Canceling Joe

Joe Rogan is amazing.

Five years ago, I left Fox to start Stossel TV. I left because I was frustrated by live TV. Guests talked so much but said little.

I now produce videos like the ones I used to do on “20/20.” I like having a month or more to do research and then more time to edit the video into a short clip that explains complicated things but is also fun to watch.

This edited model succeeded. Our short videos average 2 million views.

People are busy. They don’t want to sit through hours of live discussion.

But then Joe Rogan proved me wrong.

He talks to people, not for an hour, but often for three hours. Yet 11 million people stay to listen. Eleven million!

How does he do it? He had no journalism training. He acted on a sitcom and hosted the reality show “Fear Factor.” I happen to be a mixed martial arts fan, so I did notice that Rogan was the best commentator at UFC events.

But hosting three hours of serious talk with intellectuals like physicist Brian Cox or mathematician Roger Penrose without the visual gimmicks that make TV bearable is very different.

So, I started listening to Rogan’s podcasts. Suddenly, I found myself spending an hour, sometimes three, with Rogan and his guests. I learned more than I learn watching TV news.

I don’t really know how Rogan does it. Maybe it’s because he’s a good listener who asks good questions. He remembers what he learned from past interviews and uses those ideas when he questions other guests. He somehow makes three educational hours fun.

Now Rogan is being criticized for broadcasting “misinformation.”

He sometimes has anti-vaxxers on his show who claim COVID-19 vaccines are harmful. Rogan himself didn’t get vaccinated. He believes his natural immunity (he and his family had COVID-19) is enough protection. If he got COVID-19 again, he thinks it wouldn’t hurt him much because he’s fit, takes vitamins, etc.

I’m skeptical. I’m about to get my fourth dose of vaccine.

But I still like hearing Rogan question anti-vaxxers and other people with unusual ideas. I learn from his show.

But other people say, “Rogan must be stopped. He kills people by broadcasting ‘misinformation.'” Also, “He’s racist because he said the N-word.”

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and some other musicians who I bet have never listened to Rogan pulled their music from Spotify, the service that carries his podcast.

They and others demand Spotify drop his show.

Spotify hasn’t.

And Rogan, unlike many people attacked by the mob, didn’t hide.

He did what all of us should do if we’re attacked for something we say: fight back with more speech.

He quickly (without TV cosmetics — looks like he shot it in his backyard) released a video on Instagram, pointing out, “Many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact. … If you said, ‘I don’t think cloth masks work,’ you would be banned from social media. Now that’s openly and repeatedly stated on CNN. If you said, ‘I think it’s possible that COVID-19 came from a lab,’ you’d be banned from many social media platforms. Now that’s on the cover of Newsweek.”

Rogan is right. The smug arbiters of truth versus misinformation are often wrong.

Then Rogan faced another controversy. A video of him using the N-word was circulated. Rogan apologized but again fought back with more speech. He said he never called anyone the N-word; he’d only said it when others said it.

“I was quoting a Lenny Bruce bit,” said Rogan. “Or a Paul Mooney bit. Or I was talking about how Quentin Tarantino used it repeatedly in ‘Pulp Fiction.'”

Rogan’s a comedian who’s done thousands of shows and hundreds of podcasts. Of course he’ll make mistakes and offend some people. So what? He corrects his mistakes.

Let Rogan speak.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

45 thoughts on “Canceling Joe

  1. I don’t always agree with you, Mr. Stossel. But you are one of the last great honest journalists out there. Journalism isn’t about telling people what to think. It’s about giving people enough information to properly think for themselves. That means conversation, and allowing ourselves to get things wrong so that we can see our mistakes and correct them.

  2. John, I like your content, but you are wrong about interviewing people on TV. As a viewer, I am always frustrated by interviewers and producers who interrupt and cut off guests.
    Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson’s long-form interviews are a welcome relief from this frustration.
    I’m sure I am not the only one who feels this way.

  3. Joe Rogan uses time and stream of consciousness to cut through the b.s.
    When people demand only one hour or less
    they are trying not to be fully reveal their agenda, or true beliefs.

    1. I agree, except in the case of Neil Young, who was paid $150 million for half the rights to his catalog, he really didn’t have to “bite his nose”! Someone wrote that Young and Mitchell’s beef was not so much with Rogan, but with Spotify’s miniscule payments to musicians. Sounds right.

  4. Rogan is open to different ideas. I know he grew up a New Yorker, and had little idea of what is considered a good time in most areas of the country, hunting. My father, a WW2 vet, grew up in NYC (as did I), and went hunting. Once. He said he froze his ass off and never did it again. Rogan, on the other hand, was asked to go hunting by Steven Rinella, a professional hunter who has his own TV show about hunting. Rogan learned from the best, and he went out into the wild and actually hunted. Several times, and on TV. He actually learned how it was done and managed to bag some wild game. Now he is a competent hunter, and can discuss the activity with other hunters without the inability of non-hunters to understand what they do. Somehow this blends in with his ability to talk with people in many lines of work, and actually understand what they are talking about. He can put himself there, and discuss a variety of issues coming from a position of understanding. This is something most people in the news business cannot do, will not do.

  5. Funny how the counter culture of the 60’s who screamed about freedom of expression are now “big brother” trying to silence people THEY disagree with.

  6. I agree. There’s been only one opinion over the past 2 years with this pandemic, and why is that? Why can’t there be a second and third opinion? Why not community discussions? Why not doctor community discussion? No, only Dr. Fauci. It all makes no sense to me. I do enjoy watching you though, Mr. Stossel!

  7. I feel that truth is not truth if it doesn’t include differing opinions.
    I recently ran across this bit of wisdom…

    Of course “All Scientists Agree”
    When you censor out those who don’t!

  8. When I was in college, I swiped my dad’s copy of “Give Me a Break” and fell in love with it. You taught me so many lessons about healthy skepticism, deception, and mainstream narratives.

    So it comes as a shock that you – the person who influenced me to become a libertarian – are so trusting of the pharmaceutical industry when there are so many red flags. They’ve sold the public so many things that have ended up being detrimental to our health, you can still catch and spread the virus even with their vaccine, and in order for it to work you have to continuously take it every few months.

    I’m sincerely dumbfounded because I’ve considered you the voice of reason for decades. Aren’t you even a little bit skeptical?

    Dr. Malone and Dr. McCullough are not anti-vaxxers. That derogatory term has lost its meaning. It’s like calling someone racist for wearing a sombrero on Halloween. Both men are fully vaccinated (inoculations that actually work) against all kinds of ailments, and both even received their first Covid shots. So discounting their skepticism by labeling them anti-vax is trendy, but you’re too smart to go with the trends. That’s what drew me to you in the first place.

    I actually don’t agree with Joe Rogan on most things, but he’s now doing the work “real” journalists have failed to do. He’s asking the obvious questions we’ve all been wondering, sharing his skepticism honestly, and giving a platform to others who are informed and skeptical… kind of like what I remember you doing back in the day.

    1. Here’s what being a Libertarian means…you, as an individual, make choices for you. EVEN DR. MALONE SAYS THAT HE GOT THE VACCINATION. He has said several times that the risk/harm ratio for people over 65, is in favor of taking the vaccine. I’ve been a card-carrying Libertarian since 1974 and I made the INDIVIDUAL decision to get the vaccine.

  9. I appreciate you John Stossel, you have what many people lack today, common sense and a moral construct. I hope that one day, you encounter Jesus, the very essence of Truth.

  10. I agree. Let folks speak. I love your videos, Mr. Stossel. I share them most of the time. I do not always agree with you but I enjoy the fact that you use facts and share opposing views.

  11. Freedom of thought, speech, free exchange of ideas … even heated exchange of ideas, ability to freely research what we will …

    MUST BE RESTORED

  12. I believe the only way to make informed decisions is to see it from many angles and that is what free speech is about, if you only hear information from one source than you are only getting one perspective of information and not necessarily the truth. All people can make an informed decision but instead people want information banned if it does not meet there ideas or perspectives, which is wrong and I don’t agree with. EYE’S WIDE OPEN

  13. Right on Mr. Stossel. We need more media like that provided by yourself and Joe Rogan. It’s okay to be wrong and apologize for it ….. absolutely!
    Keep up the good work and thank you.

  14. Thanks for your videos on YouTube. I am happy to listen to your interviews. You enlighten me each time I watch your videos and your guests.

  15. I used to admire you because of your independent thinking and willingness to go against the accepted narrative. But if you’ve already had three shots and are contemplating a fourth one, you are suffering from Mass Formation Psychosis as explained eloquently by Dr. Robert Malone on Rogan’s podcast. It’s sad to see an independent thinker like you having fallen for the Gov’t and mainstream liberal media propaganda… 😳😢

  16. I am glad that people like yourself and Joe Rogan have started to do this medium. On tv it’s nothing but lies. This information is not what people expect when they turn on the news. That has all changed now so I refuse to watch TV at all. I listened to talk radio or podcast Joe Rogan is my favorite and now I get to read your Information I don’t have to worry I know I’ll get facts on both sides. Thank you

  17. Been a houg fan of yours for years. Love your work man please keep it up.
    I’m also a fan of joe but he did apologize for using the n-word, and in my opinion he should not have because he never used it in a racist way. He essentially bowed down the mob. Then Spotify removed 70 episodes of his presumably where the n-word was mentioned. I just can’t get on board with that. What’s your thoughts on this matter?

  18. Love listening to Joe Rogan & you because I feel I can trust what you present. You both try to get to the truth. Never telling people what to think but just laying out the facts, so people can make up their own minds. I really don’t like what is happening to the main stream media, our education system & our country, & pray for it every day. Please never stop fighting for our freedom of speech, thought & presenting all opinions & ideas, and I promise to never stop praying for you, Joe, our country & all who fight to uphold our constitution. Thank you for being brave & fighting cancel culture & for giving us, who think like you, a voice.

  19. Amen. He has interesting people on his podcast and asks them interesting thoight provoking questions. I don’t always agree with him or his guests, but I love the format and I never feel like he or his guests are telling me what to do or think, unlike MSM and their crackpots like Stelter, Lemon, Maddow and Tucker. His unrefined and unedited show make me feel like I’m getting raw information, not a heavily produced narrative funded by the corporate and political elite.

  20. Found Rogans podcast a couple of years before Spotify. Not so much into the drug use he promotes or the MMA stuff, but enjoy his format and guests nonetheless. Support him and anyone else who is labeled as “misinformation” compared to the main stream media outlets. I think they are jealous that he has significantly more listeners than they ever will. (Also enjoy your videos John.)

  21. Today, the feckless power-zealot Susan Diane Wojcicki, called on Global leaders to begin the process of limiting free speech. Why does she have the power to do this? Why is she not being stopped through the media using vilification and corporate pressure? The unbridled power of these people, a Global Cabal, perhaps 1500-2000 individuals who believe themselves superior to all others; eight billion give or take, is amazing to me. I am glad Joe Rogan continues to push back against these people and I support him 100%

  22. Thanks for your views on Joe Rogan . If you like him that means something to me John. However I am still very troubled by the “n” word video. I must admit the comment about the movie theatre re: “walking into the plant of the apes” comment hit me especially hard and felt ashamed for the first time for being white and have a new understanding why black people call all of us racist. If they are going to cancel Rosanne Barr for a tweet. They should cancel Joe for this 100% for sure. Or things will never change for the good. Not sure if I will every be able to listen to this guy on spotify. I am wrong here?

    1. Then Joe Biden must resign- along with many people the left holds as their leaders now. That word was often used by people of power.

      If you want to fix the past you are going to have ti cancel a lot people

  23. Re: “Anti-vaxxers” – You might want to see if you and your staffers can find some people who claim to have been harmed by vaccines. See if their stories are credible or not. See if you can find some family members of people who have died after being vaccinated and believe these deaths were caused by the vaccines. Talk to life insurance company executives and funeral home directors about death rates in the last 12 months. Compare Covid cases in heavily vaccinated Israel to countries with very low vaccination rates such as those in Africa. Of course, Rogan got in big trouble for interviewing the wrong type of people about COVID topics. Keep up the good work!

  24. Hi John, Love your pertinent, honest & timely videos. I just hope “fact checkers” from Social Media giants don’t try to limit your reach/content based on their own agendas. I agree completely regarding Joe Rogan. I’ve listened to many of his excellent 2-3 hour podcasts. I just retired from one of the Big Pharma companies that makes a vaccine. I’m pro-vaccine overall but I want full info on both sides. Joe is not anti-vaccine but he makes a valid point that if immunity is better from having had COVID does that person need to be vaccinated (especially if they can show strong antigen presence via validated tests?). Vaccinations & lockdowns are similar to Climate Change where we almost always hear only 1 side. True science is always questioning, always debating, always welcoming various data. It seems the media & especially those on the left-leaning side of politics don’t really want to follow “true science”? Ted in Texas

  25. Thank you for the work you do. You represent the last hope for real journalism, the way it used to and should be. And Joe Rogan represents free speech and reason in its truest form. The left is using misinformation as a weapon. Back in 2016, misinformation used to be actual made up stories, fake news websites that made up Lucidious stories that were meant to discredit opponents. Now misinformation is whatever the left and the woke democrats don’t agree with, regardless if it’s got any facts or proof. They’re trying to turn this country into a dystopian nightmare. Please keep up your amazing work.

  26. What anti-vaxxers has Joe had on Mr Stossel? I am not aware of any anti-vaxxers so please provide names would like to see for myself

  27. Mr. Stossel,
    We have gotten rid of Direct TV & all of the LOUSY TV that came with that $150.00 a month & we’ve (at 63 years old) never been happier. We just couldn’t listen to the talking heads of Fox (and those other) “news” stations blabber on about absolutely nothing anymore.
    I am outspoken – “they” say – about things that are important to me and I will NEVER back down – no matter how in my face this cancel culture mob gets. I’ve ALWAYS loved you and whatever you’re reporting on because you’re REAL and always have been. Journalism in its finest form – as it should be. Thank you.

  28. It’s like Rogan is saying no to the “and now this” mentality of most of our media feeds. That phrase comes from Neil Postman’s 1985 book “Amusing ourselves to Death.” He allows time to think, ponder and reflect.

  29. Totally agree, and appreciate the clear and concise description of what has happened here.

    The whole thing is just nuts. And dangerous, because the most screwed up among us are having so much influence over all of us, including the best of us. That is horrifically bad for America and must stop immediately. We strive for excellence, not submission to whoever yells the loudest.

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