The White House’s Surgeon general Vivek Murthy, who also held the role under the Obama administration, denounced comedian podcaster Joe Rogan and his wildly popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, in an appearance with MSNBC on Monday.
In an interview with Mika Brzezinski about the number-one podcast in the world, Murthy said that the show was a source of misinformation.
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 25, 2022
“Rogan, who hosts the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, has frequently promoted unproven methods for treating COVID-19, and has downplayed the need for vaccines,” started Brzezinski.
“Last year, Spotify purchased his podcast library for an estimated $100 million. Dr. Murthy, what do you think are the best ways to push back on misinformation about COVID that continues to be aggressively pushed whether it be Joe Rogan’s podcast, or all over Facebook?”
“We can have the best science available. We can have the best public health expertise available. It won’t help people if they do have access to accurate information,” said Murthy.
“There’s something I’ve always believed as a doctor, that people have the right to make their own decisions. They also have the right to have accurate information to make that decision with.
“Now, when it comes to how we root out the misinformation in society right now, and give people access to accurate information, we’ve got to do several things.
“Number one,” he starts, “we’ve got to recognize that our technology platforms, whether particularly social media, these have an important role to play. These are the predominant places where we’re seeing misinformation spread.”
“These platforms have still not stepped up to do the right thing and do enough, I should say, to reduce the spread of misinformation,” Murthy continued.
“But each of us also has a role to play here, because we all have platforms and particularly if you’re somebody who has a large following, whether you’re an entertainer, a politician, in the media, it’s your responsibility, all of our responsibilities, to make sure that we are thoughtful in what we are sharing.”
“This is not just about entertainment, it’s not just about garnering clicks. This is about people’s lives. And we have seen time and time again that misinformation costs people their lives.
“So you know we all have— this is not just about what government can do— this is about companies and individuals recognizing that the only way we get past misinformation is if we are careful about what we say and we use the power that we have to limit the spread of that misinformation. That’s going to be a critical part of how we get through this pandemic,” Murthy stated.
Murthy has a history of advocating for censorious measures. In 2021, Murthy said that misinformation flourished on social media and that platforms needed to censor information.
“Distrust of the health care system due to experiences with racism and other inequities may make it easier for misinformation to spread in some communities. Growing polarization, including in the political sphere, may also contribute to the spread of misinformation,” he said.