Rogan has been under fire for his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which is brought on several controversial figures that have been alleged to undermine the legitimacy of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On a recent episode of his podcast, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” Stewart was asked about his thoughts on Spotify and the recent controversy surrounding Rogan’s podcast.
Jon Stewart Defends Joe Rogan: He’s Not ‘An Ideologue In Any Way’
During the episode, the former “The Daily Show” host defended Joe Rogan and said that he is not “an ideologue in any way” – unlikely some other right-wing TV hosts – and that Rogan is open to being corrected when proven wrong.
“There’s no question that there is egregious misinformation that’s purposeful and hateful, and that being moderated is a credit to the platforms that run them,” Stewart said. “But this overreaction to Rogan, I think, is a mistake.”
Although artists Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash have removed their music from Spotify in protest, Stewart called the debate surrounding COVID-19 misinformation “overblown rhetoric.”
Jon Stewart: ‘Don’t Leave. Don’t Abandon. Don’t Censor. Engage.’
Stewart pointed to a specific episode of Rogan’s podcast, when Rogan was arguing with Josh Zepps over Rogan’s claims that there is an “adverse risk” of myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle) in children ages 12 through 17 that receive the vaccine.
During the debate, Rogan admitted that he was incorrect about the effects that the COVID-19 vaccine had on children and young people.
Stewart said: “Don’t leave. Don’t abandon. Don’t censor. Engage.”
He said that “there are dishonest bad actors in the world and identifying those is so much more important to me” and added that he is “more worried about the algorithm of misinformation than the purveyor of misinformation.”
“Misinformation will always be out there, but if the algorithm drives people further and further down the rabbit hole, the algorithm is the amplifier and the catalyst of extremism,” he explained.
Joe Rogan Apologizes After Spotify Implements COVID-19 Content Advisories
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Last Sunday, Spotify said that they would begin the process of adding COVID-19 content advisories to any podcast episode that contained discussions about COVID-19 and would direct viewers to a COVID-19 Hub, which they say contains the latest and most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the vaccine from medical experts, researchers, and scientists.
Shortly after, Joe Rogan took to Instagram to post a nine-minute video sharing his thoughts.
“I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan on Sunday. He also apologized to Neil Young, saying he is “not mad” and that he is a “huge fan” of the “Harvest Moon” singer.
“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial,” Rogan added. “I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people.”
“I do all the scheduling myself, and I don’t always get it right,” he added, although he did admit that he was going to try to bring on different guests to give viewers a more balanced perspective in the future.
Fans Support Jon Stewart’s Defense Of Joe Rogan
Many fans seemed to approve of Jon Stewart’s opinion in the Spotify controversy.
“‘I think it’s so much more powerful to engage. And there is something about picking up the ball and go home that I don’t like,'” one fan quoted. “Well said. Thank you Jon. Here from all sides is how we can make an informed decision that is right for us.”
“Jon is truly a once-in-a-generation talent,” another shared. “Always thoughtful and measured and not afraid to go against the One True Opinion we’re all supposed to always have. He’s so d— special.”
“This is why Jon has earned my respect and admiration,” another commented. “The guy is a genuine human being, I like how he gently shut down his own staff for pushing the same generalized narrative that has been spread by his peers, in order to give an individual opinion, not a regurgitated sound bite.”
“Listening to Jon Stewart is an education,” another said. “I continue to be schooled and to learn from him. He’s a lighthouse of a human being in the vast ocean of chaos we struggle not to drown in.”
Fans can watch the full 15-minute conversation with Jon Stewart below.