New Trier grad pranks cable news show
Updated: September 19, 2012 11:30PM
Gretchen Carlson, host of the nationally televised cable news show “Fox & Friends” got at least one thing right in her infamous Monday interview of guerrilla guest Max Rice.
As the segment collapsed, she said, “I’m not sure that you’re ready for prime time.”
Rice, the 2010 senior president of New Trier High School, said the same thing Wednesday.
The notoriety that has spread his name around the world can do little foreseeable good for him, because he has but a small body of work to show, and no nascent project to boost.
He says he doesn’t care.
All that matters, he said, is the unexpected opportunity to show that Fox News is desperate for people to back up a biased agenda, and doesn’t make sure anyone is who they say they are, as long as there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll say what the network wants.
“I saw an injustice, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on it,” said Rice, 20, who grew up in Glencoe. “I don’t want people to turn on TV and see such injustice. Hopefully, it will be good for society.”
Rice said he responded to a text message that sought young interview subjects who’d voted for Barrack Obama in 2008, then become unemployed, moved back home and decided to vote for Mitt Romney in November.
He claimed that was the case, and he said he tried to tell the truth on camera, but it was only a version of the truth.
He isn’t really unemployed – he has a job working with children, and he’s a film student at Columbia College.
As he told Carlson, he plans to vote for Romney because he lost a basketball game and bet his vote on it. In addition to fibbing about moving back in with his folks – he lives in a Columbia dorm in Chicago – Rice also claimed to have met Obama when the North Shore youth was in the third grade. He said Wednesday that he’d come upon the future president at a press event at Glencoe’s Vernon’s on Vernon restaurant.
He didn’t tell Carlson or Fox producers that he was only 16 years old when Obama was elected president. Yet, he showed them his graduation speech video, which was clearly recorded in 2010.
“I heard they enjoyed my presidential speech, but they’re not so good at algebra,” he said.
He wasn’t so good at being interviewed. He stumbled and sounded confused during the segment, saying that was largely due to sleeping only three hours and difficulty talking to someone he couldn’t see.
“I was so confused,” he said. “It was so weird. I had this voice coming through my ear, and there was this box I was supposed to look at ...”
To him, however, it doesn’t matter.
“They didn’t ask. I could have been al-Qaeda. There was no security. I could have blown myself up on the air.
“My appearance in itself is the entire point. I think people see that.”
His dad agrees, but says it’s not just Fox that would have fallen for his son’s ruse.
Glencoe’s Mark Rice – unlike his son, a conservative – said Wednesday, “It could have been anybody – MSNBC, CNN.”
Some pundits have called Rice a jerk or worse, and so have his pals.
“I got a lot of texts from friends, some calling me a (bleeping) moron, and some say I’ve got big (indications of courage),” he said.
The interview is big on the Internet, and has apparently boosted an unrelated YouTube video of Rice’s stand-up routine, which is mostly notable for an f-bomb every few seconds.
“His comedy tape, which I think is kind of silly, was at less than 100 (page views) before this,” Mark Rice said. “Now it’s at 60,000.”
Mark Rice is the founder and president of the Glencoe-based North Shore Titans kids’ football league. He said that his oldest son is a good soul, who also coaches youth football, was a captain in the SafeRides program in high school and has worked with disabled youth.
“This was a very opportunistic thing,” Mark Rice said. “It was much bigger news than he expected.”
His son said he knows he’s been gifted with millions of dollars worth of free publicity, “but I’m not going to waste it on myself.
“I want to tell people, ‘Don’t be afraid to speak ... listen, and learn.’”