I know everyone wants to know what I think about Joe Rogan and Neil Young. So I wrote this.
Joe Rogan issued an apology about the whole Neil Young/Spotify/Covid Misinformation kerfuffle. And since I know the world is dying to know what I think about the whole thing, I have written down some thoughts about apology.
If you are living under a rock, you can read about the whole slap fight here. Basically, Neil Young (then Joni Mitchell) wanted his music removed from Spotify is they were going to keep Joe Rogan’s podcast on the platform. People are pissed at Rogan for spreading some misinformation about Covid, and other people are pissed at Young et. al. for trying to “cancel” Joe Rogan while they vaguely yell “Free speech”. (Some people are even trying to compare calls for Rogan being removed from Spotify to a Tennessee school board banning the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Maus”. They are not at all the same, by the way. Just think for 2 seconds about the entity trying to do the banning in both these cases to figure out why.)
Anyway, Joe Rogan has issued and apology. You can view the apology here:
I’ve written my thoughts in response to the apology with time stamps addressing specific comments that Rogan makes:
0:35: He mentions the two episodes that people have particular issues with. The guests in question are Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone.
For sure, both of these guys are highly credentialed in their fields. But Peter McCullough’s field is cardiology. He’s not an expert epidemiology or vaccines. Yet on the podcast, McCullough makes a bunch of objectively incorrect statements about the vaccines, masks, how the virus spreads, and he even claims the pandemic was planned. He also does not seem to understand VAERS very well and how the data is collected. You can read a nice summary of the claims, complete with why they are incorrect, here.
Robert Malone’s story is a wild one. I won’t summarize it in this post, but I encourage you to read all about it here.
1:40: Rogan says: “8 months ago if you said if you get vaccinated you can still catch covid and you can still spread covid. You would be removed from social media. They would ban you from certain platforms. Now that’s accepted as fact.”
No no no no no. No vaccine is 100% effective. All vaccines can do is lower the risk of catching a disease, which also lowers the risk of spreading it. The original efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine for instance was 95%. Which means that some vaccinated people got Covid. It’s literally in the journal article describing the study. It’s right in the abstract. This statement is complete nonsense. (Update: A commenter pointed out that Biden was saying things like “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” and “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.” This was never true. All vaccines do is lower your risk. In this case these vaccines lower your risk a lot. Side note: One of the biggest failures of this entire pandemic is the communication from public health organizations to the public. It has been absolutely awful. It was awful under Trump and awful under Biden. Public health officials need to totally rethink how they communicate top the public because its been an un mitigated failure.)
And “I don’t think cloth masks work. You would be banned from social media. Now that’s openly and repeatedly stated on CNN.”
I’m pretty sure no one was banned from social media for saying that cloth masks don’t work. Can anyone find ANY example of this? (Update: So I was wrong. Apparently Rand Paul was banned from YouTube for 7 days for saying that “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work. They don’t prevent infection,” adding that “cloth masks don’t work.” While cloth masks certainly don’t guarantee that you won’t get Covid, they definitely work in lowering the risk of spreading covid.
“If you said, I think it’s possible that Covid 19 came from a lab. You would be banned from many social media platforms. Now that’s on the cover of Newsweek.”
Newsweek is a “zombie magazine” peddling right wing and alt-right conspiracy theories. It’s trash now.
2:31: He totally admits to getting things wrong. And he does admit when he’s wrong. Somegtimes. He says: “whenever he gets something wrong, he tries to correct it”
I’ve listened to my fair share of Rogan podcasts and he does admit when he’s wrong. A lot. But he seems to just double down on Covid mistakes. It’s odd. Because he’s so open to being wrong about other things.
2:37: “Cause I’m interested in telling the truth. I’m interested in finding out what the truth is”
There are some people out there who are all like “He’s a comedian. You shouldn’t be getting medical advice from a comedian”. This is very true. But in the context of this podcast, he isn’t a comedian. He’s not telling jokes or performing. He even says himself, he is trying to find the truth. So he’s not acting like a comedian in this context.
2:46: “I’m interested in having conversations with people who have differing opinions”.
Sure. Fine, but some of these people’s “opinions” are factually wrong. And just because someone has a differing opinion doesn’t make them worth talking to. Flat-earthers have a different “opinion”, but they aren’t worth talking to because they are factually wrong. And some of his guests are simply factually wrong about stuff.
3:20: I’m interested in finding out what is correct”.
Again, he’s not a comedian here!
3:55: He talks about the Spotify disclaimer.
He’s totally open to the Spotify disclaimer.
5:25: He tells a Neil Young story.
The Neil young story is great. He even references Mansfield, MA and Great Woods!
7:35: “I’m not trying to promote misinformation”.
I genuinely believe him. The issue here is that he has the largest podcast in the world. And he seems to not understand what they means. Millions of people are listening to this stuff and he seems totally unprepared for that.
7:55: “the podcast started of as just fucking around with my friends. and having fun and talking”
He even seems to admit this. He just wants to talk to people. The problem, again, is that millions of people listen to this podcast, and he is giving people a MASSIVE platform to share their ideas. This podcast is HUGE. So, I think it’s probably not a responsibility he ever wanted, but he probably needs to think a bit harder about who he gives his platform to.
8:50: “It’s a strange responsibility to have this many viewers and listeners. It’s very strange.”
It is VERY strange.
9:26: “Thank you to the haters. It makes you assess what you’re doing”.
I wish I had as many haters as he did.
Posted on February 1, 2022, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
In mid-2021, Rand Paul was banned from YouTube for 7 days for “claiming cloth face masks are ineffective against the coronavirus”, according to NBC News (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/youtube-suspends-sen-rand-paul-over-video-falsely-claiming-masks-n1276534). This is a high-profile example.
For a few days in December 2021 Twitter said it “would apply a label” to tweets that mention “False or misleading claims that people who have received the vaccine can spread or shed the virus (or symptoms, or immunity) to unvaccinated people.” (see Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20211210005823/https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/medical-misinformation-policy). This has since been edited to say “shed the vaccine” instead of “shed the virus”, but this mistake should never have been made in the first place. You can see how this could be confusing to a lay person.
You and I know that vaccines are not 100% effective, but many do not. During a July 2021 CNN town hall, U.S. President Joe Biden falsely stated that “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” and “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.” (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-if-vaccinated-wont-get-covid/)
I updated the article to include your example of the Rand Paul. Thank you for pointing this out.
The communication from public health agencies and the authorities has been an absolute disaster this entire pandemic. Just an absolute unmitigated disaster. They need to rethink everything about the way they communicate to the public.