Rowe issued another Facebook take down Tuesday, tearing apart line by line a piece on Salon.com that accused Rowe of “hypocrisy.”
Titled “Mike Rowe’s Wal-Mart hypocrisy: A so-called blue-collar champion ducks the real Black Friday issue,” author Mario Vasquez decided that Rowe didn’t answer a question asked about Wal-Mart during a Reddit AMA on purpose. This led Vasquez to believe that Rowe does not really care about Wal-Mart workers and is just another “corporate shill.”
This accusation didn’t sit well with Rowe.
MR: Hi Mario. Mike Rowe here. How’s it going? While I appreciate you spelling my name right and mentioning my new show, (Wednesdays at 9!) I’m afraid there’s a problem with your fundamental premise. It didn’t happen. I answered every single question I was asked over the course of an hour.
MV: Out of dozens of top-ranked questions, the query ignored by Rowe was one from an admitted Wal-Mart employee wondering whether Rowe would be open to spending a Black Friday at the nation’s largest private employer. The user described the craze that is fostered on this day and painted the experience as one deserving of the “dirty” label that Rowe likes to use to describe other professions.
MR: You’re right. That would have been an excellent question to respond to. Again, I’m sorry I didn’t know about it. My AMA was conducted over the telephone. A very nice woman from Reddit named Victoria read me dozens of questions and turned my verbal replies into a written response. I answered as many as I could. Unfortunately, there were about 4000 we couldn’t get to. Historically though, I’ve written about ten thousand words on the subject of Walmart
Rowe even gave some “compliments” along the way.
MV: Rowe’s Reddit dodge and his consequent contradictions are further illuminated when taking into account his recent back and forth with David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire,” the critically lauded program about the war on drugs in the the city of Baltimore. Rowe’s charges essentially amount to complaint regarding the characters depicted in the program — essentially drug dealers and pimps, in his eyes — and the related connotations that Baltimore, his hometown, now carry in popular culture. Rowe stresses that the show does not depict the Baltimore he knew growing up. Simon highlights the contradictions that led Rowe to the point of avoiding a question like the one posed to him on Reddit.
MR: I gotta admit Mario, when you make up a premise, you really stick to it. This is the seventh time you’ve accused me of deliberately avoiding a question I never knew existed. You’ve based your entire article upon a logical fallacy. Look – if you really want to impersonate a reporter, why not do some actual digging and see if Walmart is making good on its pledge? I bet your readers would love that. Hell, I’d like to know what’s going on too. I understand that attacking the narrator of an old commercial is easier, but imagine the story you’d have if you could actually prove that Walmart wasn’t following through on its promise? Again – you’d probably need to do some actual work, but if I were you, I’d go ahead and risk the effort. What do you have to lose? If it turns out that Walmart is living up to its promise, just kill the story!
Rowe and Vasquez seemed to have very different takeaways from the whole story.
MV: If there is anything to learn from his lack of an answer, it is that Rowe is the one with the dirty job and he didn’t even have to sweat for it.
MR: I think the objective reader might have have learned something altogether different.
MV: Today, it would be prudent to acknowledge that he is not an icon, but a true corporate shill masquerading as champion of the working class.
MR: It might also be prudent to acknowledge that you’re the only one using expressions like “Icon,” and “Champion of the Working Class.” I don’t see myself as either, and I’ve affirmatively discouraged people from referring to me in that way. However, given your call for prudence, I’ll publicly renounce both labels right now. In fact, I’ll give you the credit for making me do it. In return, maybe you can agree to stop making shit up?
MV: Simply put, one cannot be pro-worker while standing alongside a corporate elite class and Sam Walton’s billionaire children.
MR: Simply put, you’ll never change a thing if all you do is attack people with baseless articles packed with imaginary facts, cheap accusations, and false premises. I get that hating the rich is fun. But seriously, you’ll never persuade anyone of anything if all you do is preach to your own choir. You can do better.
Read the entire commentary on Facebook: