Joe Rogan has emerged as a figure who is immune to cancel culture, though many attempts have been made. He survived and even benefited from attempts to have his popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, removed from Spotify. In the latest attack on Rogan’s podcast, a local newspaper hung posters to remind the public that Rogan isn’t a journalist, but they are.
According to a social media post on Reddit, the Texas newspaper publication The Austin American Statesman has embarked on a guerrilla-marketing campaign against using veiled verbiage to attack the podcaster.
A photograph of a poster hung on the streets of Austin reads ” ‘Pull that up, Jamie’ doesn’t count as journalism. Journalism by journalists. Not Comedians.” As far as “journalism” goes, The Statesman is the same newspaper that made national headlines for refusing to publish the description of a mass shooter, while still at large, because they didn’t want to “perpetuate stereotypes”.
The reference to “Jamie” is interpreted to be Joe Rogan’s producer, Jamie Vernon who also goes by, Young Jamie. Requests from Rogan to his producer to “pull that up” are frequently heard on the video podcast. This phrase simply means to search the internet for news stories or other information sources on topics that come up in discussions with guests on the show. Rogan doesn’t pretend to be a journalist, what he does is more along the lines of cultural commentary and interviews. He has self-described his job saying, “I talk s*** for a living.” In short Rogan talks and people listen. A lot of people listen, which has made him a target of traditional media outlets and cancel culture.
The Statesman is the largest newspaper in Texas’ capital city and is estimated to have a daily circulation of about 130,000. Recently, the paper cut print distribution on Saturdays, opting for a fully-digital paper in what they curiously branded, “The Saturday Experience”. Next to their recent poster campaign, it appears they imagine themselves to be directly competing with Rogan’s viewership, estimated to be 11 million listeners per episode.
Rogan was named one of the most influential people of 2022, on the TIME 100 list. Even Texas candidate for lieutenant governor, Mike Collier (D), recognizes the influence of Rogan, buying campaign ads on Rogan’s show to reach his audience made up of mostly younger males who tend to be politically independent.
The Statesman isn’t the first media outlet to attempt to siphon off an audience from the podcast space. The streaming service CNN+ spent a reported $300 million in development and was shut down less than a month from launch.
The message on the posters is basically “Don’t listen to Joe Rogan,” adding to the trend of mainstream outlets attempting to shield the public from independent or alternative media, especially if the media leans right. The New York Times launched a whole initiative to report on what “right-wing media” outlets are saying, and even study how their messages are “developed, circulated and absorbed.”
As the mainstream media continues to lose the confidence and trust of the American public, hitting record lows last month, and while campaign dollars are steering away from traditional outlets to reach audiences in more authentic spaces, we can expect to see the arms race against independent thought and influence continue.
The results of The Statesman’s covert and cowardly attacks on Rogan as a marketing ploy are unknown, but since a little controversy is exactly what The Joe Rogan Experience is all about, they are likely spreading Rogan’s brand better than their own.