The desire to claim Rogan’s scalp is turning mainstream media into a fake news factory.
Podcaster Joe Rogan stirred controversy this week when he commented on his show about whether young people should elect to be vaccinated against COVID, stating that he didn’t believe it was necessary for a healthy 21-year-old to receive the vaccine.
Those comments sparked a predicable firestorm and backlash from mainstream news outlets — predictable due in part to the highly sensitive environment surrounding public health information and the taboo on views that deviate from (ever-shifting) public health announcements and guidelines. But the response was also predicable due to Joe Rogan’s lightning rod status in today’s media and political environment. Rogan’s podcast is one of the largest and most influential media platforms in the country, rivaling the reach and audience size of cable news networks, and the platform’s independence allows it to transgress the more constrained and orthodox boundaries of debate and ideas found in traditional media environments (resulting in a palpable resentment of Rogan among many legacy media journalists and news executives).
Now, those news outlets have updated the story to report that Rogan has reversed his position and admitted to having a misinformed view. There’s just one problem with these reports: He didn’t do anything of the sort.
Bordering on outright fabrication, the media’s headlines are grossly distorting Rogan’s latest comments, ostensibly to claim a victory over a media figure regarded with a mix of jealousy and contempt throughout elite media circles. Below one can actually watch Rogan’s comments for themselves — something the media’s reporting about Rogan often relies on its audience not doing. And in it, it’s clear to see that Rogan is reiterating a common refrain from his show: That neither it nor he are a source of authoritative scientific or medical information, and that the show is an open platform for debate and a free exchange of ideas. What Rogan clearly does not do is what media [ … ]