The Aussie Journalist Who Wrecked Joe Rogan Has Spoken Out About The Experience

"I wasn't at all prepared for that."

joe rogan journalist owned photo

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Over the weekend, podcast host Joe Rogan was undone by those pesky of things — facts.

During an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, the host repeated spurious scientific claims about the dangers associated with the coronavirus vaccine. Since the start of the pandemic, Rogan has repeatedly taken a vaccine sceptical stance and has spoken out against both mandates and the efficacy of masks.

Rogan’s newest argument is that the vaccine increases the risk of the dangerous condition myocarditis. And while it’s true that there is some risk of developing myocarditis as a result of getting the vaccine, the risk of developing the condition is much higher from actually contracting coronavirus.

But try telling that to Rogan. When the host began detailing the risks of the vaccine, his guest — the Australian journalist Josh Szeps — was quick to step in and correct him, sending the man into a total tailspin. Watching Rogan flailing for sources to support what he had already decided is an exercise in how minds are made up, and proof that now more than ever we need to be open to changing our core beliefs.

Now, Szeps has appeared on the podcast The Briefing to discuss the experience. Interestingly, talking to host Tom Tilley, Szeps called the moment “a fluke.”

“What I wasn’t expecting was any conversation about myocarditis and the side effects of vaccines, I wasn’t at all prepared for that,” Szeps says. “A lot of things come up. And it just so happened he mentioned something. I knew that it was a right-wing talking point and I knew it was something he was concerned about. But the ‘Josh Szeps slaps down Joe Rogan’ moment that subsequently went viral was frankly a fluke.”

Indeed, Szeps has gone so far as to somewhat defend Rogan, arguing that he actively seeks out interesting points of view.

“Joe gets a lot of criticism for being an anti-vaxxer, or a spreader of vaccine misinformation. My take on him is that he’s a comedian. He’s an Ultimate Fighting commentator. He’s just a nice bloke who’s sort of interested in having conversations with people from all across the aisle. And he’s interested in having conversations specifically with people who contradict conventional narratives or who question what everyone else believes. So in the context of vaccines, that are skerricks of truth. He’s not a person who is constantly pumping out vast quantities of knowingly false material.”

So there you have it — the spat that wasn’t a spat. The Briefing is available on the LiSTNR app or wherever you get your podcasts.