Apologies for no images in this article. WordPress has its imperfections.
‘Anti-vaxxer’, ‘white supremacist’, ‘racist’, ‘extremist’, ‘terrorist’, ‘spreaders of misinformation’, ‘sexist’, ‘Nazi’, ‘fascist’, ‘flat-earther’, ‘conspiracy theorist’.
These are just some of the labels some of the best freedom fighters in the world have been given over the past two and a half years but especially in the last few months. The people who attended the Washington DC anti-vaccine mandate protest last weekend were called dangerous and alt-right by the mainstream news media despite there not being a single incident that turned to violence or anything remotely malicious. The Canadian and American truckers that protested in Ottawa, Canada supported by thousands of people who want their normal lives back were considered dangerous and ‘fascistic’ by the media despite their efforts also being peaceful. Why?
Because that is the narrative that the mainstream news media has chosen. The good guys standing up for what’s right are evil and want to kill everyone with COVID, and bad guys like Justin Trudeau and Gavin Newsom are hailed as heroes.
One of the targets of the media recently which has been getting about every label in the book is UFC commentator and comedian, Joe Rogan. If you don’t know who he is, you truly have been living with your head in the sand. His Spotify exclusive podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, has been the center of attention by mainstream media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC. Almost every kind of smear piece has been written about the guy, and the smearing and the name-calling has been getting worse and worse as time goes by. Musical artists like Neil Young (whom I really don’t even believe is very talented, but that’s subjective) and Joni Mitchell (who?) have pulled their music from the Spotify platform in protest over it keeping Rogan on their platform despite his supposed spread of misinformation about vaccines, COVID, and climate. The hashtag #CancelSpotify has been trending on Twitter, and dozens of people are gloating for having cancelled their Spotify Premium subscription (something that even I don’t care to have but not for the same reasons). Most of the people calling for Rogan’s cancellation don’t even listen to Rogan’s show. They just heard the snippets the mainstream media shared, which were twisted and their context changed to fit their narrative.
I’ll be honest about something. I don’t really listen to Joe Rogan’s show myself. Occasionally I’ll watch cherry-picked clips and I listened to one episode all the way through. He releases four or five episodes a week and they all range between two and a half hours and four hours in length, which is just not something I have the time for. I also don’t always care for some of the guests he has on, and I don’t always care for the topics that are talked about. However, I’ve found Rogan to be likable enough, and the reason why I’m paying attention to him now is because of how controversial he has become. I’ve been growing disturbed by the overwhelming amount of hate built up against him through the Twitter mob. I’m growing concerned over how much Spotify will be able to take before it throws its hands up in surrender and cuts their deal with Rogan. Make no mistake, the media and the Twitter mob’s constant attacks on Rogan isn’t just an attack on the things he has said (I still yet have to hear something from him that offends me as I slowly listen to his conversation with Jordan B. Peterson), it’s an attack on the ability to speak as freely and openly as we can, like we’re supposed to in this country. Oh sure, I can have conversations like Rogan has in my living room without fear of getting dragged out of my home in the middle of the night by thought police, but without the freedom to share those conversations and ideas where others can hear them, the actual value of that freedom is significantly low and in a lot of ways made irrelevant. I don’t want to just use my voice, I want other people to hear it too. Not because I believe I’m important, but because I believe in the freedom to exchange ideas and allow people to think for themselves. We don’t need people to be the arbiters of truth that decide who I can listen to and who I can’t. I shudder to think what kind of a world it would be like if the only options we had to listen to for news and information was people like Don Lemon, Brian Stelter, and Tucker Carlson. I want Steven Crowders, Ron Pauls, and Tim Pools in the world, even if I don’t always agree with them either.
Joe Rogan would be a pretty hard person to ‘cancel’, and even if Spotify did eventually end their deal with him, he’d probably be able to move to a different platform or set up his own and his base will follow him there. I have no doubt he has the money to pull it off. I don’t think the Twitter mob realizes this, and they’ll certainly be in for a nasty surprise should that time come. Still, this insisting on deplatforming people they don’t agree with with the hopes of seeing them fail speaks to a deepening problem in America. There are people who are eager and obsessed with making sure you don’t have a voice to freely speak your mind if they don’t like what’s inside, and it’s what they don’t like, not what’s objectively harmful or dangerous. To counter this, we need to use our own voices while we have them. Try to get louder than the ones who are screaming for people to get ‘cancelled’ or silenced. Use the technology we have to your advantage and put your voice in more than one place. I believe that the First Amendment especially exists for times like these. Let’s not waste it.