While a guest on Wednesday's edition of the Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson Tonight program, Mike Rowe — a cable television host best known for his work on the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs program and the Somebody's Gotta Do It series on the Cable News Network — criticized students at colleges and universities who burn the American flag because it's not persuasive to destroy “a symbol so many people care so much about.”
Noting that “nobody's disputing the right to do any of this stuff,” Rowe stated that burning the flag is “a great way to get attention, but I'm not personally convinced it's a great way to make people think differently” about what they believe and “how they feel” about this nation.
The segment began when Carlson said: “When you follow the news on any given day, you're apt to see college students doing lunatic things, incomprehensible things. Well, for the past couple of weeks, we've invited a lot of college kids on this show to find out why they're doing them and what can be done to help.”
Carlson then introduced Rowe as “a famed TV show host” and “a man who's thought a lot about this topic” before asking for his opinion regarding an interview the Fox News anchor did on November 21 with a student from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where the American flag was pulled down and burned as a “protest against American imperialism.”
The discussion left Carlson “a little confused” because he had asked the student: “You never see anybody at a trade school burning the American flag. Have you noticed that? I'm not making this up in my mind, am I?”
“I think that you're more likely to pick up a story in which rich kids do burn a flag on the basis that we have more access to the media,” the student replied.
“Really?” the conservative host responded. “Do you think that, like, at your average HVAC [Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning] repair school they're burning a flag?”
“You and me both know that politics in this country are divided by class,” the young guest asserted.
Rowe, who said he had watched the segment when it aired, indicated:
My first thought, just sitting home, was that nobody's disputing the right to do any of this stuff, but for me, it's a matter of persuasion, right? Is it persuasive to burn a symbol that you know so many people care so much about?
It's a great way to get attention, but I'm not personally convinced it's a great way to make people think differently about whatever it is you believe and however it is you might feel.
“That's such a good and obvious point that's so rarely made that it makes you wonder: 'Is it a good idea?'" Carlson thought. “This is something we've been talking about for many years,” and he wondered if “every child in America” should be expected to get “a four-year, liberal arts education.”
“If you're running for office or if you're trying to say something in a sound byte that applies to lots and lots of people, it's easy to say a four-year degree is the best path for the most people,” Rowe noted. “That's what you hear, year after year, again and again and again, and pretty soon, after 40 years of it, we start to believe it.”
He also pointed out that getting a four-year degree is “the most expensive path, and it has led to a skills gap of about 5.8 million positions, with student loans at about $1.3 trillion, and sooner of later, somebody's got to throw the flag, so to speak, and say: 'Maybe there's another way.'”
“You spend a lot of time on this subject,” Carlson stated. “You have a foundation that helps kids looking for another way.”
Rowe then took the discussion in another direction.
“What struck me about the interview you played before wasn't just the fact that, you know, that guy had his opinion,” he added. “It was the fact that they're paying $60,000, $62,000 a year, right? So times four, a quarter of a million dollars."
It's either worth it or it's not. You can either afford it or you can't, and we're either helping to subsidize it or we aren't.
Well, we are, and so, consequently, even though I don't go to that school, and even though I respect the people who do, I feel like we ought to have permission to have a conversation about -- Forgive me, I know this rankles people -- but it's a return on our investment, too.
“That $1.3 trillion is not falling out of the air,” he concluded. “We're paying for it.”