Joe Rogan’s response to the Spotify misinformation controversy shows how ignorant he is of his influence
Spotify and Joe Rogan have been tiptoeing through a fiasco of misinformation allegations since Canadian artist Neil Young announced he would pull his music from the streaming service if they didn’t do something about ” The Joe Rogan Experience”.
Critics say the famous commentator’s podcast is spreading misinformation after two specific episodes were released with guests allegedly sharing inaccurate information about the COVID pandemic and vaccines.
Rogan has now addressed the controversy and tried to explain that his podcast was never about sharing facts, but rather about hearing different perspectives.
Fair enough. Anyone who thought Rogan was an accurate source of information on vaccine science is seriously mistaken.
But, Rogan eschewing responsibility on the basis that he was never qualified to give information about COVID-19 in the first place demonstrates an inability to recognize the consequences of his actions, regardless of intent.
Joe Rogan’s response to the controversy shows how ignorant he is of the influence he has.
Whether they should or not, people look to Rogan for “information” and he’s mistaken if he thinks some of his followers aren’t taking what he says as fact.
But Rogan doesn’t believe he’s spreading false information at all.
In his video which was posted both on Instagram and under the Joe Rogan Experience podcast page on Spotify, he explained how he thinks people have a “distorted perception” of his podcasts.
He claims to have introduced his two recent guests, Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, both vaccine skeptics, to hear their opinions on vaccines and the pandemic.
“These two people are very highly skilled, very intelligent, very accomplished, and they have a different view than the traditional narrative,” he explained.
“I don’t know if they are right. I don’t know because I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist,” says Rogan. “I’m just a person who sits and talks to people and has conversations with them. Am I wrong? Absolutely, I’m wrong, but I’m trying to correct them.”
Based on these comments, it seems that Rogan also has a distorted view of his podcast. He knows he doesn’t always share the facts with his listeners, but do they?
Does he really think his podcast doesn’t have the power to influence his subscribers, whether or not his content contains facts?
Joe Rogan’s influence is undeniable and what he does with that influence matters.
On Instagram, Rogan has 14.3 million followers, and his most recent video (speaking of the controversy) has received over 5 million views in the last 15 hours.
On Twitter, he has 8.1 million followers, and his tweet (in which he links to the Instagram video) was liked over 100,000 times in about 13 hours.
His “PowerfulJRE” YouTube channel where he used to post videos of the podcast before he went exclusive and only posted clips, has 11.8 million subscribers.
Now, Rogan is estimated to average 11 million viewers on each episode – which he uploads quite frequently, almost every other day.
It’s huge, and while “The Joe Rogan Experience” isn’t the most popular podcast of all time, it certainly is one of them.
What Rogan doesn’t see is confirmation bias. His podcast guests are generally conservative and right-wing. When talking about COVID, they are usually aligned with a viewpoint that is against the vaccine and efforts to slow the spread of COVID.
Many of his followers know this, so when people see that “Dr.” headline in someone’s name and that person says the COVID vaccine makes you break out into songs and dances every 45 minutes, they’re going to believe it because they want to believe it.
They were always going to believe it.
When Rogan says “I think,” or even fails to preface his words by making it clear that this is just his opinion, it doesn’t matter.
A lot of people “hate listening to” The Joe Rogan Experience, myself included.
I never took a single word of it to be true but it’s fun to laugh at him and his guests and hear what the other side is talking about but not everyone is in the same boat.
Rogan often calls himself “f——g dumb,” but even that doesn’t matter either. What matters is that if someone wants to hear that the vaccine is bad for you or that COVID is a hoax, they will use anything nearby to help them believe it’s true, and with tens of millions, that kind of power is dangerous and needs to be checked.
This is something Spotify announced they would be doing.
“One of the things Spotify wants to do, which I agree with, is at the start of these controversial podcasts – especially those about COVID – is put a disclaimer.”
They would include that the opinions of guests on his show have different opinions than the consensus of scientific experts and academics.
Hopefully this helps slow the spread of misinformation in a clear attempt by Spotify, which has lost billions of dollars as a result of this controversy, to clear its name.
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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and current affairs, social justice and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.