Professor at a Christian college, Chad Ragsdale, has a blog post in which he embeds an episode of Joe Rogan’s podcast that featured Dr. Robert Malone. He writes about the episode in the first paragraph of his post.
This morning I finished listening to what is undoubtedly one of the most listened to podcast episodes in the history of podcasting. You can listen to it here. In fact, I would encourage you to listen to it not because I’m convinced that everything said is absolutely true, but because being exposed to ideas that run contrary to conventional narratives is helpful and even necessary for clarifying our own thinking.
PolitiFact just reported on the suspension of Dr. Malone from Twitter after spreading Covid-19 misinformation. The video of the interview was also banned from YouTube. I’m sure there are a certain segment of people who will think that means that the tech companies are trying to squash the facts.
The platforms’ actions against Malone represent the latest efforts from Silicon Valley to crack down on harmful COVID-19 misinformation. Days earlier, Twitter suspended the personal account belonging to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on the same grounds.
What I find most interesting about this scenario is how Ragsdale admits that he doesn’t care whether what is being said on the podcast is the truth. He comes right out and states that to preface everything that follows. I think it’s sad that he and many others (Ragsdale spends quite a few words on how impressed he is that Rogan has so many listeners) are more interested in having a counter-narrative to whatever the mainstream view is than actually being presented with the truth. Ragsdale is so awed by the number of followers that Joe Rogan is able to generate, which in itself he seems to think is some proof that his voice is credible. Of course, we know how easy it is for masses of people to be manipulated my misinformation, so the number of people convinced by lies doesn’t then lead credence to the lies.
There’s a huge irony in the fact that Ragsdale spends much of his post talking about a lack of trust in mainstream media when he admits his own ideology biases him against whatever the mainstream media is promoting, even if it is the truth. This sort of obstinate stance has come to be characteristic of certain Christian circles and I know it damages the witness for Christ. As I’ve asked in the past, how are people going to believe the miraculous stories of a savior that transcended death if his followers can’t even recognize obvious truths in front of them?
I’ll let Hank Green close this post with a thought that seems to have some validity in thinking about the Joe Rogan phenomenon and why people cling to this type of media.
After reading Ragsdale's piece, that seems about right.
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