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the jon stewart experience

Jon Stewart argues 'overreaction' to Joe Rogan is a 'mistake' amid Spotify protest

As musicians pull out of Spotify over Joe Rogan, Jon Stewart is coming to the podcast host's defense.

On his own podcast, the ex-host of The Daily Show discussed artists like Neil Young leaving Spotify in protest of COVID-19 misinformation on Rogan's show The Joe Rogan Experience. Stewart criticized "overblown rhetoric" about Rogan, arguing he's not "an ideologue in any way" and is open to being corrected when he's wrong. When it comes to the Spotify protest, Stewart said that in general, his philosophy is "don't leave, don't abandon, don't censor, engage."

"This overreaction to Rogan, I think, is a mistake," Stewart added. "I really do."

Stewart compared being on Spotify alongside Rogan to networks being on TV alongside Fox News, a "willful purveyor of misinformation," asking, "So now everybody on TV has to pull out of their f---ing shows or deplatform because in the same tube that you exist, they exist?" He also argued that those who oppose Rogan should "make better arguments" and "engage" with him. 

"I think it's so much more powerful to engage, and there's something about 'I'm gonna take my ball and go home' that I don't like," Stewart said. 

Numerous musicians including Joni Mitchell joined Young in requesting Spotify remove their music. David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash said they "don't want our music" on the platform until "real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce." 

Stewart appeared to anticipate the way his argument might draw pushback online, at one point joking, "By the way, do we only do these conversations so that I will get in trouble?"