joe rogan ufc
© Getty Images /Carmen Mandato
Joe Rogan
The podcaster says 'nobody listens' to the network.

Comedian Joe Rogan has called on CNN to "be honest," after hosts Brian Stelter and Don Lemon criticized his hugely popular Spotify podcast. Rogan attacked CNN's falling ratings, saying "nobody listens to" these presenters.

Comment: He's right. Rogan's numbers absolutely trounce the network in multiple metrics.

"Stop this editorial perspective with guys like Brian Stelter and Don Lemon that nobody listens to," Rogan said on the latest episode of his podcast on Thursday. "Nobody is, like, chiming in saying, 'Oh yeah, finally we get the voice of reason.' Nobody thinks that."

Speaking to a guest, comedian Dave Smith, Rogan claimed that viewers don't trust CNN any more, stating "If you're in business and your business is the news and you want to get more people to pay attention, you should be honest."

"I don't hate CNN. I used to go to them every day for the news until they start f**king hatin' on me," Rogan said.

Stelter and Lemon emerged as some of Rogan's harshest critics during a recent bout of controversy, in which liberal news outlets and celebrities called on Spotify to cancel its contract with the former UFC commentator due to his hosting of Covid-skeptic and vaccine-critical guests. The controversy deepened when Rogan's critics dug up old footage of him saying the N word, leading Spotify to remove 70 episodes of 'The Joe Rogan Experience' featuring controversial language.

Comment: Although multiple outlets are saying Spotify removed the episodes, it actually looks like it was Rogan himself who chose to have the episodes pulled, according to a statement by Spotify CEO Daniel Ek to Spotify employees. From RT:
Spotify reportedly paid north of $100 million in 2020 to become the exclusive home for The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, and to license his back catalog. The platform has since pulled more than 70 episodes from that archive, but CEO Daniel Ek claimed in an internal memo that this was done at Rogan's request.

"I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer," Ek wrote in the memo, reportedly meant to be internal but leaked to the press over the weekend.
The statement was put out several days ago and Rogan has yet to deny it.

Rogan also apologized for using such terms, much to the annoyance of some fans who pointed out that the current president of the United States is on camera uttering the same words. However, as he was apologizing, Rogan described efforts to "silence" him as a "political hit job."

Declaring that "not all opinions are created equal," Stelter complained recently about viewers watching Rogan instead of a news outlet like CNN, which has "departments and desks and operations that work hard on verifying information." Stelter and Rogan have feuded since before the latest controversy though, with Stelter making similar complaints about Rogan's popularity last year, to which Rogan replied: "the market has spoken and your show's f**king terrible."

CNN's ratings have plummeted since Donald Trump left office, and viewership last month was down 90% on the same time last year. Joe Rogan averages around 11 million listeners per episode, while CNN's primetime hosts pull in just over 800,000.

In addition to describing Rogan's popularity as a "problem," in the words of Stelter, CNN brought on a researcher this week to help explain the podcaster's success. The network was mocked for this move, with National Review writer Dan McLaughlin joking: "CNN had to find an outside expert to explain how you would produce programming that attracts an audience."