Joe Rogan is an amazing person.
Fox TV was my first choice, and I decided to create Stossel TV five years ago. Live TV frustrated me so I quit. The guests talked so much, but they said very 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.
The edited model was a success. Our short videos average 2 million views.
People are always busy. People don’t have the time to listen to hours upon hours of live conversation.
Joe Rogan then proved me to be wrong.
He speaks to people for nearly three hours, often talking for over an hour. 11 million listen to him. Eleven million!
What is his secret? 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.
However, it is extremely different hosting three hours worth of conversation with intellectuals like Brian Cox and Roger Penrose without all the visual tricks that make television entertaining.
Then I began listening to Rogan podcasts. Rogan and his guests were so entertaining that I was spending at least an hour with them. More than what I see on television news, I learned from Rogan.
Rogan’s method is something I have never seen. Perhaps it is because Rogan listens well and asks great questions. In his past interviews, he can recall what he’s learned and use those insights when questioning other guests. His three hours of education are somehow enjoyable.
Now Rogan is being criticized for broadcasting “misinformation.”
Sometimes, he has anti-vaxxers who say COVID-19 vaccinations are dangerous. Rogan was not vaccinated. Rogan believes that his natural immunity, which he had COVID-19 with his family, is sufficient protection. He believes that he would not be hurt if he took COVID-19 once more, as he is healthy and takes vitamins.
I’m skeptical. My fourth shot of the vaccine is about to be administered.
Rogan’s questions on anti-vaxxers are still entertaining to me. His show is a source of information for me.
But other people say, “Rogan must be stopped. By spreading misinformation, he kills.’” Also, “He’s racist because he said the N-word.”
Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and other artists who, I’m sure, have not listened to Rogan, pulled their music via Spotify, which carries Rogan’s podcast.
These and other people demand that Spotify remove his show.
Rogan did not hide, unlike other mob members.
When we are attacked because of something we have said, he did the right thing: he fought 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. … You would have to be removed from all social media if you stated that cloth masks don’t work. CNN now makes it clear that CNN repeats this assertion. If you claimed that COVID-19 may have been created in a laboratory, you would likely be removed from most social media platforms. Now that’s on the cover of Newsweek.”
Rogan was right. The arbiters who mugly decide truth from misinformation are frequently wrong.
Rogan then faced another controversy. The internet circulated a video showing Rogan using the N-word. Rogan apologized and fought back again with more speech. Rogan said that he had never used the N-word against anyone; it was something he said when someone else said it.
“I was quoting a Lenny Bruce bit,” said Rogan. “Or a Paul Mooney bit. It was also a reference to Quentin Tarantino’s repeated use of it in “Pulp Fiction.”‘”
Rogan is a comedian with thousands of episodes and many podcasts. Naturally, he will make mistakes and offend certain people. But that’s okay. So what?
Let Rogan speak.
John Stossel is creator of Stossel TV and author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”