Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro may be top-tier podcasters, but that’s where the similarities end.
Shapiro is an unabashed conservative who uses his show to promote limited government, maximum freedom. Rogan, by comparison, is no ideological warrior. He’s rather talk up the latest UFC fight or extol marijuana’s benefits.
Their content overlap is accidental, at best.
And yet groups like Media Matters for America, a hard-Left outlet that tracks conservative personalities and news sites, is stalking both.
Keeping tabs on Shapiro makes sense for MMFA. It’s in their mission statement, to call out so-called conservative misinformation. The company’s web site sports separate web pages devoted to both Shapiro and the site he co-founded, The Daily Wire. [editor’s note: This reporter contributes to The Daily Wire]
The company nows dedicates a web page to Spotify’s “Joe Rogan Experience,” too. Why bother with a podcaster who routinely talks up celebrities and comics and rarely promotes right-leaning politicians?
It’s simple. Rogan does far more than chat up stars these days. He’s willing to interview folks from across the ideological aisle, especially those attacked for sharing views suddenly considered unacceptable.
A perfect example?
Rogan sat down with author Abigail Shrier, whose 2020 tome, “Irreversible Damage,” looks at the darker side of the transgender movement. It’s neither a screed nor a hateful assault on trans people. It examines doctors who rush to declare patients trans and push for surgeries in cases where it might not be in the person’s best interests.
It’s why Shrier’s book is relentlessly attacked by the Left today, and Rogan drew progressive rage for daring to interview her about her research.
Rogan has also become a relentless mainstream media critic. It unofficially started when CNN lied about the medication Rogan took to beat back COVID-19. That enraged Rogan and made media bias a personal issue for him.
Now, he burns endless calories excoriating the press for its extreme bias. A recent chat with Matt Taibbi, a liberal journalist who can’t help but call out the press’ progressive bias, is a perfect example.
Enter TheVerge.com. The liberal site recently chatted uncritically with the Media Matters analyst tasked with tracking Rogan. “Tracking” means listening to hour after hour of the “Joe Rogan Experience.”
Here’s his official rationale for tracking a comedian’s podcast:
Rogan has taken a clear lurch to the right and become a serial misinformer when it comes to COVID-19 misinformation, and we’ve been trying to document and limit the harms that he’s trying to push into the world.
Late in the conversation the Media Matters representative gives the game away – silencing voices on the Right. Period.
Let’s say you’re a young man listening to The Joe Rogan Experience, and you want to get tips on bodybuilding or how to eat healthfully, and then Rogan starts discussing that vaccines are a form of gene therapy with Ben Shapiro, and then perhaps you go to Ben Shapiro’s website, The Daily Wire, and there, you fall into a cesspool of hatred and bigotry, and once you click on a Daily Wire article, if you share it on Facebook, you’re just going to be led further and further down the far-right rabbit hole.
If you think The Daily Wire is a “far right” web site, then reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit.
Why does Media Matters exist in the first place? The unwritten purpose is to bully right-leaning speakers and outlets by tattling on their “misdeeds” to silence or cow them, often by taking them out of context. Some reporters, in turn, regurgitate Media Matters’ information.
In a way, MMFA was trying to cancel conservatives before mainstream media and Big Tech moved into that space.
Does Rogan get every fact right? Of course not. He’s a comedian sharing his opinions with listeners. It’s up to them to discern fact from opinion, to do their own research on important matters like the ongoing pandemic.
Sick? Injured? Call a doctor, not a comedy podcaster.
Meanwhile, celebrities and late night show’s alike share aggressive misinformation and lies without a single Media Matters fact check and, more importantly, little of the same coming from the mainstream media.