Updated at 4:54 p.m. ET
Max Rice, the fellow who flustered Gretchen Carlson of “Fox & Friends” this morning, says that his bizarre appearance came about through a concerted effort by the program to find a certain sort of person: That is, a young, unemployed individual who formerly believed in President Obama but had switched support to Mitt Romney because how bad things have become.
So how did Rice get involved? Through a friend who’s in conservative politics. Said friend, according to Rice, sent out a text message asking for “an unemployed college graduate who wants to be on national television,” recalls Rice.
National television, thought Rice. Absolutely. He signed up.
At the time he received the text, Rice didn’t know that Fox News was doing the seeking, much less that “Fox & Friends” was after just such a profile. Rice says he shaded the truth a bit to qualify. In an interview with this blog, he says he’s only 20 and that he hasn’t graduated from college just yet. He says he’s a film student at Columbia College in Chicago, a statement that the college’s registrar has just confirmed.
An e-mail from a Fox producer, which Rice shared with this blog, details the program’s ambitions:
From what I understand,...you...voted for Obama in 2008, but have since graduated college and are unemployed, and feeling disenchanted with voting for him again. Is this true? If so, I’d like to schedule ...you to join us for a potential segment on the show.
Okay, Rice said, noting that the Fox News producers were looking for other candidates with similar employment-doom qualifications. “They couldn’t find anyone,” says Rice.
Here’s one of the e-mails that Rice sent to the cable channel:
It would be an honor to appear on your program. Fox & Friends is a show that doesn’t just appeal to every possible member of your typical American family, but is also watched by every member of my family....I certainly will be more than happy to share my first hand experiences with your wonderfully diverse (age, race, sex, height, etc etc.) audience.
Rice was too young to have voted for Obama in the 2008 election, he says, but he did “support” the candidate. And what he told Carlson on air today — that he now has to vote for Romney because he lost a one-on-one basketball challenge against a friend — is actually true. “I got smoked,” he says. The friend who put the shellacking on Rice, Alex Dern, confirms the match via phone, telling the Erik Wemple Blog that the score in the game as 11 to 3.
And what about the black eye that Rice inflicted on a highly rated morning news show? “That’s the greater cause,” says Rice. “Anyone can say what they want as long as they realize it’s a sham and it’s wrong,” he says of “Fox & Friends.”
“I’ve always hated ‘Fox & Friends’ . . . It’s so horrible for this nation, it’s so clearly fake. Now I know firsthand,” he says.