I guess we can add “brutalizing shut-in NeverTrump beta males” to the list of Dirty Jobs worked by Mike Rowe. In a lengthy Sunday Facebook post, the TV star gave The Bulwark’s Jonathan Last far more attention than the so-called executive editor deserved for his lazy smear article — but nevertheless absolutely demolished it.
It all started with a different Mike Rowe Facebook post, a response to a man named Steve who wanted to know why Rowe, if he were pro-vaccine, isn’t using his platform to encourage others to get the shot. And although Rowe confirmed that he did get the shot as soon as it was available to him because he believes “vaccines have saved more lives than any other advancement in the long history of medicine,” Rowe said there’s not much he can do to fix vaccine hesitancy because distrust in institutions understandably runs deep:
Every single American who wants the vaccine has had the opportunity to get it – for free. Those who have declined will not be persuaded by the likes of me. At this point, I’m afraid the the government has but one course of sensible action – get the FDA on board, stat, and then, provide an honest, daily breakdown of just how quickly the virus is spreading among the unvaccinated, versus the vaccinated. No more threats, no more judgments, no more politics, no more celebrity-driven PSA’s, no more ham-fisted attempts at public shaming. Just a steady flow of verifiable data that definitively proves that the vast, undeniable, overwhelming majority of people who get this disease are unvaccinated.
In other words, give us the facts, admit your mistakes, try on a bit of humility, and stop treating the unvaccinated like the enemy.
According to The Bulwark writer, however, this post was full of “Mike Rowe’s Dirty Lies.”
“The voice of the working class goes anti-anti-anti-vaxx,” Last wrote on Friday. “For a guy who makes his living pretending to be concerned with grubby details, this is a wildly, irresponsibly generalized set of charges. For starters, who are ‘those people’? No links here. No names. Just a vague, faceless assertion so he can’t be called out on facts. But the individual characterizations he makes of what ‘those people’ supposedly said are at best misleading and at worst, patently untrue.” Last then went on to list all his gripes with Rowe “one by one.”
That’s when Rowe responded with another Facebook post. “Here’s a delightful headline, followed by a charming article, written by a guy named Jonathan V. Last. I don’t think he likes me,” Rowe wrote in a post more persuasive and arguably more eloquent than anything the Bulwark has churned out. “Strap in. It’s a doozy.”
Rowe went charge by charge, eviscerating Last’s article. Unlike dreaded ad hominem Facebook debates, however, Rowe’s takedown was gracious and compelling, the kind of thing that almost makes you feel sorry for the miserable troll who actually thought his b-tching and moaning was clever.
Last had set plenty of traps, baiting his readers and Rowe himself with isolated quotes from the likes of Anthony Fauci, Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden to feign a debunking of Rowe’s larger narrative. But the “Dirty Jobs” host didn’t fall for it, instead calling Last out for trying to pigeonhole his argument and directing Last to more damning quotes from the elites when appropriate.
Here’s one example from Rowe’s Facebook takedown, where he quotes from Last’s article (“JL”) and then offers his rebuttal “MR” (Note the first bolded quote is Last’s article quoting Rowe’s original Facebook post):
JL: “Those are the same people who told us they wouldn’t trust ANY vaccine developed under the last administration.” I’m sure you can find five people on Twitter who said something like it. Maybe even a guest on MSNBC. But show me serious people in the media, in medicine, in research, in politics—anywhere—who said such a thing?
MR: I’m talking here about the millions of Americans who would fundamentally distrust any vaccine recommended by Donald Trump if he were still in office today. If you don’t want to acknowledge that those people exist, please revisit the above quote from Dave Mason. Better yet, listen to it. It might cheer you up.
JL: Maybe he’s talking about Kamala Harris? But she said something very different than what Rowe charges. Here’s what she said on September 6: “I would not trust Donald Trump. It would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about. I will not take his word for it.” This is the big gotcha?
MR: No, Jonathan, I wasn’t talking about Harris, and no, it’s not a big “gotcha.” (But, for the record, she did say very clearly on 10/7/21 at the VP debate “If Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.” )
Again, I didn’t call her out by name, because it no longer matters if Kamala Harris should have trusted Donald Trump two years ago. What matters now, is that she and Trump and so many others have made themselves fundamentally unpersuasive to many millions of people. The issue at hand is how to persuade vaccine-hesitant Americans to reconsider their hesitancy. I propose we first acknowledge the reasons they distrust those in power and tell them the truth. You seem determined to dismiss their concerns and tell them their mistrust in our institutions is unjustified. With respect, I don’t think that’s going to work.
Rowe did the same thing when Last attempted to redirect the conversation to Fauci, blasting The Bulwark writer for his David Frenchian attempt to defend nefarious elitist conduct with legalism. “Honest question, Jonathan,” Rowe wrote. “Do you really think those Americans will be persuaded to think differently about the vaccine, when guys like you rush to defend men like Fauci and his ‘heavily lawyered constructs?’”
Rowe’s emasculation of Jonathan Last is worth reading in full, not only because it mops the floor with a bad-faith troll from a website based on Trump derangement, but because it gives voice to the intelligent and legitimate concerns of logical Americans across the country. These people have been lied to and berated by the ruling class and the likes of The Bulwark for years; they aren’t making their vaccine calculations in a vacuum.
Mike Rowe gets this, and true to form, he didn’t shy away from getting down into the trenches with the blue-collar folks who know what it takes to assess risks and make their own decisions. He deserves the last word:
“I’m happy to let the readers make up their own minds about who’s telling the truth,” Rowe responded to Last. “But let’s be clear about what you’ve done with your little slice of the Internet. You have ignored the point of my original post, omitted key passages regarding my actual position on vaccines, written a damning and fallacious headline, and picked a fight with a guy who just reminded six million people that the overwhelming majority of Americans currently hospitalized with COVID have not been vaccinated. Oh yeah, AND told them that he got the shot as soon as he was able. That was the point of my post, Jonathan.”
“What was the point of yours?”