Controversy surrounding joe rogan : what’s behind the podcast “the joe rogan experience”??

In his podcast, the US comedian spreads misinformation about Corona. His style strikes a chord – and influences millions of listeners.

Left: Singer Neil Young at a concert in Quebec in 2018. Right: Joe Rogan at the UFC championship in Las Vegas. 2021

Joe Rogan has become known to a wider public at least since the Neil Young and Spotify dispute: Young demanded that the streaming service delete the latter’s show. Otherwise he will take down his own songs. The background is that Rogan spreads misinformation about the coronavirus in his podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience".

But Spotify decided to go with the comedian. Possibly also because the company acquired exclusive rights to his podcast in September 2021 – for $100 million. According to "Zeit Online," this makes Rogan one of the highest-paid entertainers in the world.

What is the Rogan phenomenon all about?? It would be too easy to reduce him to a comedian who gives space to crude theses about the corona virus. Rogan has the power to influence tastes, politics and health decisions, writes the U.S. New York Times newspaper. She calls him a "crusader against the cancel culture".

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In 2019, Rogan says his podcast was downloaded 190 million times per month. Some episodes reach listeners in the double-digit millions. By comparison, the most popular television host in the U.S., Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, has about three million viewers per episode.

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Rogan’s career as an entertainer got off to an early start: at the age of seven or eight, he performed a magic trick in San Francisco, reports The New York Times. In 1988, he began his stand-up career in a bar. From then on, he shimmied from roles on sitcoms to a role as a game show host to his own podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," starting in 2009.

What makes the show, and probably the Rogan phenomenon, so special is the selection of his guests and the culture of conversation. In the U.S., there are many who feel disconnected from the academic elite and media scene, and fear a "cancel culture". "You just can’t be "woke" enough – that’s the problem," Rogan said in May. A podcast that prides itself on being free-thinking and that comedian Marc Mellon calls a "monoculture of free-thinkers," according to the "New York Times," is right on target with the desire to escape the rules.

Rogan’s guest selection is controversial

Rogan’s choice of interviewees is often controversial: In addition to right-wing authors like Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos, far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been a guest several times. Spotify has since deleted an episode with Jones due to several complaints.

Even though many things suggest that Rogan clearly belongs to the right-wing camp, he himself does not want to belong to any political direction: He does not choose his guests on the basis of political considerations, he decides according to sympathies. That’s how he ended up interviewing left-wing politician Bernie Sanders, he says, simply because he liked him.

Rogan is an attentive conversationalist who engages fully with his counterpart and gives the other person space. The 53-year-old discusses with everyone at eye level, never gets personal in disagreements and thus manages to create a certain closeness to his guest.

When entrepreneur Elon Musk was with him, the episode went viral as the two smoked a joint together. Musk’s notoriety gave Rogan’s podcast the boost it needed to reach the heights of the streaming world – and stay there. Meanwhile, it’s Rogan who gives his guests a high-profile push.

His show has also featured an increasing number of conspiracy theorists, such as U.S. virologist Robert Malone, who was involved in the early development of mRNA vaccines but has since become an anti-vaccination activist. Rogan’s concept is simple: "You can say whatever you want to. We’re Here on Spotify." Rogan himself shares posts on Twitter warning of vaccine damage in children and writes that healthy young people should not get vaccinated.

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More than 270 scientists and doctors have petitioned Spotify: Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misinformation about the Corona pandemic, provoking distrust in science, Zeit Online reports. According to several media reports, no official statement came from Spotify about this. Rogan himself counters such attacks by calling himself "not a respected source of information".

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