CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota lamented Wednesday that she is fresh out of ideas on how Joe Rogan should atone for his transgressions.
What is the background?
Rogan addressed new controversy on his podcast this week that centers on him using the N-word in old podcast episodes. The podcasts were on the internet for years but only became a problem last week.
"In a lot of ways ... all this is a relief,” Rogan said, adding that the video of him using the N-word had always been on the internet.
"This is a political hit job. And so they’re taking all this stuff that I’ve ever said that’s wrong and smushing it all together," Rogan added. "It’s good 'cause it makes me address some s**t that I really wish wasn’t out there."
What happened on CNN?
Reacting to Rogan's declaration that he is the target of a "political hit job," Camerota said, "Well, I'll admit, I'm out of ideas for what to do about Joe Rogan."
"I'm officially out of ideas," she added.
Camerota's colleague, co-anchor Victor Blackwell, responded by questioning Rogan's motives for apologizing.
"I’m confused by both 'it’s always been out there, but this is a political hit job. It feels good that it's out, but then also I really need to address this,'" Blackwell said. "I mean, it seems like there are at least three different narratives that are coming here."
"Listen, I think that he's saying out loud things that we want people who are caught doing horrible things to say, which is, 'I'm going to do better, I feel ashamed of this, I'm sorry about this.' And so I think that all of that is great," Camerota responded. "I think that where there's the misalignment is that, basically he just said, 'How dumb are you if you're taking medical advice from me,' OK? I posed that same question about Joe Rogan. The people who were taking medical advice from him, how dumb are they? But he has this huge platform that does influence, you know, millions of people. So there's a misalignment between this sort of personal responsibility and the size of his platform."
In the end, Blackwell said that Rogan's COVID controversy is a "separate conversation" from his use of the N-word, but again questioned the sincerity of Rogan's apology.
"We'll see if there's accountability — not cancellation, which some people conflate — accountability," Blackwell added.
What was the reaction?
But if people were, critics had a poignant answer to Camerota's problem: Do your job or turn off the podcast if you do not like Rogan.
- "Here is a novel idea: Got Free Speech? Why not use free speech to counter what you view as bad speech rather than try to silence him?" constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley said.
- "We should absolutely not listen to people spreading COVID misinformation, but I remain steadfast in not wanting to ban CNN," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) responded.
- "Do the same thing I do with @cnn, @AlisynCamerota ... Change the channel," Dr. Pradheep Shanker said.
- "This is why Alisyn Camerota is so upset about losing Zucker. Hr paid a lot of on-air talent significant money for them to behave like activists while alienating large segments of a potential audience. She is rightly worried that a responsible replacement will clean house," another person said.
- "Context aside it is interesting what she thinks her job is," one person observed.
- "Alisyn Camerota has been out of ideas for a very long time. None of them had to do with Joe Rogan though," one person mocked.
- "As if getting a podcast cancelled will bring all of those listeners over to CNN? How about CNN just focuses on learning how to deliver OBJECTIVE NEWS instead of playing [social justice warrior], that would be a great start," one person mocked.
- "A grateful nation rejoices upon hearing that Alisyn Camerota is officially out of ideas for what to do about Joe Rogan, and fervently prays that should any new ideas come to her for what to do about anything - anything at all, she will keep them to herself," another person mocked.
- "She could try to report news. I know I'm asking too much," one person said.