Democratic politicians, the mainstream media, and progressive members of the Hollywood elite—in short, Team Blue—have designated Joe Rogan as public enemy number one.
Rogan is the king of podcasting. His episodes, usually lasting three hours each, have been downloaded millions upon millions. His listeners are larger than anyone else in commentary, left, center or right.
Joe Rogan is a complete disruption of the traditional media. pic.twitter.com/rBLCYweag0
— Pomp ???? (@APompliano) January 3, 2022
And they hate him for it—in part because they don’t understand him. He isn’t committed to any particular political tradition or interest group. He’s a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.He also thinks that the left is going crazy over transgender topics. He called Donald Trump dangerous and said many Trump supporters are “f-ing stupid”. However, he repeatedly criticized the Democratic Party for its approach to COVID-19.
This, more than anything else, has made him a target of Team Blue: He is skeptical of covid mandates and has featured guests on his show—Robert Malone, Peter McCullough, Alex Berenson, and others—who have questioned the efficacy of the vaccines. While I may not agree with the opinions of many of his guests, Rogan seems to believe that his audience is able to benefit from hearing opposing viewpoints. You have full control over what you hear.
It seems Team Blue cannot take this. They have very little control over Rogan. They won’t be able to get Rogan kicked off television or removed from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitter. Rogan has a deal with Spotify, and so far Spotify has stood by Rogan—even as liberal music artists have started withdrawing from the platform in protest. This was started by Neil Young last week. He told Spotify that he wouldn’t share Spotify with anyone who spreads medical misinformation.
This is ironic because Neil Young has a long history of spreading false scientific information. He released an entire album in 2015 The Monsanto YearsSpreading false theories about GMOs.
Young should be free to listen to his music and not have everyone sign every word. It is wonderful to be able to separate the artist and art. Except for extreme and obvious moral depravity cases, it is possible and acceptable to accept the flaws of all human beings. We can also appreciate and reject the negative.
But, Team Blue and other parts are trying to press Spotify to remove Rogan. Joni Mitchell also announced her departure from the platform. It seems that rumors that Barry Manilow had quit Spotify to make way for Rogan are false. Manilow claimed it was false, and said he doesn’t know why anybody got the impression.
It is unclear if Spotify will care about this. The company responded on Sunday to the anti-Rogan chatter.
The company’s leaders wrote that they had received a lot questions about their platform policies over the past few days and how we define what is permissible and unacceptable. We have rules for years, but we admit that our policies that govern content have not been as transparent. This led to some questions about how they were applied to major issues like COVID-19.
Spotify will add “content advisory” comments to podcast episodes about COVID-19. It will also clarify that Spotify prohibits content that encourages dangerous false, dangerously deceptive or harmful medical information which may cause offline harm to the public or pose a threat to their health.
It doesn’t seem that this extends to the policies of Facebook and Twitter. These platforms have tried to classify allegedly false information about covid as misinformation, with questionable results. These policies have wrongly labelled a lot of highly accurate and debatable information, even articles I wrote.
Spotify needs to leave Rogan alone. That’s what I believe is right. However, I have to question how it could help vaccination if Rogan were removed from Spotify. His appeal could grow if Rogan is made more attractive by being censored. Vigorously trying—and often failing—to suppress an idea can backfire, making the idea seem exciting, intoxicating, seductive. Rogan could have a huge audience with Spotify, or by himself. How does this drive Rogan elsewhere?
Consider last week’s scandal over the graphic book Maus, which were removed from the Tennessee school district’s curriculum. What was the immediate impact? Massive spikes in online sales
Amazon currently ranks “Maus” at #2 and #3.
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) January 30, 2022
The Streisand effect is in action. Tell people not to read, listen to, discuss or absorb books, songs, or any other content and they will be more likely to pay attention. It’s possible that this is what Rogan would experience if Spotify was closed down. In fact, it’s already happening.
Rogan also hosts the show. Could to be seen as an opportunity for provaccine advocates. He is obviously willing to have pro-vaccine people on to talk about the issue—Dr. Sanjay Gupta appeared on an episode—and unlike some hosts, he’s not likely to do that just to turn them into targets. His presence is the ideal conduit to reach a skeptical vaccine audience. He is a great opportunity that should be eliminated.
Below, Rogan responds to the controversy.
My views on the controversy @spotify https://t.co/nijJgNSc7m
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) January 31, 2022