I like Mike even more NOW
Shannon K. Walsh wrote, “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, nasty 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.
It’s here: http://on.fb.me/1a8LsPL
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 sulphur, 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: http://www.youtube.com/
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.
[Bob Reidel: “Mike – Saw you hangin with Bill Maher. I had no idea you were a liberal. Really blew me away. Love everything you do but now that I know who you really are, I won’t be tuning in to watch anything your involved with.”]
Well, hi there, Bob. How’s it going? Since your comment is not the only one of its kind, I thought I’d take a moment to address it.
Truth is, every time I go on Fox, my liberal friends squeal. And every time I show up on MSNBC, my conservative pals whine. Not because they disagree with my position – everyone agrees that closing the skills gap is something that needs to happen. No, these days, people get bent simply if I appear on shows they don’t like, or sit too close to people they don’t care for.
What’s up with that? Is our country so divided that my mere proximity to the “other side” prompts otherwise sensible adults to scoop up their marbles and go home?
Back in 2008, I wrote an open letter to President Obama, offering to help him promote those 3 million “shovel-ready” jobs he promised to create during his campaign. (I suspected they might be a tough sell, given our country’s current relationship with the shovel.) Within hours, hundreds of conservatives accused me of “engaging with a socialist,” and threatened to stop watching Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe if I didn’t come to my senses.
When I made the same offer to Mitt Romney (who actually responded), thousands of liberals chastised me for “engaging with a greedy capitalist,” and threatened to stop watching Dirty Jobs if I didn’t take it back.
You may ask, “But what did these people think about the issue at hand?” Who knows? They were too busy being outraged by my proximity to the devil. (Poor Ed Shultz at MSNBC nearly burst into tears. “You were on the wrong stage, Mike! The wrong stage!! With the wrong candidate!!!”)
Here’s the thing, Bob – Profoundly Disconnected (http://
Point is, I didn’t go on Real Time to endorse BM, and I didn’t go on The Factor to endorse BO. I went on because millions of people watch those shows. I approached our liberal president for the same reason. Likewise, his conservative opponent. And I showed up on Sesame Street with the same agenda that I took to Congress.
Closing the skills gap is bigger than you or me or any particular venue, and Real Time gave me an opportunity to reach 5 million people. I’m grateful for that, and I’ll do it again if they want me back.
As for Bill Maher off-camera, you’ll be pleased to know that the guy was a perfect gentleman. His staff is excellent, and his after-party included an open bar with a spread I’ve never seen in such a setting. Bill took the time to hang out with his guests and their friends after the show, chatting about this and that for over an hour, and taking pictures with anyone who wanted one. Trust me, that’s rare.
Yes, he’s outrageous, inflammatory, and to many, a jagged little pill. But he’s also gracious, generous, engaging, and taller than he appears on TV.
Which, frankly, surprised me.