Money and the disinformation machine

The row over Joe Rogan's podcasts promoting anti-vax views is not about free speech but Spotify's bottom line.

Joe Rogan's (left) repeated Covid-19 disinformation on his popular podcast prompted singer Neil Young to issue an ultimatum to Spotify. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS
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(NYTIMES) - The streaming service Spotify would like us to believe it is grappling with profound matters of free speech and censorship as it faces mounting pressure over repeated Covid disinformation from its star podcaster, Joe Rogan. But there is a far simpler explanation - it is about the money. And the listening public is the one paying the price.

In recent days, several well-known musicians have protested against Spotify's enormously popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, in which Rogan has irresponsibly promoted ivermectin, used to treat parasitic infections, as a Covid-19 treatment and protested against vaccine requirements. And when his guests have offered up gobs of bad information about Covid and vaccine efficacy, he has offered up too little pushback.

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