We live in Joe Rogan’s world

Does the value of free speech mean we have to let for instance Joe Rogan tell his massive audience lies about Covid?

One said it was the vast size of his audience that made him so dangerous. Another suggested it was the fact the average age of his listeners was just 24, and hence particularly persuadable.

Another expert said he appeared to have a cult of personality. One said he had repeatedly spread misinformation about Covid, and ignored calls to stop.

These were among just some of the accusations levelled at Joe Rogan, podcaster, influencer and sometime actor, from more than 150 scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals who have said the 54-year-old was “extraordinarily dangerous”.

They sent an open letter to Spotify, which hosts Rogan’s podcast, urging it “to take action to halt the spread of false information about the coronavirus and the efficacy and safety of vaccines.”

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine,” wrote the experts from the US, Canada, Britain and Australia.

“He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are ‘gene therapy’, promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (contrary to FDA warnings), and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.”

As if it’s all a game, or entertainment.

Imogen Coe, Founding Dean of the Faculty of Science at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, claimed Rogan has not simply spread misinformation once, but kept doing so.

“Why would someone deliberately share information that is potentially damaging to the health and well being of others? That needs to be addressed and health professionals in particular have a duty of care and scientists have an ethical responsibility to speak up,” she said.

Why indeed? Rogan does it and many of his fans amplify it, because…? The cover story is “freedom” but what a stupid, piffling notion of “freedom” that is, especially from people who rely on the whole network of social connection and obligation that makes it possible for them to have their dopy podcasts in the first place.

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