Podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan is back in the media’s crosshairs. A few days ago, rock legend Neil Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify: The music platform could carry his music or they could carry The Joe Rogan Experience podcast but not both. The streaming company ended up siding with Rogan, a man they invested $100 million in back in 2020. But Young’s ultimatum led other music celebrities to follow suit, and legacy media outlets renewed their condemnation of Rogan’s podcast for “spreading misinformation.”
Mainstream media pundits claim that Rogan has spread falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine by having prominent vaccine skeptics such as Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough on his podcast. They conveniently ignore the fact that Rogan has platformed a range of perspectives on the COVID vaccine; for example, he had vaccine enthusiast Sanjay Gupta on as well.
Indeed, the move to smear Rogan for peddling “misinformation” is less about the truth than it is about a deeply unpopular mainstream media elite refusing to acknowledge its own failures, and how it lost its credibility with the American people.
As is typically the case during elite outrage cycles about Rogan, the leading voices calling for him to be censored and amplifying dishonest smears about him come from the same prominent institutions that have lied to the American public about a host of issues including Iraq, Russiagate, the likely origins of COVID-19, and a barrage of other stories with direct consequences for policymakers.
These massive errors of fact and judgment are why media trust among the American public has dropped to the lowest on record. It’s why people are switching to independent voices like Rogan who they view as a more reliable source of information.
And yet, you will never hear legacy media partisans asking why America trusts a podcaster whose interest in politics is more casual than, say, his fascination with mixed martial arts or psychedelic drugs. And the reason this question will never be asked is because the answer is too dangerous for media elites to contemplate, namely, Americans are right. The mainstream media in America should not be trusted.
In response to the massive growth of independent media, legacy media outlets and cable networks have responded not by looking inward at their crisis of credibility, but instead by pushing for an onslaught of censorship by Big Tech companies and other streaming services. Those of us who work in the independent media space understand well that if the pressure campaign to destroy Rogan’s show succeeds, the pro-censorship authoritarians will not hesitate to destroy us all.
Things aren’t looking good. A statement put out by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek promised the company would add a “content advisory” to podcasts with information about COVID that diverge from the narrative. After being inundated with pressure to do something about “misinformation” on popular podcasts, Ek caved to the top-down censorship campaign being pushed against Rogan and independent media at large.
Rogan himself said he supported the decision in an Instagram post responding to Spotify. But there’s a bitter irony to the fact that Rogan’s show will be labeled for false information about COVID after the mainstream media were the ones spreading state-sanctioned lies about the lab leak hypothesis, masking in schools, the efficacy of cloth masks, the effectiveness of lockdowns, and many other COVID guidelines that have proven to be a failure.
In order to fight back against the censorship campaigns being waged by elite media gatekeepers and their friends in polite society, it is not enough simply to advocate for free speech on every podcasting platform or media outlet. The American people must make their voices heard and continue to ditch mainstream media outlets whose job it is to lie to our faces for the sake of the regime.
We must use our ability to vote and participate in politics to ensure that tech companies and large corporate behemoths are unable to unilaterally censor anyone who they deem unworthy to speak freely.
Beyond that, intellectuals and pundits who have gone independent need to stand together in the war against freedom of expression being waged against everyone who has left the institutions whose dominance over our public discourse is slowly but surely slipping away.