Calling someone a racist in today's United States is not intended to reveal a great truth, but meant to destroy. Charges of racism, once leveled, are hard to fight back against. The burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser, to prove, and neither a defense nor an apology is a way to overcome the allegations. A defense is seen as a denial of guilt, while an apology is simply an admission of guilt.
When 1619 Project author and founder Nicole Hannah-Jones leveled charges of racism at famed yet controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, complete with a clip of him saying the n-word, the goal was to do what no pundit, media outlet, or boomer artist has yet been able to do: deplatform him, and also paint as racist anyone who listens to him.
Nicole Hannah-Jones took issue with a tweet from her colleague, New York Times writer Matthew Rosenberg posted a tweet saying "Joe Rogan is what he is. We in the media might want to spend more time thinking about why so many people trust him instead of us."
In response, Hannah-Jones wrote "With respect, I don't get this. We need to understand why millions of Americans don't mind the open racism? It's not a mystery. Been reporting on it for years. So, what do we do with that?" She later deleted the tweet, which she has a history of doing.
Her inclination was to say that not only is Rogan racist, but his fans are racist. This after Rogan came under fire from media pundits, "experts," and other critics for spreading "misinformation" by having guests on his podcast who, standing on their own extensive credentials, questioned the mainstream, government narrative about Covid.
Are we to understand that questioning the Covid narrative is racist? And that listening to interviews with people who question the Covid narrative is racist? She also takes aim at Rogan's listeners after Newsweek writer Batya Ungar-Sargon defended Rogan on behalf of his listeners, saying that to a large extent the desire to ban Rogan is coupled with a want to disregard those listeners.
Unga-Sargon wrote that "Elite media types want Joe Rogan banned for the same reason they call anti-mandate truckers fascists—both speak for millions of working class people who were abandoned when liberals got rich and woke. Rather than confront this, they silence or smear anyone who exposes it."
Hannah-Jones said that Ungar-Sargon's take was "sophomoric," and that Rogan dabbles in "racist tropes." Then she slammed Ungar-Sargon for being what she critiqued, someone who works in media. Apparently for Hannah-Jones, Ungar-Sargon's work prohibits her from defending Rogan's listeners.
To back up her claim that Rogan is racist, Hannah-Jones shared a clip of a compilation of times that Rogan spoke the n-word, but each time has absolutely no context. He did not "use" the word, but spoke it, seeming in a few cases to quote someone else saying it.
There's a difference, but that difference is apparently irrelevant, it's enough for Hannah-Jones that the syllables came out of Rogan's mouth, though in none of the brief instances shown does it appear that the term is being used as an epithet.
Rogan, who has a multi-million dollar deal with streaming platform Spotify, brought on two doctors that sent outrage through media. Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone were both guests on Rogan's podcast, and both questioned the going narrative about Covid as woven by government, social media, and mainstream corporate media outlets.
After these two doctors spoke on podcasts heard by millions of listeners, media outlets started to slam Rogan for having hosted the men at all. Rogan was called a spreader of "misinformation" simply for hearing alternative views. Spotify was called on to pull his podcast, or at least slap warning labels on it, which they have now decided to do for episodes that buck the Covid narrative. Since then, both Joni Mitchell and Neil Young have pulled their music from the streaming service. Biden's surgeon general called for Rogan to be censored.
Speaking to listeners about the controversy on Sunday, Rogan said that much of what was once considered "misinformation" is now considered factually accurate. Over the pat year, people have been banned from social media for saying all sort os things that are now on the cover of mainstream press.
"The problem I have with the term misinformation, especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact," Rogan said.
"Like for instance, eight months ago, if you said, 'if you get vaccinated, you can still catch COVID and you can still spread COVID,' You'd be removed from social media. They would, they would ban you from certain platforms. Now that's accepted as fact," Rogan explained.
"If you said, 'I don't think cloth masks work,' you would be banned from social media. Now that's openly and repeatedly stated on CNN. If you said, 'I think it's possible that COVID-19 came from a lab,' you'd be banned from many social media platforms. Now that's on the cover of Newsweek," Rogan said.
It was for questioning the Covid narrative, having too many listeners who do not fit into the coastal elite bubble, that Rogan has been called racist. Hannah-Jones, and her supporters, have also taken aim at anyone who disagrees with the historical inaccuracies in her work and called those people racist as well.