'Why is Joe Rogan popular?' asks CNN in widely-mocked segment about podcaster's appeal

'CNN requiring expert help to understand why anyone listens to the world’s most popular podcaster is painfully on-brand,' tweeted political commentator Drew Holden

'Why is Joe Rogan popular?' asks CNN in widely-mocked segment about podcaster's appeal
Joe Rogan has recently drawn the ire of critics for hosting guests who spread Covid misinformation but remains Spotify's most popular podcaster (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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CNN has been slammed online for doing a whole segment on Joe Rogan and why he’s so famous. The cable news network also included an expert to understand the controversial podcaster’s popularity as well as his show – ‘The Joe Rogan Experience'.

The program started by mentioning the accusations against Rogan, like Covid-19 misinformation and a resurfaced video compilation of him hurling racial slurs. After which, a narrator of CNN asked, “Even with these controversies, Rogan remains wildly popular. So the question is – why?” Then the segment showed Gabriel Wisnewski-Parks – a research fellow in the Department of Communication Studies at UNC Greensboro who commented: “What makes him so magnetic to his audience is his very vocal resistance to tribalism.”

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Wisnewski-Parks then went on to say that Rogan’s popularity is also because of his wide range of guests from all over the political spectrum, which “really resonates with people.” “One other connection we can make that I don't think should be overestimated is Joe Rogan's background as a stand-up comedian, this archetype of the comedian as the truth-teller,” he noted.

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In this photo illustration, "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast is viewed on Spotify's mobile app on January 31, 2022, in New York City. Several artists recently removed their music from Spotify in protest of hosting Joe Rogan's podcast. (Photo Illustration by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Wisnewski-Parks also stated: “Joe Rogan's podcast absolutely has the potential to be dangerous, especially when we're talking about communication over a public health issue,” before adding: “But it can be just as dangerous if we're going to start censoring because we need to figure out how to keep open those lines of communication in a way that is both critical and willing to question Joe Rogan's authority but at the same time recognizes that his appeal and his popularity are already entrenched in his audience. And that's not going anywhere.”

Culture writer Kat Rosenfield also commented on why Rogan is so acclaimed among people and told CNN: “Joe Rogan does have these off-the-cuff conversations, and I think that there's a reason why that format has become so popular.” Rosenfield explained that the 54-year-old commentator’s “audience feels they're being trusted to draw their own conclusions, and that stands in really stark contrast the way that a lot of other outlets have sort of shifted in the direction of covering the news and analyzing the news in a way that feels that it's really pushing the audience towards making the proper conclusions.”
But people online did not seem impressed with CNN's effort. A user tweeted, “Let's do a Study to why nobody is watching CNN.... Leave you comments down below!” The second one wrote, “Another example of CNN REACHING for controversy. I like JRE, even though he says things sometimes I don't agree with...but that's okay. It's the quality of guests and conversations that turn ppl on to his program. He also seems authentic, which is completely missing at CNN.”

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Joe Rogan reacts during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

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Criticizing the network, National Review senior writer Dan McLaughlin said: “CNN had to find an outside expert to explain how you would produce programming that attracts an audience.” Political commentator Drew Holden commented: “CNN requiring expert help to understand why anyone listens to the world’s most popular podcaster is painfully on-brand.” And, Daily Wire writer Virginia Kruta added: “Someone unironically researched ‘Joe Rogan's appeal,’ and someone at CNN greenlighted this segment. It's not possible to mock this any more than it mocks itself.”

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