Outlets try to force Spotify to silence views they disagree with

June 19, 2023

By Tim Worstall

The Verge tells us that Spotify must do something to Joe Rogan because RFK said something bad in a piece headlined, “Spotify does nothing as Joe Rogan peddles vaccine misinformation.”

The background isn’t quite that: It’s Robert F. Kennedy doing the peddling, and he has announced his candidacy in the next Presidential election.

“That adds a troubling new dynamic to this story, particularly in the context of the Motherboard story that started this, which touched on Spotify’s contortions to allow Rogan’s misinformation to remain on the platform,” according to the piece.

That Kennedy is, to put this mildly, less than fully in contact with reality on this subject isn’t the point. We have here a call, an insistence that no one should be allowed to say such things publicly. Even would-be presidential candidates. Not all of whom have always been entirely in contact with reality.

Vice tells us the same thing in its “Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation.”

“As a recent conversation between the podcast host and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes clear,” the subhead reads.

These people must not be allowed to say these things. Someone must stop them.

“What followed was a detailed survey of Kennedy’s most dangerously incorrect views, a far too extensive list to outline in full, all of which Rogan accepted uncritically, his mouth quite often literally agape in awe…

“They included innumerable talking points that have already been debunked.”

To say that Rogan and Kennedy were spouting nonsense is fine – that’s just part of the back-and-forth that is free speech. Our ability as the thinking adults that we are to sift through the claims is also what leads to the truth.

But that’s not what the progressive media demands here – and we’re only mentioning those that begin with a V; this is all over the place. The actual demand is that no one be allowed to say these things publicly. Because the self-appointed fact-checkers have shown they are wrong to their own satisfaction, no one should be allowed to utter them over the airwaves.

 This misses how this free speech thing works entirely. Yes, the First Amendment only stops the government from limiting speech. But actual free speech means anyone – and everyone – being allowed to utter any damn fool thing they like. We then sort through who says what and decide what reflects the truth.

In specific detail here, people were banned from places like Facebook for saying that covid itself might have come from a lab leak rather than a species cross-over in the Wuhan market. The lab leak is now an entirely respectable view to hold and possibly even the right one. But people were banned from uttering the truth because of those self-appointed fact-checkers and their censorship of the public conversation.

 This also becomes much larger than just the conversation about covid and or vaccines. If the “fact-checkers” can stop this conversation, what others will they also have power over? There are plenty of people out there who believe that sex is assigned at birth instead of observed. That sex is changeable through surgery, That higher taxes make a nation rich. That high-speed rail is suitable for the US. That phonics is the wrong way to teach reading. They believe all these things are a matter of fact, not opinion. And if these people can determine, and limit, what other people may say, then where will we be? Well, we’d be in exactly that land that the Founding Fathers hoped free speech would save us from – something akin to the varied communisms and fascisms of the 20th century. A place where the truth has been decided, however lunatic it is, and no one is allowed to say different.   

The American system – our system – is specifically designed to prevent this outcome. Where people cannot say unfashionable, or even wrong, things because the politically powerful say so, that it’s the progressive media trying to wield that power doesn’t change anything. RFK may well be wrong, but his ability to be wrong and say so is the American Dream.



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