Since being thrust into headlines thanks to his endorsement of Bernie Sanders, Joe Rogan has been slammed as transphobic and racist, but the attacks say more about the modern mainstream media than him.
With a podcast that is consistently at the number one or two spot on iTunes, and has a YouTube subscriber base of more than seven million, an endorsement from Rogan is no small thing.
The comedian and former ‘Fear Factor’ host regularly reaches a bigger audience than most cable news shows and blogs with his varying interviews with just about anyone you can think of – from Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler all the way to presidential candidates like Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang.
A video clip of Rogan admitting he was likely throwing a vote Sanders’ way was posted on the Vermont senator’s social media, and the mainstream media and left-wing talking heads responded by labeling 52-year-old Rogan as a troublesome figure with a past filled with a “history of racist, homophobic and transphobic comments.”
That was how CNN described Rogan, anyway.
And they weren’t alone in shining a negative light on the man.
Vox claimed “liberal identity politics" are the enemy of Rogan's podcast.
Slate warned Sanders against touting the endorsement and slammed Rogan for his “proximity to racism” thanks to controversial guests like Alex Jones.
And plenty of talking heads put in their two cents on Twitter.
The hatred of Rogan supposedly comes from his stances on transgender athletes – he’s said he’s against genetically born men competing against genetically born women, especially in fighting. It also relates to some more politically incorrect jokes and comments he’s made in his hundreds of hours of podcasting – he once said finding out that Richard Pryor may have had sexual relationships with men was disappointing, for instance.
The criticisms don’t really hold up since Rogan has always supported civil rights and he’s open to talking to anyone, whatever opinion they hold.Also on rt.com ‘Issue of our time’: Biden tries to win over transgender community with a tweet while Sanders deals with Rogan endorsement fallout
This is why the outrage comes across as so inauthentic. It is motivated not by a genuine displeasure with Rogan and his views, but rather by confusion.
The media and modern talking heads hate Rogan because they don’t understand him. We live in a time when every single political debate is boiled down to a five-minute yelling segment and “pundits” speak from a place of supreme confidence before even knowing the facts. It sells better when you’re 100 percent against Trump or 100 percent with him, for instance.
Meanwhile, political blogs feed specific audiences with specific points of view, rarely challenging them with inconvenient facts. If you want a right point of view, you go to the right. If you want a left point of view, you turn left.
This is what sells and to see something like Rogan’s podcast being taken more seriously, when it is so radically different to all of this, is what drives the confusion and frustration.Also on rt.com 'Apologize': Conor McGregor slams ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith for comments following Donald Cerrone clash at UFC 246
Someone like Rogan is scary and hard to understand for the modern media because his popularity doesn’t fit conventional wisdom and his rising popularity signifies a dissatisfaction with the parameters set for public discourse on television and on the web.
Rogan’s popularity has been fueled by a desire among a growing number of people for longer form conversations about topics as silly as Bigfoot to as serious as the US economy. Rogan’s podcasts can run for hours sometimes, and he’s not afraid to admit when he doesn’t know something. Many of these comments taken out of context either come from some stage in a mental journey listeners were on with the man and his guest, or they’re pulled from a free-wheeling comedic conversation.
And while it’s regularly promoted today to simply not talk to someone you may disagree with – see ‘Morning Joe’ proudly banning Kellyanne Conway from their show or cancel culture victims like Roseanne Barr – Rogan will have just about anyone on his show. From Ben Shapiro to Jordan Peterson, Rogan regularly talks to people he disagrees with. You may see the podcaster debate his guest or even get turned around and change his mind on a subject because of something they said. And, honestly, when is the last time you saw that happen in the mainstream media?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.