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Jon Stewart Goes To Bat For Rogan Again: On The Iraq War ‘I Was Promoting What They Would Call Misinformation’

Comedian Jon Stewart defended podcaster Joe Rogan for a second time during his own podcast, “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” on Thursday.

During a conversation with Harvard professor Dr. Joan Donovan and writers Jay Jurden and Kris Acimovic, Stewart argued that his own position on the Iraq War — at least at the time — might have been deemed “misinformation” by many in the mainstream media, and that Viacom or Comedy Central could have chosen to censor him.

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“I think you always grant more understanding and nuance to people you know because you know them as more three-dimensionally than what that appearance is,” Stewart began, noting that he did know Rogan personally and that in itself created a bias. “And we always demonize those who feel — alien to us, so that goes right in there, I’m already guilty of a bias.”

Stewart then pointed back to a comment made earlier by Donovan, who said that some people “want the benefit without the accountability” with regard to having a platform like Spotify.

Stewart then tied that thought in to the media coverage of the Iraq War — which he had vocally opposed even in 2003 — adding, “The New York Timesright, was a giant purveyor of misinformation, and disinformation. And that’s as vaunted a media organization as you can find, but there was no accountability for them.”

“I think where I get nervous is in the run-up to the Iraq War and in the prosecution of the Iraq War, I was very vocal, sometimes cursed about that,” Stewart continued, noting that the mainstream media had been carrying stories about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and Saddam Hussein.

“Couldn’t I have gone down and fallen down this — if Viacom or Comedy Central had wanted to censor me — or had wanted to take me off the — look, I’m not owed a platform. Nobody is,” Stewart said. “But my point is, these are shifting sands, and I think I get concerned with, well, who gets to decide?”

“I mean, in the Iraq War, I was on the side of what you would think, on the mainstream, is misinformation,” he added. “I was promoting what they would call misinformation but it turned out to be right years later. And the establishment media was wrong, and not only were they wrong in some respects, you could make the case that they enabled a war that killed hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people and never paid a price for it and never had accountability.”

Stewart defended Rogan on a previous podcast as well, saying, “I would say this: Don’t leave, don’t abandon, don’t censor, engage. I’m not saying it’s it’s always going to work out fruitfully, but I am always of the mindset that engagement, and especially with someone like a Joe Rogan who is not, in my mind, an ideologue in any way.”

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