Media literacy is clearly not Joe Rogan’s strong suit. The podcast host recently took to Instagram to share a fake CNN report stating that actor Steven Seagal has joined Russian special forces stationed near Kyiv, Ukraine, noting the absurdity of “this fucked up movie we’re living through.” He later took it down, for obvious reasons.
“I deleted my earlier post about Steven Seagal being in Ukraine because it was parody, which isn’t surprising, but honestly it wouldn’t be surprising if it was true either,” he wrote in a follow-up post. “He was banned from Ukraine in 2017 because he was labeled as a national security threat. I, like all of you, hope the tragic situation is resolved there quickly.”
The deleted photo of Seagal decked out in army gear that could have been purchased at a Dick’s Sporting Goods comes from a 2017 film called Cartels. When asked for comment about the fight between Russia and Ukraine, Seagal told Rolling Stone: “My prayers are that both countries will come to a positive, peaceful resolution where we can live & thrive together in peace.”
In the few hours that it was up, the post amassed over 400,000 likes and 11,000 comments. Unfortunately, attempts to call out misinformation were few and far between amongst the sea of users playing into Rogan’s mindset. The simple thing to do would be to cross-reference the post with CNN’s own content, or any reputable news source, to discern fact from fiction. But maybe that’s asking for too much.
Rogan was recently brought under fire for spreading Covid-19 misinformation on his Spotify-hosted podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, which boasts an audience of 11 million listeners.