Spotify CEO Daniel Ek held an all-staff meeting about Joe Rogan, where he revealed he has already held nearly a dozen meetings to discuss the top-rated podcaster with concerned staff. “In the case of Joe Rogan, a total of 10 meetings have been held with various groups and individuals to hear their respective concerns,” said Ek, according to Vice News. “And some of them want Rogan removed because of things he’s said in the past.”
To add “context,” that meeting took place in September 2020, four months after Rogan signed a $100 million deal with the streaming platform. At the time, certain Spotify employees wanted to cancel Rogan over his allegedly “transphobic” comments. Ek noted that numerous employees objected to Rogan’s July 2021 interview with Abigail Shrier, author of the book “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” which Target removed from its store shelves in November 2020.
In fact Spotify, which deleted a total of 113 episodes of the podcast this month, opened its relationship with Rogan by removing 42 episodes of the show. “There were a few episodes they didn’t want on their platform, and I was like ‘Okay, I don’t care,’” Rogan said nonchalantly.
This forgotten history makes it clear that the effort to stifle Joe Rogan is neither new nor especially focused on COVID-19. It is an ongoing effort to purge the culture of any figure who does not espouse the left-wing party line, much less one who allows intellectual rogues and dissidents to speak uninterrupted. Each group had its own motive for seeking to suppress Rogan’s reach.
Rogan’s most potent would-be censor lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Biden administration has made clear it would like Spotify to act where the Constitution restrains the government. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said last month that Big Tech firms should “do the right thing” to “root out” rampant “misinformation” about the novel coronavirus. Last month, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki called on “all major tech platforms, and all major news sources for that matter, [to] be responsible and be vigilant to ensure the American people have access to accurate information on something as significant as COVID-19. That certainly includes Spotify.” She called Spotify’s warning label “a positive step, but there’s more that can be done.”
But the White House’s full-court press against the podcast, like that of Spotify’s Woke employees, began no later than last spring. Two White House officials took aim at Rogan within 24 hours last April. White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN that Rogan lacked the credentials to comment on the matter. “Did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking?” she asked, giggling in mockery. Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci told “The Today Show” that Rogan’s statement that not every single human being needed to get vaccinated was selfish nonsense that could get people killed. Fauci explained, “You may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else, who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome. So if you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s OK,” he said of Rogan. The only way to stop infection, Fauci argued fatuously, was to be fully vaccinated. The FDA then went on to deride ivermectin, which Rogan said helped him with his own bout of COVID, falsely portraying it as strictly a horse medication.
“We really have a once-in-a-generation opportunity right now to seize the moment … not only create jobs but create jobs for the long haul,” says White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield ahead of Biden’s address to Congress tonight.https://t.co/mrVyxXNd3R pic.twitter.com/vx2X8HH7gL
— New Day (@NewDay) April 28, 2021
The most visible flashpoint over the “Joe Rogan Experience” came in response to Rogan’s coverage of the COVID-19 mask and vaccination mandates. A group of 270 medical professionals called on Spotify to “establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform. When Spotify refused to remove Rogan from its platform, a group of aging rockers led by Neil Young; his former bandmates Crosby, Stills, and Nash; and Graham Nash’s ex-girlfriendJoni Mitchell pulled their music from Spotify. India Arie followed suit. The resultant publicity likely did not hurt their sales. Young’s songs have reportedly seen a 38% increase in streaming since he inserted himself into the controversy.
Two pairs of politically inclined podcasters soon raised objections: Barack and Michelle Obama, and former royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Both left-wing power couples have something in common: Neither highly compensated pair has produced much in the way of results for Spotify. “Harry and Meghan have produced a lone 33-minute holiday special since inking a reported $25 million Spotify contract in December 2020” and “currently don’t have anything else in development,” reported Vanity Fair. “The Obamas, whose 2019 deal was rumored to be in the same general ballpark … are more interested in lifting young new voices than carrying shows themselves.” That is, the Obamas wanted to be paid without working and apparently had reason to seek greener pastures.
Members of the legacy media attacked Rogan, as well. CNN’s Brian Stelter virtually went apoplectic by noting that “figures like Rogan are trusted by people that don’t trust” CNN. The most recent video gladdened the heart of CNN host Jim Acosta, who said, “To me, it seems untenable to have that kind of video surface, that kind of compilation surface, and keep one’s job.” Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan tied Rogan to a friend’s death from COVID-19, although she admitted, “I don’t know for sure whether getting vaccination and booster shots would have saved [his] life. And I have no idea whether he had ever listened to Joe Rogan’s podcast.” The source of the legacy media’s outrage is not hard to discern: Rogan said in 2019 that his podcast is downloaded 190 million times a month, with each episode attracting 11 million listeners. Stelter, et. al., see in Rogan an unapproved source of information whose reach, ratings, and respect exceed their own. They would hardly be the first legacy media outlet to attack a podcast they fear is eclipsing them.
The few legacy media figures who asked why Joe Rogan had a better reputation than they did found themselves caught up in allegations of racism. “We in the media might want to spend more time thinking about why so many people trust him instead of us,” wrote New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg on Twitter. He received a forceful rejoinder from his colleague Nikole Hannah-Jones, who produced the Times’ 1619 Project. “We need to understand why millions of Americans don’t mind the open racism? It’s not a mystery. Been reporting on it for years,” she replied, without citing any evidence of Rogan’s racism.
But well-funded leftists had been gunning for Rogan for some time. In December 2021, Media Matters released a hit piece titled “Joe Rogan Wrapped: A year of COVID-19 misinformation, right-wing myths, and anti-trans rhetoric.” Among other statements, the group criticized Rogan for saying a “there’s no way” a bearded male who identifies as female is a woman and for critiquing President Joe Biden for falsely associating Kyle Rittenhouse with “white supremacists.” Media Matters — which was founded by acknowledged liar David Brock with the support of a constellation of left-wing donors, including George Soros — has a long history of attacking conservative commentatorsand twisting their words.
The most recent example of this may come from a video that shows Rogan using the racial slur “n***er” numerous times in comedy bits and impersonations over the last decade. The viral video’s creators apparently snipped Rogan quoting others who used the word, rather than exposing him somehow repeatedly using a racist epithet on the world’s most successful podcast sub rosa. RealClear Investigations has highlighted a theory about who produced the video and why. A Twitter user points out that the video was shared by “PatriotTakes,” which in turn notes that it is “partnered with” MeidasTouch, a Democratic super PAC founded by brothers Ben, Brett, and Jordan Meisales in 2020. The user speculates that the PAC, which specializes in video production and media buys, created the video to prove their firm’s clout. “If a group could cancel Rogan it would be a MASSIVE show of power,” the account says. Rolling Stone has accused MeidasTouch of “opaque” financial practices, presiding over “a huge waste of donor money,” and intimidating reporters when they threatened to go public. “A ceaseless barrage of misinformation followed, with MeidasTouch rallying its legions of social media followers to join the campaign,” the magazine reported. If true, MeidasTouch has both political and financial incentives to take down Joe Rogan.
Since you asked, and I love your work, I'll tell you.
This is a professional political attack. Three waves one right after the other is not a coincidence. Good spacing, good timing, so it's absolutely professional.
But who was it you ask?
That takes some digging but… https://t.co/qomYCL8dzK
— Wokal Distance (@wokal_distance) February 6, 2022
What is the Left’s real motivation in canceling Rogan? Rogan has held conversations with everyone from Amy Schumer, W. Kamau Bell, Dan Savage, Neil deGrasse Tyson, to Elon Musk, Jordan Peterson, Tulsi Gabbard, Candace Owens, Adam Carolla, COVID-19 dissenter Alex Berenson, and even Alex Jones. Rogan likewise has exposed the Biden administration’s overkill on the January 6th riot, pressed CNN over its egregious misinformation, defended Christians, mocked CNN fact-checkers, and fearlessly exposed Hollywood stars’ hypocrisy on gun control.
The Cancel Rogan movement represents “a coordinated attack against someone who committed the cardinal sin of independent thought,” said Fox News host Will Cain. “We need someone like that to chart a course that brings an audience that helps tear down this really rotten and corrupt … corporate economy that’s now sold out basic fundamentals of Western civilization.”
The attempt to cancel Rogan has sometimes backfired on his would-be inquisitors. Bestselling author Don Winslow apparently alerted “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson to the video of racial epithets, causing Johnson to backtrack on his support for Rogan. But a Twitter thread cited 57 examples of Winslow using the same racial slur. Others seemingly recognized their own podcast’s irrelevance in comparison with Rogan’s. Former President Donald Trump’s estranged niece, Mary Trump, announced she was removing her podcast from Spotify, noting with due humility, “I know it’s not a big deal but hope it will be part of a growing avalanche.”
President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind the podcaster — and given him a bit of unsolicited advice. “Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he’s got to stop apologizing to the Fake News and Radical Left maniacs and lunatics,” the 45th president said on February 7. “Joe, just go about what you do so well and don’t let them make you look weak and frightened. That’s not you and it never will be!” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Donald Trump Jr., and Dana Loesch have made similar statements.
Joe Rogan could be living proof that a humble man with intellectual curiosity can defy the censorious Left, entertain his audience, inject real diversity into the national conversation, — and have multiple platforms competing to host his show. Amidst the latest controversy, Rumble offered Rogan $100 million to move his podcast to their anti-censorship video hosting service for four years. “This is our chance to save the world,” wrote CEO Chris Pavlovski.
“And yes,” he added, “this is totally legit” — which is more than Rogan’s critics can say about their ginned-up outrage.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.