With over 1,500 episodes, The Joe Rogan Experience is one of the most popular and influential podcasts available. Comedian, television host, and former UFC commentator, Joe Rogan hosts a casual talk show with various guests from politics, sports, culture, Hollywood, and the music industry. Starting in 2009, partnered with comedian Brian Redban, Rogan streamed from Justin.tv.  As the podcast gained traction Rogan expanded to other platforms such as SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and, more recently, Spotify. Rogan is known to push the envelope on controversial subjects and sometimes host controversial guests.

Rogan has garnered substantial support and influence through his podcast, so much so he has given a voice to the censored, censured, and has offered a palatable option to listen to differing opinions. His show, much like a conversation, is low-key but manages to gracefully touch on subjects that are especially sensitive in postmodern America. Rogan has proven himself to be neutral to much of today’s political and social divide, making him, in essence, the “voice of reason.”

Rogan’s podcast has offered a platform for many individuals deemed to be radicals, dissidents, and alleged extremists. Outspoken establishment pundits haven’t always been happy with Rogan’s selection of guests. They claim that he gives a platform for hate, bigotry, and conspiracy. Since Rogan has amassed such a broad audience, he is, in a sense, a gatekeeper and an influencer. His podcast opens the airway to views that may appear detrimental to society and culture, but then again, who can genuinely make such judgments? Platforms don’t have the legal authority; the responsibility falls on the publisher, Joe Rogan.

It isn’t hard to see that Rogan’s podcast has been a proponent of freedom of speech. He has brought together many people, especially in these recent times of discord. Although some dislike a handful of his guests, he allows the individuals to speak for themselves. The audience is left to determine what they think about the guests. The listener should be the one to determine the “ins” and “outs” of the message. Today, many have their vocal cords cut and replaced with the stigma of “outcast.” Rogan mends that breach of civil liberty.

Although Rogan has provided societal outcasts with the opportunity to voice themselves against critics, his move to Spotify has laid siege on free speech. Rogan being a libertarian liberal embraces out-of-the-box thinking regardless of the labeling. He has moved many, demonstrating that media pundits can be more faithful to their biases. 

During his transitioning from YouTube to Spotify, episodes included Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes, Milo Yiannopoulos, Chris D’Elia, Tommy Chong, Stefan Molyneux, Owen Benjamin, Nick Kroll, and Joey Diaz have been flagged and removed. It is no surprise that Big Tech would censor these individuals.  The repeated abuse of censorship has been rampant, especially during the last few years. Rogan has been the “middleman” too much of the censorship issues. 

Last September, he was even trending on Twitter to be the moderator for an upcoming presidential debate. His audience understands he is simply a host and remarkably without an agenda. More podcasts like his will bridge the gap between our fellow man, providing the opportunity for reconciliation and clarification. Remember, though, the host is limited by his platform, although it should not be the case due to the law. 

Since these platforms are taking up the responsibility as publishers, Congress should limit their vast freedoms and benefits and treat them like such. There is a line between publishers and platforms, and today’s platforms have been attempting to blur it in attempts to delete who they deem problematic.