Joe Rogan is probably the most popular “news” source on the internet right now, but goddamn, it would be nice if the popular sources actually knew anything. Thanks, YouTube, your algorithm is one of the primary enablers of evil in America.
His latest inanity, the latest among many, is that he is spreading COVID misinformation.
Joe Rogan’s public misrepresentation of a 2015 vaccine study has gone viral. His misunderstanding of the study leads Rogan to wrongly conclude that vaccinating people against COVID-19 will increase the chances of some hyper-virulent mutation. You can watch the video below [Nah, I’m not including a Rogan video here–pzm]. But before you do, the lead scientist and author of the study who spent 10 years conducting this research has something to say. Because he’s horrified.
“Joe Rogan is getting this completely wrong,” says Andrew Read, professor of biology and entomology at Pennsylvania State. “He’s taking very careful work about evolutionary scenarios of the future, and from that, erroneously concluding that people should not be vaccinated now.”
Right. Rogan claimed that vaccinated people were a reservoir of variation in the human population. This is not true, as the author of the scientific paper plainly says.
“Evolution, at the moment, is all happening in the unvaccinated. That’s where the majority of cases are. That’s the majority of transmission. Every time a virus replicates, it can mutate. So the evolution is, right now, occurring in the body of people who are not vaccinated. Rogan is completely wrong trying to deduce anything else.”
If you were to listen to Rogan’s video, you’d see it’s one meathead having a conversation with another nobody, misrepresenting the work but claiming that he has a scientific paper proving his point (it doesn’t) while complaining that you have to get vaccinated to hang out in a bar, followed by a lot of conspiracy theory bullshit. That’s the discourse. This is where we’re at, the state of public science communication of significant information is now in the hands of assholes.
Speaking of assholes and misinformation, have you ever heard of Tim Pool? He’s big. He’s making millions of dollars off YouTube programming and biased lying to the public. The Daily Beast just posted a lengthy exposé on Pool.
…Pool has discovered a style of commentary and audience where a lack of knowledge or journalistic skills might not prove an impediment to success. In some ways, incuriosity and incapacity serve as valuable attributes in this medium. Not solely because of the political valence but thanks in part to how YouTube itself functions: rewarding the kind of high-volume, sensationalized, and sloppy churn Pool specializes in.
And it has made Pool both exceedingly rich and one of the most-watched independent YouTube political pundits in the country—over 3.3 million subscribers, 1.5 billion views, and, by all estimates, hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue per month. He earned $600,000 just in August 2020 and “most of it” came from YouTube, Pool claimed in the recorded conversation.
It’s stunning that that much money is cheerfully forked over to an incompetent grifter by YouTube and Google. You’d think somebody at those companies would look up and notice that they’re enabling some of the worst journalism on the planet, and that maybe they ought to adjust their algorithm to disable its bias in favor of screeching sensationalist jerks. We’ve long been plagued with tabloid-style yellow journalism, but somehow YouTube has figured out a recipe for turning it into even more money.
At the same time, though, some people manage to produce excellent content on YouTube, which will never be rewarded as profligately as the garbage Tim Pool or Joe Rogan churns out. For example, here’s a beautifully detailed dissection of Tim Pool — it’s worth listening to the whole thing, if you have the patience. I was a bit worried at the beginning, because the creator starts by praising Pool’s goals and claims, and I started thinking that this might be a puff piece by a fan…but never fear, as he continues, he carefully shows how everything Pool says is a self-aggrandizing lie by a lazy pseudojournalist. It’s a thoroughly damning analysis.
Give all of Tim Pool’s money to that guy. It’s too bad they won’t, because sensationalist lying and crazy conspiracy theories bring more views and advertising dollars.