Jon Stewart Defends Joe Rogan: ‘Don’t Leave, Don’t Abandon, Don’t Censor, Engage’

Comedian Jon Stewart voiced his support for podcaster Joe Rogan during the latest episode of his own podcast, “The Problem With Jon Stewart.”

Stewart explained that, in his mind, Rogan was not an ideologue — and that meant that instead of clinging to a position regardless of any new information, he was willing to change his position when presented with new facts that changed the landscape.

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“This is going to be a blanket statement,” Stewart began. “And I would say this: Don’t leave, don’t abandon, don’t censor, engage. I’m not saying it’s 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 went on to argue that the proof that Rogan was not an ideologue was evident in recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” — when his guest, Josh Szeps, had challenged something that Rogan said about the potential risk of dangerous side effects in kids who get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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“They were talking about — I think Joe said, ‘Myocarditis, kids shouldn’t get the vaccine because it causes a higher risk of myocarditis.’ And Josh said, ‘Well, actually, getting COVID is a higher risk of myocarditis for kids, so they should get vaccinated.’”

The two went back and forth briefly and then they looked up the information, at which point Rogan conceded that he had been wrong.

“If you are an ideologue, or if you are a dishonest person, that is the moment,” Stewart continued, saying that there was a choice to be made regarding whether to accept the new information or double down. “Joe just went, like, ‘Ah, I didn’t know, I didn’t get that.’”

“And that, to me, says that’s a person that you can engage with. And so, I think all the overblown rhetoric about him — and here’s the other thing,” Stewart added. “You’re a musician, like how much misinformation is spread by — like, Eric Clapton is on the platforms that you’re on, and he’s a f***ing psycho. Do you remove yourself from every platform?”

“By the way, do we only do these conversations so that I will get in trouble?” Stewart asked his cohosts, who said they did.

“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,” he said. “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 went on to say that he believed there were some real bad actors — people who were intentionally spreading misinformation — and that he was far more interested in working to expose them for what they were than he was in censoring someone like Rogan who was willing to engage with just about anyone.

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