Mike Rowe defends Glenn Beck appearance, likens it to 'Real Time with Bill Maher' appearance

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mike-rowe-glenn-beck-bill-maher-facebook.jpgLast week, "Dirty Jobs" host Mike Rowe appeared on Glenn's Beck Blaze TV program to talk about his foundation, which works with kids who are interested in going into a trade of some kind rather than going to a four-year college.

Many of Rowe's Facebook fans were not fans of his appearance on the show, but this comment by Sharon Walsh -- " 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." -- sparked Rowe to respond with a letter on Facebook.

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?

Mike

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/watch?v=vZnE1XEv0xU

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.
-- with Glenn Beck and Bill Maher.

The letter Rowe refers to defending his appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" is a similar piece. It's not about going on liberal or conservative shows, it's about getting the word out and raising money for his foundation.

A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Beck's show as being part of Fox News. It has been corrected, we apologize for the error.
Photo/Video credit: Facebook