All three major broadcast networks continued on Monday morning to do their part in the push to remove Joe Rogan from the public square over his top-rated Spotify podcast under the guise of COVID-19 falsehoods. In the case of ABC, CBS, and NBC, they ratcheted up the rhetoric from when they first covered it last week, calling his show and views “dangerous” “misinformation” with one implicitly tying him to Americans who’ve died from the virus.
CBS Mornings was the most sinister, insisting they support “free speech” and First Amendment rights while also demanding Rogan be prevented from having a “massive” “platform as large as Spotify” because “a lot of people do listen to” him.
“What to Watch” host Vladimir Duthiers reported on “developments in the controversy over misinformation...on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast” with rocker Neil Young having his music removed from Spotify because he “and others say...Rogan’s show promote[s] false information about COVID-19 and the vaccines.”
It should be noted Young’s 2006 tour was entitled “Freedom of Speech” as a slight against George W. Bush. How the tables have turned for this hippie!
Boasting of Rogan’s “apologetic but defensive tone” in a video “responding to accusations that he's responsible for spreading false statements,” Duthiers argued he’s “spread...claims that the drug ivermectin is a treatment for COVID and microchips are in vaccines” and, just last month, “he spoke with two doctors known for promoting vaccine falsehoods.”
He then spoke to Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band about his decision to remove his own music, explaining that Rogan’s “turn[ed]” his “back” on medical workers and that this effort isn’t bout stifling debate:
LOFGREN: It’s not about any censorship. We’re all for free speech. We just don't want to be associated with misinformation and lies that are killing Americans.
DUTHIERS: Covid misinformation has been a battle for tech companies for the past two years as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok have all faced criticism for handling users' posts.
Back live, Duthiers tag-teamed with the co-hosts to tie Rogan’s show to COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths (click “expand”):
DUTHIERS: So let me just share with our viewers some of the actual numbers. The CDC says unvaccinated adults are 68 more times at risk of dying than fully vaccinated and boosted adults. Check these out — hospitalization rates for the unvaccinated, that number shoots up as high as 90 people for every 100,000. So those are the numbers. So, Rogan —
GAYLE KING: Those are the facts.
DUTHIERS: — those are the facts.
DOKOUPIL: Those are the facts.
NATE BURLESON: Those are the facts.
KING: Those are the facts.
Duthiers greased the skids by saying he told Lofgren that “some are saying that you're trying to censor Joe Rogan,” but the aged rocker said “he believes in the First Amendment, he believes that Joe Rogan and anybody else has a First Amendment right to say whatever they want;” but he himself “doesn’t want his artistry associated with the platform that would allow misinformation.”
Socialist co-host Tony Dokoupil insisted that “[y]ou have a First Amendment right to say what you want,” but not “First Amendment right to appear on a platform as large as Spotify.”
Dokoupil conceded “Rogan is correct that the medical world gets stuff wrong,” but maintained “there's a process by which [it] corrects itself, and that...is not interviewing guys on the fringe...on your massive platform.”
If that’s the case, why hasn’t any medical elites faced consequences?
“It’s not censorship...[T]hey're ensuring quality,” he added.
Instead of considering why 11 million people are listening to each of Rogan’s episodes and only 2.5 million to CBS Mornings, co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King argued:
[P]eople say, well, turn it off. You don't have to listen to it. The thing is, a lot of people do listen to it, and they're getting false, incorrect information and that's why it seems so dangerous.
After co-host Nate Burleson fretted Rogan “has a huge reach,” Dokoupil denounced Rogan for “hav[ing] a conversation” about controversial topics because “it’s a life or death issue” and “not an opinion about space or something.”
Though far less overt, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today were still pro-censorship foot soldiers.
On ABC, correspondent Chris Connelly touted the “battle over the star podcaster and his alleged spreading of COVID vaccine and treatment misinformation...including promoting the drug ivermectin, despite FDA warnings that it’s not been shown to help...and may be dangerous.”
Bolstering the case for censorship, Connelly suggested Lofgren and Joni Mitchell (who also removed her music) should be listened to because “both...were stricken with polio before there was a vaccine.”
Going to NBC, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie spoke in a tease of the “Spotify showdown with more artists, stars, and royals applying pressure and demanding action” even though “critics” are “say[ing]” that “[t]he changes and the streaming platform are making” aren’t “enough.”
Correspondent Emilie Ikeda had the report and here were some highlights (click “expand”):
IKEDA: Spotify's CEO says it's important they’re not a content censor but acknowledges they need to do more to provide balance when it comes to medical information — misinformation, rather. Overnight Joe Rogan agreeing to help with that goal, whether that will slow the number of artists leaving the music stream, only time will tell. This morning, Joe Rogan speaking out —
ROGAN: I don't always get it right.
IKEDA: — responding to backlash against his popular podcast where he’s known for questioning vaccine safety and recently interviewed a controversial virologist who suggested Americans were hypnotized into getting vaccinated.
ROGAN: And I am interested in having interesting conversations with people that have differing opinions.
IKEDA: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chiming in. Their organization Archwell says it's “expressing concerns with Spotify to ensure changes to the platform are made to help address this public health crisis.”
IKEDA: And Spotify's rivals are pouncing on the controversy. Apple Music, for example, calling itself “the home of Neil Young.” And we should mention Rogan hasn't directly responded to our requests for comment, but has previously said people shouldn't look to him for medical advice.
This open example of collusion to censor those the liberal media oppose was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as McDonald’s on ABC, Ensure on CBS, and Dove on NBC. Follow the links to their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.