outlets like Huffington Post and Media Matters. Which is quite ironic seeing as how you blame Mr. Beck for doing the same.
          Point is… stop being a lemming, put the negativity away, and support Mike’s cause.

          • James Stagg

            Well said, Douglas!

  • Marie

    At least Glen Beck is a man who believes in God …Anyone who associates themselves with a God loving person is a great person in my eyes!

    • toolman78

      I hope your being sarcastic.

      • Marie


    • Camille

      that seems so ignorant – I’ve known of many people (news and personally) who believe in ‘God’ who murder, cheat on their wives, molest children, steal etc. This is what Mike seems to be trying to speak out against – don’t like someone just because they are on ‘your side’ / ‘believes in God’.

      • Marie

        They are not God fearing people you associate yourself with then…Run

  • Lee

    I like Glenn Beck and I love your cause and message. Period.
    I’m in the plumbing/heating trade and my husband is a pipe welder.
    We make great wages and get all of the standard benefits.
    In both of our trades there is a deficit of qualified skilled labor.
    I was raised to believe that college was good but having a trade as a back-up was priceless.
    Fortunately, I never saw the need to incur the expense and go back to school.
    My husband went back to school for his BA and ended up back in his trade to pay for the loan. He’s still in the trade 8 yrs later and has no need to go back for a higher degree.
    Totally behind you Mike!

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  • Glenda Baker

    It amazes me to hear people call others names instead of presenting a valid and logical argument for their disagreement. It is also sad. Disagreeing is okay, but make sure you can support your position. You and Glenn do that very well.

  • Phyllis Diller

    Mike Rowe can say anything and I will be starstruck

  • Joe Murphy

    With due respect Mike, I agree with your overall point. However, saying that someone was nice to you and they donated to your cause does not absolve them from past bad behavior. I think the original person you were commenting on went too far with their vitriol. However, I do think that overall, Mr. Beck has had a net-negative effect on the discourse in this country. That being said, I think your message is good and I think it’s fine that you went on his show. My only quibble is the assessment that Mr. Beck must be a good guy because he was generous with your cause and polite in your presence.

    • Paulii

      You can say the same about our President, a man who works for us, as well as his hench men Reid, Holder, Biden and others. Beck is a private citizen who has a political view that clearly differs from your own. Those who agree with him view his efforts as consistently positive. But whether he is or not, any animosity he may spread is miniscule in comparison to that hate spewed daily by our elected officials. Obama was so punitive as to close parks and monuments during the partial shutdown (where 87% of the government stayed open), something NO OTHER PRESIDENT HAD EVER DONE in more than dozens of prior shutdowns. Calling Republicans rapists, thugs, and terrorists, our leaders should be removed for such irresponsible behavior. BIg fail Joe.

  • Laura Waller

    Mike Lowe you are an intelligent sexy man and I admire you! First because you are right on the money about the student loan debt situation and second because your answer to Shannon K. Walsh was amazing. I am saddened by how many people in this world cant wait to jump on the hater band wagon. Every human being on this earth has good in them and each one of them possess some gift that is beneficial to our universe, they just don’t all know that yet. If we would spend our time and money helping each other and helping a neighbor discover the good he/she possesses, half of our problems would solve themselves. Please people, stop hating those that you don’t agree with and learn to love everyone in spite of your differences. You just might learn some things. I have been looking to find a worthwhile charity to support in order to give back and show gratitude for my blessings in life. I think I just found it. Thanks!

  • Michael Cordin

    Dear Mike,

  • Allison

    Mr. Rowe,

    I would like to thank you for advocating the ‘basics’ that our country desperately needs. I am a college educated farm girl working in the private sector. Neither my husband or brother-in-law attended college but together they manage a successful first generation dairy farm that they started building in their mid-teens. By working both smart and hard we have all seen success. Our operation, like many others, is a testament about the need for hard working, skilled labor with good ethics. I commend you for using your ‘celebrity’ to promote values that can benefit all Americans.

  • kat

    Thank you, Mike, for all your hard work in getting people into jobs that are needed. A friend & I were talking the other day about kids going to college & not having the skills for the hands-on things. I once could change the oil in my car myself, but not now. Can’t even find the stupid stick to check it with. What a lot of people haven’t faced yet is if we don’t have folks who can farm, weld, put on a roof, fix plumbing & any number of “mundane, dirty” jobs, pretty soon we won’t be able to use those fancy phones, computers, refrigerators, etc. because we’ll have no one to build or repair them. I’m proud to say that my son CHOSE to become a diesel mechanic. He may never be rich, but he keeps farmers & truckers going! The Trades rock!

    • beefrank

      Kat, the reason you cannot find the ‘stupid stick’ to check the oil is b/c it is no longer there and was replaced with a electronic device and a oil gauge display or electronic voice warning. Much of what Mike addresses is just the willingness to learn and solve problems. I never fixed a laptop screen but chose to try after my son broke his when exasperated with a computer game. (That is another story) I googled ‘fix laptop screen’ and found a few online reference and examples. I tracked down the exact screen type according to the computer make and model (they are all made by Samsung), bought it on eBay and replaced the screen according to the video and printed instructions from YouTube. It cost me about $80 which was far less than the quoted hundreds for repair elsewhere. Getting your hands ‘dirty’ is simply taking control of your own circumstances and working out a solution.

  • Jeff Bloomer

    This is the kind of vitriol and venom we’ve seen all too often from elitist progressives, the supposed open-minded and tolerant group. I agree with Mike, “How are we ever going to accomplish anything in this incredibly divisive time if we associate only with people that we don’t disagree with?” People need to get off their high horses and let’s get back to all being Americans and working together.

  • Ron Eafrato

    could not said it better myself! no really…i wouldnt be able to control my disdain for people of that ilk! MIKE ROWE FOR PRESIDENT!














  • Bugzy

    Mike Rowe is a first class guy.

  • mnfriend

    The bottom line is that the current Republican Party, policy-wise, is no friend of the working class. Certainly, most Republicans are decent people, but the Republican Party has consistently opposed a living wage, minimum wage increases, funding for education, opposes organized labor, etc. These a Republican Party positions run counter to Mr. Rowe’s efforts to help the common worker.

    • Paulii

      Utter nonsense. Have not read a more partisan/delusional post in many months. First, all Republicans do not agree on any of the issues you raise. Not all Tea Party members are Republicans. Certainly not all Republicans are not Tea Party people. So literally nothing you said is accurate. Grow up.

  • Rich Bennett

    A great response to a potentially touchy subject. One additional point that can be made:

    Your goal with both appearances was not to reach people who already know about your cause, but to bring your message to a new and diverse audience. The only way to appear in a forum that every Mike Rowe Facebook fan would 100% agree on is to just post information to your Mike Rowe Facebook page. But that’s not how education works. Your stated goal practically requires you to meet and talk with people that not everyone will agree with. My answer to Shannon would be that if you share the same goals of educating students about the real world, she should be just as happy about your appearance with Glenn Beck as you are.

  • MrJest

    Rock on, Mike. I’m working on opening my own business, but if that fails… well, I know about high voltage and I understand there’s a dearth of wiremen these days, so I’m sure I can find … productive work. :-)

  • D. L. Bonnell

    Wow… It seems the divisions between disliking paticular TV perosnalities continues throughout the comments of a letter dismissing these simply trivial differences. As Mike pointed out at SkillsUSA earlier this year, you take from these shows what speaks to how you already view the world. Very few people are willing to listen to somebody whose ideals or beliefs are different to their own, let alone talk to them about their differences.

    That is the basis of nearly every social issue in this country, including the skills gap addressed by this forum.

    I will continue to watch Beck, Maher, and the like. If for no other reason, I want to understand the perspectives both sides represent. I encourage everybody do the same.

    Then watch the news about this country from a source outside the US to help discern what really is BS. They aren’t worried about our politics….

  • Matthew Sexsmith

    Hi Mike, I just ran across this because I am a Glen Beck fan. Bill M. is not my cup of tea. That being said all I can say is I respect what it you are doing and all the avenues you are using to get this information out. I am a widow of six years and have home schooled the younger 3 children from the beginning, the two older kids attended public school. The home school courses are college prep courses. Do I expect them to attend college no, not unless it will advance their life pursuit, but I do expect them to have the best education I can provide. My eldest (31) is a pipe fitter (Add/Adhd) He loves his work. My next oldest (29) has a BA and is now attending Nursing School for her life dream, the next (20) Just finished Paul Mitchell Hair school left the school with great skills and a direction she is still seeking. My 17 year old is on chapter 13 of her book (1 of 4 she is writting) She is a word smith and fears that not attending College, like her friends, could be a draw back. We have discussions about that and she is coming around to the determination that her friends have degrees and no desire to go into there fields. My youngest 15 is becoming a Luthier and a musician. He wants to attend a music trade school. I myself am part owner of a business and have no college degree. I tried and could not stand or should I sit in that learning environment. We all have talents, as Rush would say “on loan from God” as a parent it is my job to guide my children into their God given gifts to benefit them and the world. Thank you for providing an alternative to those of us not fit for college but fit for life.

  • AlexCristo

    Bravo, Mike. Bravo. Well said.

  • Joel Pearce

    I always seem to come a bit late to the discussions, but probably better late than never. My views may be different than others as I am Canadian, and damn proud of it, but we here are having the same problems in Skilled Trades as our friends south of our border.
    Why does it matter who associates with who, what matters is getting the message out to EVERYONE, if you don’t then the message will be seen as either a right or left wing message and this message is neither. When I was in high school, and it was roughly the same time as Mike Rowe, I was told the same message he was. I chose to take a year off from school and never went back. I was lucky, or so I thought at the time, as my father owned a company and eventually started working there. After 22 years passed and my father passed on I became 1/3 owner and hated the job and left. I had no idea what I wanted to do and on a whim thought driving truck would be, if not a decent job, would at least cover my bills. 10 years later I realized I truly enjoy my job and work harder than I ever have. Between Canada and the US there is a deficit of drivers of approximately 100,000 and they pay anywhere up to 50-75,000 dollars a year. It’s a skilled job and no we’re not cowboys or bigots and tattooed weirdos. We’re hard working individuals who get the products you need to market, the things the countries “would fall apart if they didn’t get there kinda stuff”.
    So…..please stop putting politics into the discussion, it muddies the waters for no reason and makes as much sense as asking what the price of tea is in China when discussing under arm deodorant!