New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg triggered a massive response Sunday after suggesting in a viral tweet that the mainstream media look inward to discover why Americans trust Joe Rogan over traditional media.
Rogan's podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience" reportedly averages about 11 million listeners per episode, making him one of the most influential personalities in the country. By comparison, the most popular talk radio programs average per week what Rogan averages per episode, while the most popular cable news shows only garner a fraction of Rogan's audience at best.
What did Rosenberg say?
As the attempts to cancel Rogan increase — attempts that are often elevated by the media (as in the case of Neil Young) — Rosenberg suggested that his peers should engage in introspection to understand why and how Rogan has amassed the following and platform that he has.
"Joe Rogan is what he is. We in the media might want to spend more time thinking about why so many people trust him instead of us," Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg later said the purpose of his tweet was to wake up his mainstream media colleagues. He also said that Rogan should not be controlled and explained that self-reflection within the media should prompt action that improves the media's "standing" with Americans.
What was the response?
Rosenberg's appeal elicited some hateful responses, ranging from "propaganda works" to demeaning quips about middle America and insults targeting Rogan's audience, and even the same regurgitated attacks that progressives lodge against Rogan.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the "1619 Project" and a New York Times reporter, also said she did not "get" Rosenberg's question, adding in a now-deleted tweet, "We need to understand why millions of Americans don't mind the open racism?"
But a tsunami of responses praised Rosenberg for asking the question and explained that the issue is not necessarily about trust, but that Rogan is seen as honest and the media are not.
- "We don't need to trust @joerogan. He's not telling us what to think. He's simply interviewing people, letting us decide for ourselves whose views make sense. Totally different from media pundits preaching their propaganda at us every day from the same @dnc talking points memos," psychologist Geoffrey Miller responded.
- "Bingo. Calls to censor people that have taken your viewers and readers is not going to bring those viewers and readers back to you. In fact, it nearly guarantees that they will never return. Not sure why it’s so hard for the mainstream media to work through this equation," commentator Candance Owens said.
- "Not a great mystery. It’s painfully obvious to most that the corporate media outlets are, by and large, actively trying to manipulate people. It’s insulting, and boring," one person said.
- "It's because when you watch Rogan you know he may be occasionally wrong, but he is never lying or framing stories to advance an agenda. The same cannot ve (sic) said for the corporate press. Also he will talk to various types of people, not just the approved voices," another person pointed out.
- "[M]aybe because his guests are from all points of view? his agenda is to consider all sides of the issue and then express an opinion," one person observed.
- "The fact that so many people listen to Rogan instead of legacy media is less an indication of trust, and more an indication of how many people still value good faith discussion that isn't narrowly limited by a biased & dogmatic agenda. Rogan offers those discussions. You don't," another person responded.
- "The funny thing about this tweet is that it actually explains exactly why people trust Rogan more than people in the media," Soledad O'Brien observed.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald observed that Hannah-Jones' reaction both perfectly demonstrates the problem with media and answers Rosenberg's question.
"In response to @AllMattNYT's earnest question of why millions of people trust Joe Rogan but not corporate media, Nikole Hannah-Jones said — get ready: it's shocking! — it's because they're all basically racist. That's as much of an 'answer' as you'll get," Greenwald said.