Liberal political satirist Jon Stewart defended Joe Rogan against the tidal wave of criticism. Stewart proclaimed that it is a "mistake" for music artists to make a concerted effort to censor and push Spotify to cut ties with the prolific podcaster.
During a recent episode of "The Problem with Jon Stewart" podcast, the former host of the "Daily Show" opined that it is an "overreaction" by anyone attempting to cancel Rogan because he acts in good faith.
"Don't leave, don't abandon, don't censor, engage," Stewart advised critics of Rogan, which includes musicians Neil Young, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, India Arie, and Nils Lofgren.
"I'm not saying it’s always going to work out fruitfully, but I am always of the mindset that engagement, and especially with someone like a Joe Rogan who is not, in my mind, an ideologue in any way," Stewart said during his podcast. "To me, that says that’s a person that you can engage with."
Stewart highlighted a recent situation where Rogan was open to new information during a podcast.
During "The Joe Rogan Experience" episode released on Jan. 12, Rogan and Australian TV presenter Josh Szeps were discussing myocarditis – which is inflammation of the heart muscle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rogan noted that for teens, myocarditis is an adverse side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC stated: "Cases of myocarditis reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) have occurred."
Szeps acknowledged that myocarditis is a side effect of COVID-19 vaccines, but argued that myocarditis is actually more common for those who have been infected with coronavirus than those from being vaccinated.
Rogan was skeptical of the claim and asked his producer Jamie Vernon to verify the assertion.
There were studies that found that myocarditis is not more common in those who were fully vaccinated than those with a COVID-19 infection.
The day after the podcast was released on Spotify, Rogan addressed the situation.
"If anyone was going to make me look dumb on the podcast I’m glad it’s @joshzepps, because I love him, and he’s awesome," Rogan wrote on Twitter.
"However this is why I was confused," Rogan added, and provided a link to a Guardian article titled: "Boys more at risk from Pfizer jab side-effect than Covid, suggests study."
The article reads, "Healthy boys may be more likely to be admitted to hospital with a rare side-effect of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine that causes inflammation of the heart than with Covid itself, US researchers claim."
The study, which is not peer-reviewed, found that the stratified cardiac adverse event (CAE) rate was "highest in young boys aged 12-15 following dose two."
"For boys 12-17 without medical comorbidities, the likelihood of post vaccination dose two CAE is 162.2 and 94.0/million respectively," the authors wrote. "This incidence exceeds their expected 120-day COVID-19 hospitalization rate at both moderate (August 21, 2021 rates) and high COVID-19 hospitalization incidence."
Rogan also included a link to a Substack article titled "UK Now Reports Myocarditis stratified by Age & Sex After Vaccine Or Sars-cov-2" from Dr. Vinay Prasad – who is a hematologist-oncologist, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco, and author of more than 3,000 academic articles.
Stewart commended Rogan for being open to new information.
Stewart said, "And Joe just went, 'I don’t know, okay, I didn’t get that.' And that to me says, 'Oh, that’s a person that you can engage with.'"
"My point is, we all exist in this world and on this planet, and there’s no question that there is egregious misinformation that’s purposeful and hateful and all those other things," Stewart continued. "And that being moderated is a credit to the platforms that run them. But this overreaction to Rogan, I think is a mistake. I really do."
Stewart asked if every music artist is going to quit platforms that feature voices that they don't agree with, such as Eric Clapton and Fox News.
Stewart said identifying "dishonest, bad actors in the world" is "so much more important" to him.
Trevor Noah – the current host of the "Daily Show" – also defended Rogan this week.
"I actually thought it was pretty classy," Noah said of Rogan addressing the controversy in a video this week. "He owned up to it. I thought it was pretty dope. It was refreshing."
Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard advised Rogan, "Just keep being you."
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson also supported Rogan this week by saying, "Great stuff here brother. Perfectly articulated. Look forward to coming on one day and breaking out the tequila with you."
Comedic actor Kevin James added, "Joe – we go way back and all these years I’ve known you to be nothing but objective and seeking truth. Thank you. Love you brother."
Legendary surfer Kelly Slater told Rogan, "Love to see you offer to bring Neil Young and/or Joni Mitchell on with whomever they want by their side to refute whatever it is they’re so pissed about. If they’re for truth it should be an easy convo. I’ll be looking forward to their replies."
(WARNING: Explicit language)