News and Analysis

It’s Not Parody, CNN Really Can’t Figure Out Why Joe Rogan Is So Popular
A man is seen holding with a smart device in front of a CNN logo in this photo illustration on 2 July, 2017.
Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

CNN is determined to figure out why Joe Rogan’s podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” is so darned popular, with millions of listeners around the world. To help crack the case, the media company comprised of journalism graduates and fearless truth-tellers, as Don Lemon might say, interviewed two “experts” as to why Rogan has such a loyal following.

The segment sounded like a parody as it offered the most basic of advice for straight-news journalism — which CNN supposedly partakes in on a daily basis. In short, CNN’s guests reported back that Rogan is successful because he interviews people across the political spectrum, trusts his audience to make up their own mind, and is entertaining thanks to his background in comedy.

That’s it. That’s the secret sauce for the JRE. It’s not really a surprise, but to CNN it deserved its own spotlight and film production.

“Joe Rogan is one of the most popular podcast hosts in the world, despite a series of controversies. CNN Business spoke with a researcher who has studied his appeal to explain why his audience loves him,” CNN tweeted.

“Joe Rogan hosts one of the most popular podcasts in the world,” a voice over says over a montage of Rogan saying that he is not an anti-vax person.

“But despite his claims, he has used his platform to make false and inaccurate statements about COVID-19 and vaccines,” the narrator continues.

Rogan is then heard saying that if “you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well..I don’t think you need to worry about this,” in reference to COVID-19.

The narrator claims that despite false claims like that as well as a racist jokes — for which Rogan apologized — he remains “wildly popular.”

“The question is, why?” the narrator said.

To figure out how in the world Rogan has an audience, CNN interviewed Gabriel Wisnewski-Parks, a research fellow at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours listening to Joe Rogan,” Wisnewski-Parks said in the video.

“What makes him so magnetic to his audience is his very vocal resistance to tribalism,” the research fellow explained. “This is somebody who can have on his podcast Ben Shapiro and Alex Jones, and have deep and interesting, meaningful conversations with them and then in one other breath he can have on Cornell West and Bernie Sanders and do the exact same thing.”

“And this really resonates with people,” Wisnewski-Parks had to explain to CNN. The UNC at Greensboro also said his background as a comedian should not be underestimated in its appeal either.

Another guest whom CNN interviewed explained that Rogan does not edit and produce his conversations the way some outlets do. Audiences tend to like not being forced into one line of thinking, she told the network.

“Joe Rogan does have these off-the-cuff conversations, and I think that there’s a reason why that format has become so popular.” Kat Rosenfield, a cultural writer, also told CNN.

“The audience feels they’re being trusted to draw their own conclusions,” Rosenfield said of JRE. “And that stands in really stark contrast to the way that a lot of other outlets have sort of shifted in the direction of covering the news, and analyzing the news, in the way that really feels like they’re pushing the audience towards making the proper conclusions.”

Ultimately, “Joe Rogan’s podcast absolutely has the potential to be dangerous,” Wisnewski-Parks concluded,”…but it can be just as dangerous if we’re going to start censoring because we need to figure out how to keep open those lines of communications in a way that is both critical and willing to question Joe Rogan’s authority but at the same time recognizes that his appeal and popularity are already entrenched in his audience — and that’s not going anywhere.”

On Thursday, The Daily Wire reported that CNN’s Alysin Camerota was “officially out of ideas” as to what to do about Joe Rogan as the podcaster continued on without being canceled and banished from society as so many on the left want to happen.

Considering that Rogan has about 11 million listeners per episode while CNN often doesn’t have 2 million viewers per day, maybe all she and her colleagues at CNN should do is try to copy his practice of interviewing guests on all sides of a given issue, allowing the audience to make their own decisions, and bringing with them a sense of humor each day to the television screen.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  It’s Not Parody, CNN Really Can’t Figure Out Why Joe Rogan Is So Popular