Mike Explains Why He Penned Viral Open Letter to Beck Critics
Over the weekend, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” received criticism on social media for his recent appearance on The Glenn Beck Program.
Not one to stand idly by, Rowe wrote a straightforward response to one critic in particular, saying that while he was with Beck: “I smelled no burning sulphur [sic], 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.”
Rowe called in to Beck’s radio program Monday to speak more on the topic, saying that he’s been on the road for the past several weeks to promote the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. Though he appeared on Beck’s television program last Wednesday, he admitted it was a few days after that that he logged on to Facebook and saw the response.
“Sunday morning I wake up, and there’s just – I mean, thousands of comments,” Rowe remarked. “Many very kind and – I don’t know if you knew this Glenn – there are people out there who just don’t like you a lot…”
Rowe added with a laugh: “You apparently are some kind of lightning rod, I can’t put my finger on it, but you apparently have annoyed dozens of people.”
But Rowe said it’s hardly unusual to receive criticism after appearing with a politically oriented figure. “If I do a show on the left, my buddies on the right melt down,” he said. “And if I do a show on the right, my pals on the left just faint.”
But what was unique, he said, was the caliber of Beck’s fans. He said he received 35,000 new friends on Facebook after posting the defense of Beck, and thousands of comments supporting the post.
“Your fans were just very, very cool,” Rowe said, adding that it allowed him once again to “have the conversation” about being able to speak with those you don’t always agree with.
“So if there’s a moral to the story, I guess it’s just ‘never shut up,’” Rowe concluded.
“Amen,” Beck added.
The two also spoke more about the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which gives work ethic-based scholarships to students for trade schools.
“Look, it’s a free country obviously and if you can afford a thing, you ought to have the right to have it,” Rowe said, referring to traditional universities. “But at some point, you’ve got to look around and, with respect to four-year degrees … we have about 3 million, 3 and a half million jobs that are currently available, a tiny percentage of which require a 4-year degree. And so we’re caught in this crazy feedback loop of lending money we don’t have, to kids who can’t pay it back, to train them for jobs that no longer exist. It strikes me that there’s an element of craziness to that.”
Rowe said that while traditional scholarships are important, “who’s rewarding work ethic?”
And though it’s a relatively new endeavor, he added, they’re already receiving some push-back.
“The idea of challenging kids today upsets a lot of people,” Rowe said. “I’ve already heard from guidance counselors who are saying, ‘Look, why can’t you just give them the money?’ This is $15,000-$20,000. We’re training people really for a year or two in a skilled trade. And they’re saying, ‘Why do they have to write the 500-word essay? Why do they have to make the video? Why do they have to sign the S.W.E.A.T. pledge…?’”
“People don’t like it,” Rowe said easily. “But look, if you don’t like it, this pile of free money [is] just probably not for you.”