Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Mike Rowe - Neutral in a Crisis

I like Mike Rowe. I really do, and I have deep respect for his work.

That's why I am so disappointed and have a hard time with the ambivalent neutrality that he took on his show this week when asked about the COVID vaccine.

Mike Rowe is a television host, writer, and podcaster who rose to fame as the narrator and "weekly apprentice" on the Discovery Channel's show "Dirty Jobs," and later on the show "Deadliest Catch." While those shows were incredibly popular, engaging, and informative, they were ultimately cancelled, but not before Rowe had developed his schtick for being the advocate and voice for skilled labor and working class people, especially at a time when the country was on its ill-advised "everyone-go-to-college" kick. I was an occasional fan of his shows, but I really came to appreciate Rowe via his now legendary TED Talk about sheep ranching. Rowe has since gone on to develop a web platform and partnerships to promote skilled labor and importantly career and technical education.

Mike Rowe is doing a lot a great things. And that's why the harm of his neutrality is so problematic.

Basically, when asked on his show why he -- who is fully vaccinated against COVID -- won't encourage his listeners and fans to "get the shot," Rowe just copped out and said he's "not a doctor ... and not inclined to dispense medical advice to people on his platform." While that is an attempt to be diplomatic and non-controversial, Rowe is basically pandering to his audience when he knows better. There is nothing wrong with extolling the value and benefit of vaccines, especially at this time, and Mike is certainly smart enough, educated enough, and philosophical enough to know that.

Sad to hear this about you, Mike. I still really like you, and support the work your doing. But you know what they say about people who remain neutral in times of crisis.

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