Incredulity has never been Joe Rogan’s watchword. A self described “f-cking moron,” the world famous host of the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) and longtime UFC talking head, is best known for the curiosity and gullibility with which he approaches topics on his shows.
Coupled with a consistent lack of prepared fact-checking and an insane volume of produced content, it’s a set of traits that has regularly led Rogan to platform conspiracies and misinformation time and again. Like this rant from last May over a fake story about Australia making it “illegal to grow your own food.”
“I don’t know what else I can do differently,” Rogan said in a video message recorded in early 2022, referring to his intention to add warnings to his podcasts that viewers should consult a licensed physician in reference to health matters, after numerous complaints of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccination by platforming fringe voices on the topics. “Other than maybe try harder to get people with differing opinions on right afterwards.
“I do think that that’s important. And do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics, the controversial ones in particular, and have all the pertinent facts at hand, before I discuss them.
“Again, I’m not trying to promote misinformation,” he explained at the time. “I’m not trying to be controversial.”
Whatever research and preparation he’s been doing since, whatever fact checking procedures his show has in place, however, it seems they’re still falling short.
I was informed last night that this tweet is fake. The show was already out, so we initially decided to post a notice saying we got tricked, then later thought it best to just delete it from the episode.
My sincere apologies to everyone, especially the person who got hoaxed. https://t.co/GOeVjGMH7x
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) January 5, 2023
While Rogan has indeed removed the conversation from his show, the backlash against Dr. Natalia Solenkova has already been heavy. The JRE was only one of several high profile media accounts—largely in right wing news and political circles—to share an obviously faked Tweet about vaccination, attributed to the intensive care physician, which was more than 50 characters over the social media platform’s limit.
Huge right wing accounts and even other doctors fell for this ridiculous, clearly photoshopped tweet and amplified it to millions. Now Dr. Natalia is facing serious career harm because Joe Rogan and so many others on the right fell for this obvious false post pic.twitter.com/AMLD0zu9Xo
— Subscribe to my Substack!! (@TaylorLorenz) January 5, 2023
“It’s a fascinating perspective,” Rogan told his guest—and noted Ivermectin proponent—Bret Weinstein during their 11-minute discussion on the subject, accusing Solenkova of “having the most uncharitable view of people who didn’t get vaccinated.” (transcript via vice.com)
“The idea that you wouldn’t be upset that you were duped into injecting actual poison… is so insane.”
Rogan also added that the faked Tweet was a “perfect encapsulation of this ideological capture that you see on social media.”
He may have pulled the segment from his podcast, but having already published and broadcast the video to his millions of viewers, the conversation has been preserved and re-posted across social media platforms. Just the video embedded above has been played at least a million times as of publishing.
Speaking to NBC news, Solenkova responded to Rogan’s targeting specifically.
“You spend 11 minutes butchering my name, showing my picture, and then people Google me,” Solenkova said.
“I’m doing my best,” she added. “I just know that I didn’t write this. But will it pop up in a complaint to a medical board? In my Google results? I’m trying to stay calm and think, ‘they made idiots of themselves and twitter lost credibility,’ but people need to know that this can happen to any of us.”
Unfortunately, the whole debacle is a familiar song and dance that seems unlikely to change. Rogan is entirely willing to close the barn door after the cows are gone, so to speak, but his willingness to get easily swindled seems here to stay.
About the author: Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. Host of the MMA Vivisection and 6th Round, he has covered MMA and the UFC since 2013. (full bio)
About the author