On the December 7 edition of his Spotify podcast, Joe Rogan baselessly suggested that a December 4 rally put on in Washington, D.C., by the white nationalist group Patriot Front was “fake” and claimed that it must have been put on by the “feds.” Rogan repeatedly justified his unfounded claim by pointing out that the attendees wore matching uniforms and were physically fit, saying, “First of all these guys are too slim. ... They’re all in shape. They’re all thin. They’re uniformly marching with flags. I’m like, there’s no way these fucking idiots would be this organized.”
In reality, more than 100 members of Patriot Front marched through downtown Washington, D.C., on December 4. Nevertheless, right-wing media and figures, along with Republican officials, claimed that the rally was fake, even asserting that the Patriot Front members were “just more movie characters.”
A Snopes fact check rated these claims as “false,” noting that the group’s leader “is a known far-right and fascist activist in the United States, and he was clearly visible and identifiable at the Dec. 4 National Mall rally,” and stating, “Claims that the event was faked or staged, by federal agents or actors, are entirely lacking in evidence, and are contradicted by the best available evidence.”
Nonetheless, Rogan continued his long-standing pattern of spreading right-wing lies and conspiracy theories on his Spotify podcast, asserting, “What the fuck is this? Have you ever seen anything that looks more like feds? Tell me that doesn't look like feds.”
He also noted that a Twitter account that shared news of the event was seemingly fake. According to The Washington Post, “the Twitter account that announced the march wasn’t real, anti-hate group and disinformation researchers say.” It continued:
The small march — about 100 people — and the attention it generated, experts said, displayed the ways hate groups such as Patriot Front use the nation’s capital as a backdrop for propaganda materials and manipulate social media to their advantage.
“It shows how a small troupe of fascists in uniform can … exploit the loopholes around a social media company like Twitter and absolutely make themselves look much more fearsome, look much more scary,” said Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, “and give themselves a much better shot at getting the mainstream coverage they so desperately crave.”
Additionally, the QAnon Anonymous podcast’s host Travis View wrote, “The Twitter account with the AI-face pic that ‘reported’ on the Patriot Front march changed its name to the Patriot Front chant and posted a thread of Patriot Front propaganda under the viral tweet before it was suspended.”
Rogan’s podcast is broadcast exclusively on Spotify and was the most popular podcast on the platform in 2021 and 2020. As The Washington Post has noted, “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, Rogan reaches nearly four times as many people as prime-time cable hosts such as Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.” Despite Rogan repeatedly espousing misinformation and bigotry to his large audience, Spotify has refused to take any action to quell Rogan’s sexist, racist, and harmful commentary.