Let’s give Joe Rogan a chance

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
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If Spotify pulls the plug on Joe Rogan and his misinformation, he won’t go away, so let’s consider another option.

Let’s start with the fact that I was pretty late to the Joe Rogan game. He existed in my mind as sort of this ultra bro-y meathead character who spouted pretty gross things about things like women’s bodies. Which he is! 

Joe Rogan: “You go you giant gelatinous bag of meat and tissue. No that’s a dying person who’s addicted to food. She doesn’t want to look like that.”

Objectively, ew.

Of course, there’s plenty more from the Joe Rogan offense file. He’s also notorious for his comments on race, gender, and climate change. However, after listening to a lot of episodes from his enormous mound of content, I realize there’s more to the story.

What I discovered is that even though I certainly don’t agree with his opinions on everything, he’s actually an extremely smart, extremely well-read guy who seems genuinely interested in getting at the truth, even if he doesn’t always get there.

I don’t like the fact that Rogan distributed misinformation or failed to challenge it. I don’t like the effects that such misinformation could have on very real people’s lives. Of course, I don’t. 

But do I think that Rogan should be cancelled? No.

First of all, because even if he does leave Spotify or get kicked off Spotify, he’s going to pop up somewhere else with pretty much the same audience he already has; his fans are very much with him wherever he goes.

And second, while Rogan doesn’t always say things that are accurate… he does get at a lot of interesting truths on his episodes. 

Third, and, most importantly, is that Rogan himself said that he understands the issues at stake, and that he will do better. 

I’m not in favor of cancelling. I’m in favor of educating. Joe Rogan says he’ll do better, and I personally would like to see him get the chance.

 

 

Oh, Joe Rogan. I have so many opinions about you. 

Let’s start with the fact that I was pretty late to the Joe Rogan game. He existed in my mind as sort of this ultra bro-y meathead character who spouted pretty gross things about things like women’s bodies. Which he is! 

Joe Rogan: “You go you giant gelatinous bag of meat and tissue. No that’s a dying person who’s addicted to food. She doesn’t want to look like that.”

Objectively, ew. But, as with most things taken out of context, that’s not all there is to the story. I have a couple of friends who absolutely love Joe Rogan, and after having several fights with them on this topic, I realized… I’d never actually…listened to him. I was sort of just listening to the overall liberal take on the topic without ever actually going to the source material itself. Which is something I criticize Fox-loving conservatives for all the time. Not good.

So I listened to a lot of Joe Rogan episodes, actually. And what I discovered is that even though I certainly don’t agree with his opinions on everything, he’s actually an extremely smart, extremely well-read guy who seems genuinely interested in getting at the truth, even if he doesn’t always get there.

I especially really love his episodes on Scientology. He comes across as this sort of informed outsider and he’s asking all the questions that I want answered myself.

Joe Rogan: You wrote internal reports?

Leah Remini: Yes, we were all required to write reports on each other.

Joe Rogan: Jesus Christ!

It’s important to say again that Rogan doesn’t always know the truth or speak the truth on his platform, which is a problem, for sure. 

Surely by now you’ve heard about musician Neil Young’s decision to remove his music from Spotify – which pays Rogan and is the primary distributor of his podcast – over Rogan’s kind of constant dissemination of vaccine misinformation, including voicing support for ivermectin and welcoming onto his show a roster of guests saying things like medical experts are hypnotizing people into believing them, natural immunity is permanent, and – my personal favorite – a vaccine trial in Australia was turning people HIV-positive. 

Yikes.

Rogan also neglected to push back against guest Jordan Peterson’s misinformation about everything from gender and climate change to race. Oh my goodness, what he said about race.

Joe Rogan: “The black and white thing is so strange because the shades, tan and brown, there’s such a spectrum of shades of people.  Unless you’re talking to someone who is 100% African from the darkest place where they’re not wearing any clothes all day.” 

I don’t like the fact that Rogan distributed misinformation, or failed to challenge it. I don’t like the effects that such misinformation could have on very real people’s lives. Of course, I don’t. 

But do I think that Rogan should be cancelled? No.

First of all, because even if he does leave Spotify or get kicked off Spotify, he’s going to pop up somewhere else with pretty much the same audience he already has; his fans are very much with him wherever he goes.

And second, while Rogan doesn’t always say things that are accurate… he does get at a lot of interesting truths on his episodes. 

Third – and most importantly is this – Rogan himself said that he understands the issues at stake, and that he will do better. 

Joe Rogan: “My pledge to you is that I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial view points with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.  I don’t want to just show the contrary opinion to what the narrative is. I want to show all kinds of opinions so we can all figure out what’s going on.”

Great. Isn’t that what we want the people who we challenge to say.

Look, this is a guy who achieved a tremendous amount of fame and impact very, very quickly, and while producing an almost unthinkable amount of content.

I’ve done maybe 30 podcast episodes over the course of my career, and let me tell you, if I had millions of people holding me to account for everything I said on every one of them, I have a feeling I would be in trouble. Maybe not vaccine misinformation-level trouble, but trouble. 

Rogan definitely presents himself as a truth-teller, and many, if not most, of his fans subscribe to the idea that he just cuts through all the b.s and gets to the facts, but Rogan is not a journalist, not really. He’s definitely not a scientist. He’s an entertainer who brings on people with various perspectives and then he offers his opinion for what it’s worth. 

And at some level – and this is going to be an unpopular opinion amongst my fellow liberals – Americans have to put on their big kid pants and decide what information they consume, and what they do with it.

I also believe that, when it comes to poorly thought-out or even potentially dangerous statements, intent matters. And I do not think there was ill intent in this case. I do think there was an element of stirring the pot for viewers.  I do think there was a serious element of irresponsibility, but the answer to Rogan’s missteps is not booting him from Spotify; all that’ll do is have him pop up elsewhere and also it will activate his base to distrust the mainstream media  even more than they perhaps already do. 

Should Spotify add a disclaimer to statements like those that Rogan made? Sure. But I don’t see how removing his podcast achieves… well… anything. 

I’m not in favor of cancelling. I’m in favor of educating. Joe Rogan says he’ll do better, and I personally would like to see him get the chance.

 


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