It’s Monday, February 7th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) New Censorship Push Against Joe Rogan
The Topline: A week after dominating headlines following calls for censorship from singers, TV hosts and even the White House, Joe Rogan — the world’s most famous podcast host — received further criticism after old clips were re-posted showing him using racial slurs and other language deemed “offensive” on his show.
Quote Of The Day: “Now I know that to most people there’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, nevermind publicly on a podcast. And I agree with that now, I haven’t said it in years, but for a long time when I would bring that word up, like if it would come up in conversation, instead of saying ‘the n word’ I would just say the word. I thought as long as it was in context, people would understand what I was doing.”
– Joe Rogan in a video posted to his Instagram Saturday
Last week, a number of artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from Spotify because the platform allowed Joe Rogan to post interviews with scientists and doctors who questioned the mainstream narrative on COVID, as well as the government’s COVID response. Members of the Biden administration also appeared to call for Spotify to censor Rogan, but the platform mostly stood firm, saying they’d keep the show but would add a content advisory to any episodes discussing COVID.
Then, after a video was posted on Twitter showing Rogan using the “n-word” multiple times throughout the last decade as part of his comedy routines and other segments on the podcast, a new wave of people called for the show to be removed.
70 episodes of the podcast were quietly removed on Friday at the request of Rogan, according to reports.
Rogan posted a video on Saturday addressing the situation, and went on to say he only ever used the word when quoting others or impersonating movies or stand-up routines.
Detractors of Rogan say the apology isn’t enough, and there’s never an excuse for a white person to use such language, even if he or she is a comedian. Many equated his words with “violence” and “white supremacy.”
Supporters said an apology wasn’t necessary, and said the comments might be considered offensive by some, but the point of comedy is to push boundaries, which sometimes results in people being offended. They view the calls for Rogan to be removed as an excuse to censor his opinions on other issues like COVID and transgenderism, and less about people being offended by what he had to say in the old clips.
Many supporters have also noted that the artists boycotting Spotify over Joe Rogan didn’t appear to take issue with the platform hosting music from convicted rapists like R Kelly, or domestic abusers like Chris Brown.
Remember: Rogan has 11 million listeners per episode, which is more than double the combined primetime broadcasts of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox.
2) China Under Scrutiny During Olympic Games
The Topline: China’s reported use of a Uyghur Muslim as an Olympic torchbearer has sparked comparisons of Communist China with Nazi Germany using oppressed minorities as “human shields.”
On Sunday, Jake Tapper made headlines when he compared China to Nazi Germany.
Around a month ago, the Chinese Olympic Organizing Committee warned athletes that they needed to keep their comments within the Olympic spirit, with the implication being they should not be saying anything that might offend the Chinese communist government.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also gave two warnings to American athletes, saying they should not speak out and should compete and come home, because she was afraid the brutal regime in China might do something to them or their families.
On “The View,” Ana Navarro, whose family fled oppression in Nicaragua when Noriega was the dictator, said it was un-American and if they had the courage to speak out, they should be allowed to do so.
Al Sharpton also said that he normally supports Pelosi, but he said on “Morning Joe” that he disagreed with her and noted that telling the athletes not to say anything was somewhat of a de facto normalization of China’s behavior.
The games will continue this evening.
3) U.S. COVID Cases On The Decline
The Topline: After reaching an all time high on January 14th, Omicron cases are declining in the U.S. with new research suggesting the Omicron wave may have contributed to more widespread immunity.
Quote Of The Day: “Overall, natural immunity has been shown now in several studies to be stronger than vaccinated immunity by three times to five times a difference and our study found that antibodies were present for nearly two years after infection.”
– Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins
According to the latest official data, the U.S. saw its record high in new cases in mid-January, but they’ve been dropping precipitously since that time.
At the peak, there were around 800,000 recorded cases per day, but by February 4th, that number was down to about 300,000. The 2021 high mark was around 250,000 new cases per day at its highest point.
The U.S. curve is around 10 days ahead of the worldwide infection curve, but cases are dropping in almost every region.
At its peak, the U.S. and Canada region was showing the highest per capita case rate in the world at about 228 per 100,000 on January 14th. The next highest was Europe, which peaked at about 207 per 100,000, according to a graph published by The New York Times.
Several doctors have pointed out that because Omicron is extremely infectious but also very mild, it may have had the effect of inoculating millions of people against future waves – or at least partially inoculating people. New research suggests natural antibodies could be very long lasting.
Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins said his research team conducted a study and found that antibodies were present in 99.3% of unvaccinated people who had COVID. They discovered their protection was strong against Omicron and that the antibodies prevented severe illness and prevented getting the infection with a 50% efficacy, which he said is often better than vaccines.
According to Dr. Makary, people with natural immunity may be less likely than vaccinated individuals to spread the infection, but he also says that distinction may be missing the point. The real issue is and has always been, he said, preventing hospitalizations and severe disease, which both natural immunity and vaccine immunity appear to do well.