The Attack on Joe Rogan Is an Attack on Dissent

Joe Rogan must be stopped.

This is the consensus from all of the wisest and most compassionate voices in
our society. According to the White House, Spotify should not merely lead off
Rogan’s COVID-19-centric episodes with a content warning; according to press
secretary Jen Psaki, “our view is that it is a positive step, but that there is more that
can be done.” According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, host of the ironically named
“Reliable Sources”: “He is now apologizing. And we’re going to find out if that’s
enough for Spotify, the company that has an exclusive distribution deal with him.”
Has-been rocker Neil Young agrees; he, along with some other washed-up old hippie
musicians, has taken his music off of Spotify to protest Rogan.

What was Rogan’s great sin? To hear the media tell it, his great sin was
COVID-19 “misinformation.” Now, this is a rather vague charge, given the fact that
our public health authorities have informed us over the course of the past two years
that lockdowns were effective, cloth masks worked, masking of children was
necessary, vaccines prevented transmission, natural immunity was inferior to
vaccine immunity, and the virus could not have originated with a Chinese lab leak —
all pieces of misinformation later reversed. Nonetheless, Rogan vowed to become
more informed and to have on more diverse guests with regard to COVID-19 and

When Spotify didn’t de-platform Rogan over that charge, the rationale for his
demanded de-platforming morphed: now Rogan was a racist for saying the N-word
while quoting rap lyrics years ago. After a Left-wing activist group promoted a
compendium video of Rogan using such language, Rogan apologized again. But
apologies aren’t the point. No one actually thinks Rogan is a racist. For the radical
Left, you either become a tool in their arsenal or you become an object lesson. And
Rogan has now become an object lesson.

He has become an object lesson for two main reasons. First, Rogan has
steadfastly refused to toe the party line with regard to President Joe Biden; ire broke
out against Rogan in 2020 for the crime of noting that Biden appeared “mentally
compromised” in the middle of an election that the media had declared a turning
point in the future of democracy. Second, Rogan has hosted guests who do not
simply repeat the nostrums of the Left on a wide variety of issues. That’s why the
Left has demanded that Spotify remove old episodes of his show entirely:
Alternative voices must not be heard, and Rogan has the unfortunate habit of
talking to such voices for hours at a time and letting them say their piece.

There are several takeaways from the Rogan dust-up.

First, corporate overlords are absolutely gutless. CEO Daniel Ek believed that
picking up the exclusive license to Rogan’s show would increase listenership and
advertising dollars; he was clearly blindsided by the blowback, to the extent that he
issued a mewling letter to the company’s woke interns begging their forgiveness for
their hurt feelings.

Second, the media are not interested in freedom of speech as a principle.
They’re interested in freedom of speech for themselves and no one else. It’s been
fascinating to watch the evolution of our treasured Journalismers (TM) from
guardians of the First Amendment to attack dogs on behalf of Big Tech censorship
of their perceived enemies.

Third, apologizing to insincere radical Left alligators is always a mistake.
Their goal is not a conversation. Their goal is destruction. If they find you useful,
they may allow you to become Reek to their House Bolton; if they don’t, you
become Ned Stark to their Joffrey.

Rogan will survive all of this. Perhaps Spotify ends up paying him a bag of
cash to leave, and he takes his audience and goes elsewhere, tanking Spotify’s
stock price on his way out the door. That would be precisely what Spotify deserves
for their cowardice. But no matter what happens, the lesson will be learned by those
who don’t have Rogan’s audience: shut up or face the whirlwind. And most will shut

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The
Ben Shapiro Show,” and editor-in-chief of He is the author of the
New York Times bestsellers “How To Destroy America In Three Easy Steps,” “The
Right Side Of History,” and “Bullies.” To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read
features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate website at

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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