In a recent episode of Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe Rogan went on a rant about a story regarding government overreach in Australia, inadvertently highlighting the big problem critics have with his podcast.
Speaking with guest Bryan “Hotep Jesus” Sharpe, Joe Rogan confidently stated that the Australian government is about to ban citizens from growing their own food, and suggested that the intent was to “smoke out” anti-vaxxers. The only problem was, the story wasn’t real – there was no such law being proposed in Australia, or even New Zealand, as Rogan’s fact-checker searched the internet in vain for a story matching Rogan’s description.
Still convinced that the story was authentic, Rogan attempted to find the story himself, saying “That’s gotta be a real thing. It seems too good to not be.” After an awkward silence, Rogan expressed disappointment, before admitting defeat, saying: “Dammit! Better not be fake. It might be fake.”
In a bid to preserve Rogan’s dignity, Sharpe added: “But even if it’s fake, the fake is usually the warning.”
Rogan’s penchant for repeated fake news that he didn’t bother researching is as strong as ever; his disappointment upon realizing that the story wasn’t true speaks for itself, as does his guest’s insistence that Rogan’s vague memory of an imaginary story is a “warning.”
Last week, another viral clip highlighting the same issue that plagues the podcast – misinformation – shows Rogan defending his reputation to guest Doug Stanhope, after Stanhope reflected on how the show might be responsible for misinformation.
In the clip, Rogan passionately defends Alex Jones, the notorious disinformation peddler who frames national tragedies, like the Sandy Hook school shooting, as “false flags.”
Despite the clear signs that listeners shouldn’t rely on the podcast for factually accurate information (a point often repeated by Rogan himself), sometimes the podcast does interview experts, who offer genuine insight into their field of expertise. And sometimes, Rogan interviews self-proclaimed experts pushing pseudoscience like Ivermectin.
Rogan has always been the kind of guy who gets high while watching the History Channel and comes to the conclusion that aliens built the pyramids – but as his platform has grown, so has his credibility, and controversy soon followed.
It’s been a long time since Rogan was engulfed in a media storm for spreading medical misinformation – unsurprisingly, the ‘cancellation’ of the comedian podcaster resulted in a surge in subscriber growth, from all the internet attention that translated into free marketing.
Rogan has a massive platform, with millions of listeners, and he often chooses to shine his powerful spotlight on bad actors, pushing misinformation and outright lies.
And sometimes, he just wants to believe fake news that neatly aligns with his perspective.