If you’ve been paying any amount of attention to social media in the week following the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, then you’ve probably seen a post by TV host and skilled labor advocate Mike Rowe floating around.
The post has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and likely viewed by tens of millions of people. The response was generally positive to Rowe’s words.
If you haven’t yet read that post, you can do so by clicking here.
However, at least one writer for The Daily Dot took exception with Rowe’s post and decided to break it down in an article entitled ‘Against Mike Rowe’s Folksy Facebook Rants‘.
Well, Rowe, like any successful social media personality obviously keeps track of articles written about him and he happened to notice this one.
Before we get started, it should be noted that the author of the piece, Gillian Branstetter, seems to have anti-Trump leanings based on her Twitter feed, and it looks like that bias made its way into her Mike Rowe article.
So, let’s get into exactly what Branstetter said about Rowe and his responses.
BRANSTETTER: As long as reality TV stars replace our presidents, they might as well replace our pundits. At least, that seems to be the appeal of former Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe. His latest take on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is a doozy, too. Rowe, who has amassed a massive Facebook following for his down-home wisdom and charm, answered a fan question about the election by comparing Trump’s appeal to working-class America to his own.
Rowe starts off his response in his normal, classy, well articulated manner:
MIKE ROWE: Hi Gillian, Mike Rowe here, writer of folksy rants, etc. First, I want to assure your readers that their favorite pundits are safe – at least from me. I aspire to no level of punditry or public office. As for my overall “appeal,” well – there’s no accounting for taste…but I’ll take it!
Then we get into the heart of the matter. Rowe’s original post alleged that Trump wasn’t elected by a group of racists and misogynists, but rather by a segment of the population that wanted change. That was ultimately what spoke to so many people about the post. However, it seems to be what Branstetter took the most issue with.
BRANSTETTER: “Dirty Jobs said ‘Hey – we can see you,’ to millions of regular people who had started to feel invisible,” wrote Rowe in a viral Facebook post this week. “Ultimately, that’s why Dirty Jobs ran for eight seasons. And today, that’s also why Donald Trump is the President of the United States… Yeah, it was dirty job for sure, but the winner was NOT decided by a racist and craven nation – it was decided by millions of disgusted Americans desperate for real change. The people did not want a politician. The people wanted to be seen.”
BRANSTETTER: This theme espoused by Rowe and others—that working-class voters responded to Trump out of economic frustration and not demographic resentment—is aligned with the same bootstraps mythology both Trump and Rowe exploit for their own gain. Both men rely on a folksy faith in hard work and ambition that simply doesn’t match the reality of most American workers, and they do so at the peril of the very people who serve as the foundation of their fan base.
MIKE ROWE: I believe a solid work ethic and a measure of ambition are essential ingredients to success, and readily available to anyone. Obviously, the desire to succeed and the willingness to work hard are not enough to guarantee success, but success without either is impossible. I also believe that any able bodied person can metaphorically pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. You call this belief a “myth,” and that puts us at odds over the importance of individual self-reliance. That’s fine, but to suggest that I have used this “mythology” to “exploit my fan base for my own gain” is a “doozy” of an accusation. I’ve exploited no one, Gillian. I run a scholarship program that rewards individual work ethic. I do so, because I believe work ethic is no longer encouraged to the degree it should be. We’ve trained about 500 people for a long list of good jobs, and I’m pretty sure none of them feel exploited.
MIKE ROWE: Finally, “economic frustration and demographic resentment” are not mutually exclusive. I understand that racism, sexism, or all the other ism’s currently dominating the headlines are alive and well in this country, and I suspect they always will be. But I don’t believe our country is fundamentally racist. Millions of white people who voted for Barack Obama, just voted for Donald Trump. It makes little sense to accuse them of “demographic resentment.”
Here is the full embed from Rowe’s Facebook page of his response to Branstetter: