Rogan himself pitched the debate format on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast with retired MMA fighter Tim Kennedy. Kennedy asked Rogan what his approach would be, and Rogan said, “First of all, I would want nobody else in the room. Just the three of us. And I would want to stream it live so no one can edit it.”
So far, so expected, but Kennedy and Rogan act as if they’ve invented something remarkable. “Why can’t we have that?” Kennedy asked. “We should have that, it’s 2020,” Rogan replied. “We have the ability to have that. We’re not talking about 1979.” Nobody pointed out they had just invented television.
Afterwards, Kennedy tweeted about the hypothetical debate, saying “It would be four hours with no live audience. Just the two candidates, cameras, and their vision of how to move this country forward. Who wants this?”
Well, Trump for one. The president retweeted Kennedy’s post with the comment “I do!” And just like that, both Tim Kennedy and Joe Rogan are guaranteed a place in the official record, as specified in the 1978 Presidential Records Act. Like everything else Trump tweets, this extremely dumb discourse is a permanent part of American history.
Kennedy later followed up with a second tweet, emphasizing “no biased questions,” and advertising Rogan as a “neutral moderator.” This is not quite true, as the conspiracy-prone Rogan is on the record with some very strong views. Even as he discussed the debate, Rogan implied that Joe Biden’s cognitive ability has deteriorated due to brain surgery. He said,
“If they wanted to do it., they both wanted to come here to Austin, sit down and have a debate, I would 100% do it. But I don’t think Biden can handle it. People get mad at me for saying this. I think there’s something wrong. And I don’t think there’s something wrong because I’m guessing or because I’m pro-Trump. I’ve seen him fall apart. He’s had multiple brain surgeries.”
Biden had an aneurysm in 1988 that required two surgeries. Whatever else you think of Biden, he continued to serve in the senate and as Vice President with no discernible change. His tendency to commit gaffes is almost certainly not related to a surgery he had over three decades ago, before half of Rogan’s audience was born.
The comedian’s lack of neutrality also extended to Trump. Rogan complained about the president’s behavior, and read an article on-air about Trump skipping debate prep. Rogan mocked Trump, saying, “This is what happens to fighter’s when they get their asses kicked.”
Rogan also clarified his views, saying “I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter. I’m a Tulsi Gabbard supporter.” This may cause some to pause — after all, Gabbard is one of the most conservative Democrats, and Sanders one of the most liberal. In other words, Rogan isn’t much of a policy guy, he’s just looking for someone to the left of Trump who has a big personality and who doesn’t support strict gun control.
Watch the episode of The Joe Rogan Experience below. The relevant conversation begins around the 1:59:00 mark.
Despite Rogan’s repeated assertions that Biden will be unable to debate, he is scheduled to participate in several. Unfortunately for Trump, none will involve Joe Rogan. The first, moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, takes place on September 29th. On October 7th, USA Today’s Susan Page will helm the Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence. Then it’s on to October 15th and C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, followed by NBC News’ Kristen Welkeron on October 22nd.
Earlier this year, Rogan signed a $100 million deal with Spotify and then moved to Texas over California’s coronavirus response.
I do! https://t.co/H9Eghnqpuy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2020
A long form debate with a neutral moderator.
No fake audience reactions.
No biased questions.
Neutral camera positions.
No sound bite length responses.
Just their respective policies explained to us.
Please @realDonaldTrump and @JoeBiden make it happen. #debate #joerogandebate
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) September 14, 2020