1970’s-era musicians including Neil Young and Nils Lofgren called for Spotify to de-platform Joe Rogan for interviewing a skeptic of the COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness.
- Young, joined by other musicians of yesteryear including Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren demanded Spotify remove their music if it kept streaming the Joe Rogan Experience.
- The episode that launched a thousand tweets was an interview with Dr. Robert Malone, who holds several mRNA patents but disagrees with most other scientists’ conclusions regarding vaccines’ effectiveness. Rogan has a reported $100 million exclusive contract with Spotify.
- Joe Rogan responded to his critics with a 10-minute Instagram video reinforcing his commitment to creating “interesting conversations” and expressing openness to interviewing experts with differing opinions right after controversial ones.
- Spotify responded to the criticism from artists and journalists by announcing it would add a “content advisory” notice presumably like the notice Instagram attaches to any post even tangentially related to COVID-19.
- In a case of a wish fathering a thought, the New York Times insisted “Spotify’s Joe Rogan problem isn’t going away” and that it posed an “existential question” for Spotify.
- The Washington Post ascribed Spotify’s decision to stand by Joe Rogan to Spotify’s status as a publisher, not a music company.
- Salon offered a standard-fare progressive take on the Rogan controversy, describing it as “anti-vaccine content” and characterizing Spotify’s actions as “begrudging.”
- Fox News covered a bizarre phenomenon: the loudest voices for censorship in today’s America tend to be journalists. CBS hosts argued with a straight face Rogan didn’t have a “First Amendment right” to have a podcast because its “dangerous.”
- The Commentary Magazine podcast treats the “Laurel Canyon soft-rock hippie totalitarians” with the scorn and mockery they deserve. Spotify will surely miss Neil Young’s hundreds of daily listeners, compared to Rogan’s millions of fans.
- National Review writes that Neil Young is “intolerant” for his refusal to even “share the internet” with Joe Rogan. NR also reminds readers that Young himself recorded an entire album’s worth of misinformation railing against GMOs.
The New York Times, the Washington Post and other left-wing media organizations demanding censorship have had it out for Joe Rogan long before this controversy. They almost gleefully sent out push notifications when he tested positive for COVID-19. They mocked him for taking ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies.
These same media outlets falsely insisted ivermectin was “horse medicine” even though it’s a 40-year old anti-parasitic medication used throughout the world. CNN’s chief medical correspondent was grilled on Rogan’s podcast for his networks “lies” about him and conceded that CNN should not have called ivermectin “horse dewormer.”
Neil Young’s self-important announcement provided the opportunity these organs of censorship were waiting for – and Young’s first opportunity to be relevant in decades. The Times seems to believe that just because journalists, washed up artists and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle declare something “misinformation,” that makes it so.
There is little evidence this Twitter tempest in a teapot is actually coming from Rogan listeners, or that Spotify users have abandoned the platform in any significant numbers. If Spotify and Rogan stand strong and don’t bow to the mob, this controversy should pass like most others that originate in the Twitter/left-wing media/cable news echo chamber.
© Dominic Moore, 2022