Jon Stewart Defends Joe Rogan Amid COVID-19 Misinformation Controversy

As Rogan deals with pushback in regards to how he's handled COVID-19 information on his podcast, Jon Stewart said it wasn't fair to criticize him so harshly.

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As podcast host Joe Rogan deals with the backlash related to his use of the n-word and how he’s handled COVID-19 information on his show, Jon Stewart has again come to the podcaster’s defense, saying it’s not fair to criticize him so harshly.

“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, 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,” the former Daily Show host said on the Feb. 3 episode of his Apple podcast The Problem With Jon Stewart. 

“I think there are dishonest bad actors in the world and identifying those is so much more important to me,” Stewart said before going on to bring up Fox News and pointing out that “willful purveyors” of misinformation still exist.

In a follow-up episode on Feb. 10, Stewart sat down with Harvard professor Joan Donovan to further discuss misinformation and accountability and added how little pushback The New York Times received during their coverage of the Iraq war. The Times and other media outlets came under scrutiny after they perpetuated the Bush administration’s narrative that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction though said weapons were never found.

The New York Times, right, was a giant purveyor of misinformation, and disinformation,” Stewart said of the newspaper’s editorial department. “And that’s as vaunted a media organization as you can find, but there was no accountability for them.”

He said his point was that it remained unclear who gets to decide on who is entitled to a platform and who isn’t.

“But my point is, these are shifting sands,” Stewart said, “and I think I get concerned with, well, who gets to decide?”

Joe Rogan, who remains under scrutiny after a compilation video of him using the n-word on multiple occasions went viral, said on the latest episode of his podcast that the backlash he’s faced is a “political hit job.”

“In a lot of ways, this is a relief,” Rogan said. “That video had always been out there. This is a political hit job. They’re taking all this stuff I’ve ever said that’s wrong and smushing it all together. It’s good because it makes me address some stuff that I really wish wasn’t out there.”

The backlash had come as Rogan already faced scrutiny over how information regarding COVID-19 vaccines were handled on his show, scrutiny that caused Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to remove their musical catalogs from Spotify in protest. Rogan has issued two separate apology videos for each instance, the most recent apology additionally claiming his use of the n-word was partially taken out of context as a means to slander him.

Check out the full episode of The Problem With Jon Stewart above.

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