TV personality Mike Rowe has made it his life’s work to show Americans the grimy underbelly of the economy, and through his show “Dirty Jobs” trumpeting the valuable work of blue-collar workers.
Yet the Biden administration, which tries to sell itself as pro-union and pro-worker, apparently took a dim view of Rowe’s politics and blocked him from showing people what boilermakers do.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Monday that was directed to employees of a company called M&M Welding and Fabricators, Rowe suggested that to his “surprise and disappointment” the Government Services Administration “suddenly” revoked a previously approved permit for “Dirty Jobs” because he has a similar show on Fox.
“I just wanted to assure you guys that this decision had nothing to do with me, Discovery, or my production team. This decision was made solely by the GSA, who oversees the location where you are currently working, and required us to apply for a permit months ago,” Rowe wrote.
“Obviously, we did. The necessary permits were quickly issued, and we were assured several times over the last few months that everything was still good to go. Then, just two days before I was scheduled to arrive, we received a phone call from a woman at the GSA who informed us that our permits were being revoked.”
Rowe said when his team asked for an explanation, the woman cited “security concerns.” When they asked what that meant, she replied that she didn’t know. “She only told us that the decision had come down from ‘the very highest levels within the GSA,’” he wrote.
“This was a first,” added Rowe. “Over the last twenty years, Dirty Jobs has filmed in many sensitive environments under government control.” He cited programs that were filmed with the approval of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Seabees, Coast Guard, NASA, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We’ve gotten permission to film inside the Capitol and a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. We even got a permit to film inside the National Security Agency!” said Rowe.
“In all cases, we worked closely and in good faith with the government, and scrupulously avoided any areas that were deemed sensitive or secure. Never once in twenty years has the government revoked a permit – much less at the last minute, and with no plausible explanation.”
“Which begs the obvious question,” he added. “What’s really going on here?”
Rowe offered photos of the proposed set and pointed out there were no “state secrets inside that boiler.” “Even if there was sensitive information somewhere in the building, our cameras would have been nowhere near it,” Rowe wrote. “And if the building is under some sort of security threat, then why are you guys are still working there, a week after our permits were pulled? Weird, right?”
Hen then called the GSA’s decision “truly baffling,” but added, “when the Feds tell you there’s a ‘security concern,’ you don’t have much choice but to take them at their word.”
Yet, he noted, after the permits were rescinded, his producers received a phone call from an unidentified person who claimed that the decision had “nothing to do with security, and everything to do with politics.”
“Someone at the highest levels of the GSA ‘doesn’t like Mike Rowe’s personal politics,’ and used their power to deliberately string us along until the last possible second, for the express purpose of ‘yanking my chain.’” the caller reportedly said.
Rowe added that explanation should “be taken with a grain of salt,” as “it’s possible this person might be mistaken or lying.”
But, he said, the call seemed credible because, despite his best efforts to keep his shows and his nonprofit foundation “aggressively non-partisan,” he does host “How America Works” on Fox Business.
“And not everybody is happy about it,” Rowe noted.
The show, he wrote, “celebrates the American worker.” “It’s an honest look at the essential but uncelebrated industries our country relies upon,” but unlike “Dirty Jobs,” this show is on Fox, “and these days that’s enough to upset certain people.”
“For those people, where I appear matters far more than what I say. For those people, politics are the only thing they can see, no matter what they’re looking at. … Those people hear I have a show on Fox, and that’s all they need to know.” said Rowe, noting that such people ignore that his work has been featured on CNN, PBS, NPR, and MSNBC.
“Did such a person revoke our permit? Did they do so for ‘political reasons,’ hoping to ‘yank my chain?’ Again, I can’t say for sure, but if that’s what happened, I’d like to tell them it didn’t work.”
Rowe then outlined what he did on his fun, if “unanticipated,” day off. His crew was not so lucky, he added. “You did manage to yank the chain of a few others” who spent their time, money and energy preparing for a show that was ultimately canceled.
“My team works their collective ass off. You made their job a lot harder and wasted a lot of their time. You also hurt my film crew, who freelance for a living, and suddenly found themselves with a day off they didn’t anticipate, with no time to replace the lost work with another gig,” said Rowe.
“And of course, you disappointed some boiler makers who work VERY hard to keep people like you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Those men were looking forward to sharing their trade with America. You kept that from happening.”
Rowe said if the security concerns were legitimate, the GSA bureaucrat who caused that headache should have “had the guts to pick of (sic) the phone and deliver the bad news yourself, rather than pass it off to a subordinate with no knowledge of any underlying facts.”
“It goes to basic manners and common consideration, and you displayed neither,’ Rowe wrote. Rowe said he still wanted to feature M&M Welding and Fabricators, at a site that doesn’t require GSA approval.
“Hope to see you all in person, sooner than later, someplace dirty,” he concluded.