Spotify asked to monitor misinformation after Rogan comments

On Balance with Leland Vittert

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MAY 09: Announcer 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)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A doctor, who signed a letter to Spotify expressing concerns about podcaster Joe Rogan’s COVID comments, says the listening platform has a responsibility to monitor misinformation.

“When you have misinformation on a platform of that size, it creates a sense of false balance,” Dr. Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, said Monday as a guest of “On Balance.”

“People think that science and scientific data is merely a difference of opinion, when it is not the same. There is not two sides to this issue.”

More than 200 doctors signed the letter to Spotify. Wallace says they are not calling for censorship or removal of content, and they are not asking for Rogan to be fired. Instead, they want the platform to create a policy on how to moderate misinformation.

The letter pointed to one episode in December, when noted virologist Dr. Robert Malone suggested government leaders are misleading Americans with COVID restrictions, an interview they got removed from YouTube.

“There are things that we have data to support, statements that we have data to support, scientific evidence, and there are things that are baseless conspiracy theories, and a lot of the things that are discussed on the podcast and namely the podcast that you mentioned with Dr. Robert Malone, were just baseless conspiracy theories that are not backed in science,” Wallace said.

Rogan’s use of the drug ivermectin to treat COVID was also discussed.

“Ivermectin has been considered, studied and proven not to work for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 and yet, it is still being discussed on this podcast as a treatment for the disease,” Wallace said.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have both warned against the drug to treat COVID, she added.

Rogan, who is America’s most popular podcaster, acknowledged his lack of health expertise.

“I’m not a doctor,” Rogan said on his show. “I’m a (expletive) moron. And I’m a cage fighting commentator. I’m not a respected source of information even for me. If I say things, I’m always going check on that … I don’t know if that’s true. I do that all the time, but I at least try to be honest about what I’m saying.”

So far, Spotify has not responded to the letter.

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