In a video report released by CNN Business on Wednesday, a reporter began by accusing Rogan of using his platform on Spotify “to make false and inaccurate statements about COVID-19 and vaccines,” adding that he “has also used raced and offensive language.”
“Even with these controversies, Rogan remains wildly popular. So the question is- why?” the unnamed CNN Business reporter asked.
The report then introduced Gabriel Wisnewski-Parks, a research fellow at UNC Greensboro who CNN Business says has “studied Rogan’s appeal.”
Wisnewski-Parks, who claims to have watched “hundreds of hours” of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” told CNN Business, “What makes him so magnetic to his audience is his very vocal resistance to tribalism,” citing Rogan’s wide-ranging guests from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and Info Wars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the right and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and progressive icon Cornel West on the left, saying “this really resonates with people.”
“One other connection we can make that I don’t think should be overestimated is Joe Rogan’s background as a stand-up comedian, this archetype of the comedian as the truth-teller,” Wisnewski-Parks said.
The so-called Rogan “researcher” suspected his apologies for the various uproars has made him “even more “credible to his fans, saying that the “learning” the podcast host admits he needs is “relatable.”
“Joe Rogan’s podcast absolutely has the potential to be dangerous, especially when we’re talking about… communication over a public health issue,” Wisnewski-Parks said. “But it can be just as dangerous if we’re going to start censoring because we need to figure out how to keep open those lines of communication in a way that is both critical and willing to question Joe Rogan’s authority but at the same time recognizes that his appeal and his popularity are already entrenched in his audience. And that’s not going anywhere.”
CNN shared the report on Twitter, writing “Joe Rogan is one of the most popular podcast hosts in the world, despite a series of controversies. CNN Business spoke with a researcher who has studied his appeal to explain why his audience loves him.”
Critics blasted the liberal network for having to rely on an outside resource to crack the mystery of Rogan’s popularity.
“CNN had to find an outside expert to explain how you would produce programming that attracts an audience,” National Review senior writer Dan McLaughlin reacted.
“I may or may not have laughed out loud at the fact CNN had to bring in a third party expert to explain ratings and consumer interests,” Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams tweeted.
“CNN requiring expert help to understand why anyone listens to the world’s most popular podcaster is painfully on-brand,” political commentator Drew Holden quipped.
“Someone unironically researched ‘Joe Rogan’s appeal,’ and someone at CNN greenlighted this segment. It’s not possible to mock this any more than it mocks itself,” Daily Wire writer Virginia Kruta tweeted.
“Hiring an ‘expert’ to explain why ppl listen to Joe Rogan… I f—ing swear to got not even @TheBabylonBee can parody CNN better,” Habibi Power Hour co-host Mujahed Kobbe slammed the network.
“Joe Rogan is the new Rush for the media at large. ‘We hate him. How could anyone love him? We sent a team of reporters to investigate,’” radio host Scot Bertram mocked CNN.
Last week, CNN’s left-wing media correspondent was similarly mocked for complaining that Americans trust Rogan more than his own network.
“Not all opinions are created equal,” Stelter said. “You think about major newsrooms like CNN that have health departments and desks and operations that work hard on verifying information on Covid-19. And then you have talk show stars like Joe Rogan who just wing it, who make it up as they go along.”
“And because figures like Rogan are trusted by people that don’t trust real newsrooms, we have a tension, a problem, that’s much bigger than Spotify, much bigger than any single platform,” he added.