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Rogan, Pence, and the Closing of the Conservative Mind

Joe Rogan
Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
February 11, 2022

Last month, as Spotify was first grappling with the fallout over Joe Rogan hosting vaccine skeptics on his immensely popular podcast, I mused that Rogan was certain to become a new G.O.P. martyr—and, perhaps, an imperfect vessel for the right to continue an apparently winning avenue of the culture wars. It didn’t matter that Rogan, an irreverent comedian and mixed martial arts commentator, was also an enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporter, or that Rogan appeared to be genuinely contrite after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from Spotify in protest. He acquiesced to hosting more mainstream scientific experts to counterbalance the quacks, and later offered a heartfelt apology when horrific old clips of him saying the n-word resurfaced online. Indeed, Rogan himself appeared perfectly willing to genuflect to Spotify, which licensed The Joe Rogan Experience for more than $100 million in 2020.