October 30, 2020

The president wants to make good T.V. out of debates

Joe Rogan offered to moderate a fourth presidential debate on a podcast with UFC fighter Tim Kennedy. When Kennedy tweeted out Rogan’s plan, he asked “Who wants this?” President Trump tweeted back “I do!” on Sept. 14. 

Media mogul President Donald Trump continued his obsession with high television ratings by accepting a presidential debate moderated by well-known comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan. 

Joe Rogan is the host of The Joe Rogan Experience, a long form interview podcast hosted on a variety of media platforms. Through this podcast, Rogan has secured a higher level of fame than ever before. Rogan has secured interviews with the likes of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Bernie Sanders, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Elon Musk and Robert Downey Jr. 

Rogan’s success with The Joe Rogan Experience landed him a multi-million dollar deal with Spotify.  He is consistently placed among the highest earning podcasters in the world. 

Rogan’s success is in large part due to the immensely lax nature of his interviews. Tesla creator Elon Musk once shared a joint with Rogan on The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan has received much acclaim for being able to sit down with nearly anyone on the political spectrum for his podcast. 

Normally, debates are hosted by the non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission was created under the sponsorship of both major political parties. A debate hosted by Rogan could be a way of sidestepping party politics. 

However, Rogan has been hit with a variety of controversies surrounding his podcast. Rogan has been accused of giving a platform to the alt-right by hosting the likes of Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos and InfoWars’ Alex Jones. 

A supplementary cause of concern with Rogan moderating a presidential debate stems from his clear anti-Biden bias. On April 8, during an episode featuring Lex Fridman, Rogan stated that he could never vote for Biden. 

“I don’t want to vote for someone that has a mental problem. He’s got dementia,” he said referring to Biden. 

Rogan also stated he would vote for Trump over Biden. During the Democratic Presidential Primary, Rogan shared his support for Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Rogan has also been criticized for not pushing back against his guest’s claims. While clips can be found of Rogan challenging the likes of Candace Owens on topics such as climate change, Rogan does not have credentials as a journalist or to moderate any debate, let alone a presidential debate. 

Nonetheless, Rogan still offered to moderate a fourth presidential debate on a podcast with UFC fighter Tim Kennedy.

“First of all, I want no one else in the room, just the three of us,” he said. “And you’d have to stream it live so no one can edit it, and I would want them in there for hours. If they wanted to do that – they both wanted to come here in Austin, sit down and have a debate – I would 100% do it.” 

When Kennedy tweeted out Rogan’s plan, he asked “Who wants this?” President Trump tweeted back “I do!” on Sept. 14. 

As expected, Trump’s agreement to the debate garnered massive news and social media attention. Many insisted that Rogan would bring an air of authenticity to the debates, but I fail to see how a biased and unqualified moderator makes for good politics. A debate has not been formally announced. If the debate is announced, it will just make for good T.V. and nothing more. 

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