“Cherry Picking Data”: How Joe Rogan’s Infamous Interview with Robert Malone Spread Misinformation

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The post “Cherry Picking Data”: How Joe Rogan’s Infamous Interview with Robert Malone Spread Misinformation appeared first on Consequence.

Neil Young may have lit the match that sparked an exodus from Spotify, but Joe Rogan poured the gas himself with a now-infamous interview with Dr. Robert Malone. That episode of The Joe Rogan Experience prompted hundreds of scientists and healthcare professionals to chastise Spotify for hosting “mass-misinformation events,” and seemingly served as the immediate inspiration for Young’s decision to leave the platform. Now, the fact-checking podcast Science Vs has interviewed some of the scientists doing research that Malone cited in the interview, going back to the source to demonstrate that he “cherry picked the data” to spread misinformation to millions.

Malone has claimed to be an expert on the COVID-19 vaccines, and he did perform some of the foundational experiments in the study of mRNA technology in the late 1980s. But in more recent times he’s become a consistent source of science quackery, even getting kicked off Twitter for misrepresenting vaccine safety.

One of the best examples of this came in Malone’s comments to Rogan about myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle that is sometimes accompanied by chest pain and heart palpitations. On The Joe Rogan Experience, Malone talked about “a recent paper out of Hong Kong – comprehensive analysis [of] myocarditis in boys… saying the myocarditis was so bad after vaccination, and these are all verified post-vaccination — myocarditis was so bad that you went to the hospital.” He also ooh-poohed people who try to claim that “myocarditis is mild and they recover from it, OK. Those statements aren’t, let’s say gently, based in fact.”

As Science Vs points out, he is simultaneously quoting a paper about the rate of myocarditis before dismissing the same paper’s claim that the myocarditis was rare and mild. To clear this up, Science Vs host Wendy Zukerman interviewed Dr. Mike Kwan, an author of that paper.

“Those patients, they recover completely,” Dr. Kwan said. He monitored 178,000 teens who received COVID-19 vaccines, and of those cases, 33 teens got myocarditis. Notably, they didn’t call an ambulance or hospital and admit themselves, but instead reported chest discomfort to Dr. Kwan. He then invited them into the hospital in order to perform tests. “All the cases were hospitalized because we wanted to perform a detailed workup for them,” he explained.

Some of their symptoms cleared up with ibuprofen, and “some of them even not require medications, and they just take a rest, and eventually they recover by themselves, and none of them got severe complications, and no cases of mortality, most importantly. And all of them recover and went back home. And so far, some patients are being followed up around seven months and they’re very good, no problem, so this is very good news.”

Malone’s attempt to prove that the vaccines lead to dangerous myocarditis left out almost all of the key context: The boys were hospitalized as part of the study, none of them required major medical interventions, and nobody died. According to host Zukerman, “It felt like he trusted and focused on the negative things in this study but then didn’t trust all the positive stuff.”

Besides that, Malone neglected more recent studies that showed even smaller risk of myocarditis, as well as the overwhelming evidence that myocarditis is much more prevalent in unvaccinated people who catch COVID-19 than in people who receive the vaccine.

Zukerman also debunked Malone’s warnings about vaccines leading to loss of fertility. On The Joe Rogan Experience, Malone warned about changes to menstruation, or “alterations in menses in women.”

For this, he didn’t cite a scientific paper, but instead his own conversations with “rabbis in the Hasidic Jew community,” who he said “carefully monitor, we don’t need to go into how, the menstrual cycle of the fertile women in their congregations — closely monitor it, because there is strict guidance about cleanliness and intercourse. And they had a major problem because they these these, you know, these are all 60 plus up to 80, long beards, gray hair that had exquisite understanding about the menstrual cycle in all the women in their congregations. And they all knew that these menstrual cycles were being disrupted all the time. And for them, this was a major crisis because it meant that if you’re if you’re in the Hasidic community, increasing the size of the population of Hasidic Jews is kind of important to you, um, it’s centrally important to them. And this was a major threat to reproductive health in their communities.”

Leaving aside the claim that these “long beards “have an “exquisite understanding about the menstrual cycle in all the women in their congregations,” actual research suggests that there’s no such danger of a major reproductive crisis.

Zukerman spoke to Dr. Victoria Male, a reproductive immunologist at Imperial College London. Dr. Male found that COVID-19 vaccinations actually do have a measurable impact on menstruation, but “it’s really small.” On average, women’s periods were off by less than a day, and “they went back to normal within two cycles,” or two months. Malone’s hints that vaccines would lead to infertility are totally bogus. According to Male, “Pregnancies happened equally in the vaccinated and in the unvaccinated arms of the trials.”

In contrast, Dr. Male found that vaccination protects fertility. “Catching COVID, that made no difference if it was the female partner that caught COVID, but if the male partner caught COVID – for two months, there was a decreased chance that the couple would conceive. So that tells us that in males, COVID is actually reducing fertility, luckily temporarily, but it is.”

Zuckerman also looked at Malone’s claims that there’s a conspiracy to hide information about the vaccines, his bizarre theory about “mass formation hypnosis,” and his reliance on argument by anecdote. Listen to the full episode below.

Several artists have followed Neil Young’s example and left Spotify, while others have come to Rogan’s defense. Revisit our roundup of who said what here. In response to the Malone interview, Spotify added a “content advisory” on material about COVID-19, while Rogan pledged to “research topics” and “balance things out.” However, he’s recently become mired in another controversy, after Spotify removed about 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience because its host used the N-word. Rogan has since apologized, and Spotify is still sticking by him.

“Cherry Picking Data”: How Joe Rogan’s Infamous Interview with Robert Malone Spread Misinformation
Wren Graves

Popular Posts

Subscribe to Consequence of Sound’s email digest and get the latest breaking news in music, film, and television, tour updates, access to exclusive giveaways, and more straight to your inbox.