NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Media platforms should not spread ignorance

If you read the a recent edition of The New York Times you’d find an article nestled away in the Technology section about Joe Rogan.

If you’re a millennial, you’re aware of exactly who Joe Rogan is and the ignorant vitriol he routinely spews on his podcast.

If you are my Hispanic parents born in the late 60’s, you have absolutely no idea who Joe Rogan is or why artists like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young have pulled their entire catalogs off Spotify in protest of him and the COVID-19 misinformation Spotify allows him to broadcast to his millions of listeners each week.

However, it’s not just Neil Young and Joni Mitchell who are up in arms about the music streaming company continuing to employ Mr. Rogan, many online petitions have started to emerge asking for the removal of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience.”

As COVID numbers were rising during year three of this global pandemic, Spotify subscribers could not understand why the company is choosing to keep Joe Rogan employed, especially since we have seen before how access to such a huge platform can often do more harm than good.

As noted in the article written by New York Times columnist Kevin Roose, for the past decade or so we have been dealing with celebrities or influencers using social media platforms to spread misinformation or hate.
Spotify and their current Joe Rogan problem are not the only platform to have gone through this experience.

After years of being allowed to spread hate and promote racism and division, Twitter finally pulled the plug and deleted Donald Trump’s account after the Jan. 6, insurrection of 2021.

Although believed to be the right move, many believe it was a bit too late.

Whether you know Joe Rogan or not, whether you agree with the misinformation he broadcasts weekly to his listeners, the real debate or newsworthy story here is how much accountability internet media platforms hold their stars too.

Yes, Spotify is Mr. Rogan’s employer and while I do agree that he shouldn’t have access to the platform to continue to spread lies about COVID-19,

I wonder how I would feel if my employer suddenly tried to have a say on my thoughts and opinions.

This article is both timely and significant because we have borne witness to the damage that can be done when misinformation is spread across social media platforms.

The more the internet and social media grow for good, we are also inviting an array of ignorance from people wanting to pass off their opinion as scientifical fact.

One also must ask themselves if by firing Joe Rogan are we now censoring him, and by extension are we censoring the media?

James W. Kershner opens up the first chapter of ‘The Elements of News Writing’ with a quote from William Randolph Hearst, “News is anything that makes a reader say ‘Gee Whiz.’

I haven’t heard or used that phrase in years, but I can imagine that if William Randolph Hearst were alive now, and he were listening to the asinine podcasts Joe Rogan records on a daily and that Spotify allows him to publish to the masses, his “Gee Whiz” would roughly translate to “What the f%$#!”

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