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Edward Snowden on The Joe Rogan Experience [video] (youtube.com)
1128 points by juandazapata on Oct 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 584 comments

Snowden's book really speaks to me on so many levels. As a hacker, as a boy growing up in the new age of the Internet. As a person who experienced 9/11 and never aligned with the direction it took the USA. As a person who questions my identity and the messages I get about identity on a daily basis.

He will be remembered for a long time because of the actions he took, but if he had not done anything else, his book would be remembered on its own as a discourse on what being human means in these times. But, it will never be viewed on its own, and that is a tragedy.

Pardon Snowden.

NSA took this direction long before 9/11 -- Qwest (US telecommunications carrier) was requested to participate in NSA wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio refused to give customer data to the NSA... he spent 6 years in federal prison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8um6lImuWQ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Nacchio

Just watched this video and wanted to say thanks for sharing. That's insane.

Yes. I believe this is an example of selective prosecution where the Federal Government was punitive against Mr. Nacchio for standing up to illegal USG activities.

I used to agree with this but now that I've seen where this path leads, I think he should be given a fair trial and judged. Our government and the security of 350M US citizens cannot be held at the whim of a single hacker, no matter how right he believed himself to be. Our Congress has 535 members for precisely this reason, the president answers to Congress and is not a king, and even the Chief Justice does not rule absolutely. Snowden was brave, but he was also wrong. He should be judged fairly by a jury of his peers and that trial should be held in a transparent, fair and open trial for all to see. How many years now has he had to prepare his defense? It's plenty. Let's get the trial going.

He was not wrong. So many people define right and wrong by some system of made up rules and laws, and if someone breaks those rules or laws, even for right, people still say "they should be held accountable" as if the rule and law matter more than anything. The bad guys don't follow those rules and laws and exposing them for that, even if it violates said rules and laws, is not "wrong". It's brave and moral and right. If I was on that jury he would get a "not guilty" or jury nullification from me because despite what rules and laws he may have technically violated the system was wrong, not him. I don't care about idealistic excuses like "he should have....." because those things don't work as history proves over and over again. There are times the ends justify the means. Life is not a series of black and white rules or rule violations. The only wrong part about all of this is that they were spying on everyone to begin with, lied about it, and that nothing has been done about it since everyone was made aware. They have done a fantastic job of convincing the masses Snowden is the REAL bad guy. Shameful. If anyone insists on a trial it should be of the USG for its nefarious activities. Not the little guy for exposing them.

There's this concept of punching up or down. The little guy shouldn't be punched down to - in conventional politically correct culture.

Mostly the legal system is not encouraged to be politically correct.

Mr. Snowden broke his oath and leaked confidential data. His defense is the greater good. That should prevent prosecution.

Mr. Clapper lied to Congress when he said "Not Wittingly."

Mrs. Clinton failed to safeguard confidential data.

Others have broken the law, and they are not prosecuted.

We should prosecute those who break the law. They should defend themselves accordingly.

The real solution to this mess is for Congress to pass a law that exposing illegal activities is allowed. Wait - they did! The whistleblower protections don't work. More corruption.

> His defense is the greater good. That should prevent prosecution.

Do you mean prevent conviction or are you taking the stance claiming "the greater good" means you shouldn't be tried?

I meant if he were tried, he should be found not guilty.

Separately, because what he did is prima facie for the greater good, he should not be tried.

A jury or pardon could conceivably provide the first, but the latter would require a movement away from the rule of law. Outside of a jury or prosecutor, who has claim to make the call that what he did was for the greater good?

The prosecutor is sufficient.

I agree with this opinion fully and I find it odd that the OP you replied to doesn’t call for the federal agencies that were conducting unconstitutional surveillance to be held accountable in court?

Current POTUS has recently threatened a legally protected whistleblower with removal of protection, it wouldn't be crazy to call it a death threat. Previous POTUS wasn't any better disposed to Snowden. I'm not necessarily a fan, but I think it was a very rational choice on Snowden's part to choose "permanent exile and fear of assassination" over "trust the system."

Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Mannings. So may be there was a better scenario for Snowden? But we can only speculate at this point.


It was a death threat. He literally said the whistleblower should be killed.

I don't think this word 'literally' means what you think it means.


To be fair I've only seen him on record alluding to the idea that he should be killed. Can you cite his literal statement?

Rolling Stone has a theory about his somewhat vague statement about "what we used to do in the old days."


He exposed illegal actions by the government, and as far as i know there hasn't been a trial for that, just a flurry of laws passed to justify what was done after the fact.

What can you do, when the institution you should report illegal acts to, is the one perpetrating them?

Exactly, this is the whole reason whistleblower protections exist. It gives a lone wolf the ability to fight against the machines that are bigger than they could possibly fight themselves.

He should be judged fairly by a jury of his peers and that trial should be held in a transparent, fair and open trial for all to see.

The government won't let that happen. They'll say that, for national security reasons, the public can't be allowed to know the actual impact of the secrets he disclosed. And if we can't see the impact, it's impossible to weigh judgment.

Democracy can't work in the face of such secrecy.

That's exactly what happened with Nacchio mentioned above. Right or wrong, he was prevented from establishing evidence because "state secrets."

> I think he should be given a fair trial and judged.

That’s his whole point. But if you truly care about the law, shouldn’t government officials also be put on trial for breaking the law on a much more massive scale?

> Our Congress has 535 members for precisely this reason, the president answers to Congress and is not a king, and even the Chief Justice does not rule absolutely.

The reason he went public is precisely because the system of checks and balances didn’t work in the first place. In case you’ve forgotten, government officials actively kept members of congress in the dark and even lied under oath.

He addressed this on the podcast: The Espionage Act does not allow for a fair trial – no matter how well you prepare your defense. All that would be established at the trial is that he is guilty of sharing classified information which nobody, especially not him, denies. No possibility to lay out his motivation for his actions.

>Our Congress has 535 members for precisely this reason

He touches on this in the podcast. He claims the vast majority of Congress had no clue and only the Gang of Eight had that access. If true, the implication is that the full representation of the People was not present to provide those checks and balances

> no matter how right he believed himself to be.

Does it change anything for you if it wasn't just his opinion, but some sort of majority consensus instead—even if that only arrives in the history books? (Only asking in principle, as a hypothetical—not making the claim that Snowden in fact was right.)

There seems to be a fundamental problem with what you're proposing here—of course the vigilante approach is riddled with obvious issues too, but I just want to point out that what you're describing isn't clearly an effective way of dealing with things either.

You're basically saying the system works and we should trust it to evaluate and handle Snowden correctly: we have Congress, and they'll make the right choices if not the president.

But, the giant government programs exposed by Snowden are already a striking example of how we can't rely on Congress, at least to handle this matter correctly. Why would we assume the same entity which created the problems that were exposed is going to then handle the exposer fairly?

(I don't know the precise link between the exposed programs and Congress—so maybe they are separate/unrelated enough that my suggestion is inaccurate.)

Of course if whistleblowers weren't routinely completely destroyed by the state he might have chosen that path instead.

The assumption that a fair trial is even a possibility is pretty naive, IMHO

And i think he would take this path, but i do not think he can get a fair trial right now.

A fair trial isn't what he's after. By his own admission he would be quickly and easily prosecuted for his actions. He's after something which doesn't presently exist:

“If I’d made preexisting arrangements to fly to a specific country and seek asylum, for example, I would’ve been called a foreign agent of that country. Meanwhile, if I returned to my own country, the best I could hope for was to be arrested upon landing and charged under the Espionage Act. That would’ve entitled me to a show trial deprived of any meaningful defense, a sham in which all discussion of the most important facts would be forbidden.

“The major impediment to justice was a major flaw in the law, a purposeful flaw created by the government. Someone in my position would not even be allowed to argue in court that the disclosures I made to journalists were civically beneficial. Even now, years after the fact, I would not be allowed to argue that the reporting based on my disclosures had caused Congress to change certain laws regarding surveillance, or convinced the courts to strike down a certain mass surveillance program as illegal, or influenced the attorney general and the president of the United States to admit that the debate over mass surveillance was a crucial one for the public to have, one that would ultimately strengthen the country. All these claims would be deemed not just irrelevant but inadmissible in the kind of proceedings that I would face were I to head home. The only thing my government would have to prove in court is that I disclosed classified information to journalists, a fact that is not in dispute. “This is why anyone who says I have to come back to the States for trial is essentially saying I have to come back to the States for sentencing, and the sentence would, now as then, surely be a cruel one. The penalty for disclosing top secret documents, whether to foreign spies or domestic journalists, is up to ten years per document.”

Excerpt From: Edward Snowden. “Permanent Record.” Apple Books.

That sounds to me exactly like what he wants is a fair trial. The fact that the possibility doesn't exist under the current system is the larger point.

I sort of respect your opinion. His affirmative defense is a plain reading of the 4th amendment. The problem is I believe that our government and courts have lost objective interpretation and we're tending towards corruption. The courts will be biased "for the greater good" v. the actual law.

We see this with Mr. Clapper "not wittingly" testimony to congress.

We see this with the Lavabit case.

When the game is rigged, your only option is not to play. I am occasionally encouraged by our country's judicial system doing something right. The fact that this is astonishingly rare is the canonical problem, circular to the issue Mr. Snowden raises.

The federal courts embraced this quasi-faux legal perspective that they could capture data and store it and then post-hoc get a warrant for the previously captured data. This is is corrupt and immoral. In general this is the reason I believe Mr. Snowden should not present himself for trial, because we do not have ethical folks in the courts or congress who will give him a fair trial.

what you describe does not seem to correlate with reality.

> he was also wrong

what do you mean?

I think @Lendal means it was wrong of him to take the information public, not that any of his assertions were wrong in themselves.

At least that's how I parse the language itself, and I've also heard this position from numerous acquaintances.

There will be no fair and open trial, the media will rile up potential jury beforehand with dubiously authored hit pieces. Alternatively, he might decide to suddenly fall into depression and remorse and commit suicide in a jail cell.

Where does this path lead in your opinion? Frankly, I think this reasoning is pretty weak.

You almost made me believe the system is perfect. Unfortunately, it's not.

I hope he is remembered and his bravery resonates through time. There was Martin Luther and 100’s of years later there was Martin Luther King. Generations from now our descendants could be well served by an EdwaRd Snowden.

There is a real lesson here about just how cavalier the American government - and to some degree the public - is about civil liberties, but that isn't the biggest problem.

The problem here isn't even so much the government is being shady - that has happened before, it will happen again. I can understand people not feeling threatened by constant snooping even though I disagree.

To me the real problem is how effectively the government has kept this subject from creeping into the public debate. The scary part is the secret laws and precedents that elected officials aren't allowed to even tell their constituents about. Government officials are not reliable; this is far to much unaccountable power even if people involved were allowed to discuss what is happening.

Why aren't the not-technically-interesting parts of this wiretapping program legal for government agencies to talk about? If they need to be hidden, why not go straight to the logical conclusion and classify a bunch of other laws?

Democracies can't handle this level of secrecy. The whole thing is going to fall apart one way or another - the path America is going down isn't stable at all; something is going to have to change radically. Either the intelligence agencies will gain supremacy over the government, the government itself will go rogue or the secrecy will have to end.

EDIT I'm going to bed before I see the whole video, but around 1:46:00 - the bit with J. Clapper. Case in point that the whole system of checks and balances can't work.

EDIT2 And around 2:10:00. Barbaric stuff; it is like centuries of accumulated Common Law and parliamentary legal tradition never happened. People need to be able to occasionally talk about this stuff in formal setting.

There is a big difference between Observation (which is what Snowden is doing) and Analysis (followed by Solutions). It's not healthy to confuse the two.

Snowden is pointing out an issue. And he has done it with courage that I massively respect. You hardly see it these days. And that makes it anxiety and fear inducing, as the solutions are unknown.

But think of it this way - tomorrow someone might hand you a diagnosis of cancer. You can freak out about it or you can find a Cancer specialist to see what options are available. Asking the technician who gave you the report what the odds are, doesn't make any sense. He knows only how to create the report.

In this case just look to history, to understand how these things play out. History is the Oncologist.

Intelligence agencies have hard problems to deal with. On top of it, they are giant bureaucracies which means cockups, incompetence, turf wars, hiding issues are the norm. All that amplifies the problems, causes defensiveness, over-reactions and reactions to reactions.

If you read the history (and these days there are tons of resources) this sequence of events (of overreach) has unfolded a thousand times. There are a whole bunch programmes that have been shutdown because one group or the other got carried away or did damage. That history (in out current environment of over information/disinformation/misinformation) is what will always be a source of hope and faith.

“Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.” ― Baruch Spinoza

“the ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain by fear, nor to exact obedience, but to free every man from fear that he may live in all possible security... In fact the true aim of government is liberty.” ― Baruch Spinoza

That makes no sense. Perfect liberty and perfect security are mutually exclusive.

I tend to agree with your sentiments, and my political comments are typically pretty anarchistic, but I don't think we should let language become a barrier to communication instead of a bridge. I can understand how some conceptions of "liberty" are increased by certain security measures. If you can safely have a picnic in the park, you have the liberty of safely picnicing. If the park is full of bandits who consistently take baskets from picnicers, you've lost the liberty of safe picnics even if the official government isn't the one who took that liberty from you.

Again, I'm not arguing for increased security, just for understanding the way others use language.

The freedom from worrying about hunger and basic needs and violence from others is security. It isn't referencing total physical security, it is referencing government vs. no government.

M8, Spinoza had some wild ontology to justify his claims

The cancer metaphor is apt because noone knows how to cure it completely

The difference here is that the oncologist doesn't just observe.

The oncologist deals with the consequences of the observation: communicate with the patient, gives advices on treatments, makes a therapy plan, deals with families, answer to their questions, takes the hit when the relatives think that the solution is not good enough or an Indian shaman could cure everything with snake's poison.

Snowden have done good, but escaped from the consequences of his actions.

A position that made everything he's done questionable

Had he faced a trial, even the most unfair of trials, would have put him in the position of being at least true to the values he was trying to protect.

Question the authority, suffer the consequences.

Question the authority, go to Russia is not what generally the public opinion accepts as "honest".

There is much to say also about who leaked the data but didn't protect the source.

The identity of deep throat has been made public after Nixon was already dead for years and Mark Felt was already an old man suffering from dementia.

I don't think there was ever a question about hiding his identity - the govt was after him before he'd even left Hong Kong or any leak had been published. At the time he said he didn't care what happened to him.

I find it interesting that you posit Deep Throat's approach as somehow more noble. If Snowden had anonymously leaked and kept on working would that have been less questionable or more honest?

> Question the authority, suffer the consequences.

I’m pretty sure questioning the authority without fear of retaliation is what the first amendment is supposed to be about. But that aside, your phrasing is a bit misleading. Snowden didn’t question the government. He exposed illegal activities by the government.

> Intelligence agencies have hard problems to deal with. On top of it, they are giant bureaucracies which means cockups, incompetence, turf wars, hiding issues are the norm. All that amplifies the problems, causes defensiveness, over-reactions and reactions to reactions.

This is a good point. In an ideal world their job would be less...complicated. So our job as intelligent, capable citizens is to make the system more ideal for them to do their duties.

Making a "captive workforce" out of AI tools and robots is, to me, the ideal solution. Either way it's inevitable. Since no one else will, I'm trying to get out ahead with thoughtful early planning. Communicating a common goal for the nation without fear is the way to get the technology into the hands of the right people. It's up to us, the intelligent and "good people" communicators, to push for it.

“There is a big difference between Observation (which is what Snowden is doing) and Analysis (followed by Solutions). It's not healthy to confuse the two.”

Very true. For example I think Marx did a great analysis but his solutions lacked. Same happens often in medicine. People who observe something are asked to also explain it. But if they can’t explain the observation it doesn’t mean the observation is wrong.


The problem is how to be sure the line get not crossed ?


I don't really get what the line of argument is here, exactly. The CIA & FBI engaged in massive abuses in the past, including psychological and biological experimentation on unwitting US subjects, so therefore we should be blasé about their ongoing mass surveillance program (which, incidentally, has the potential for much more wide-reaching political and societal damage than anything that's come before it)?

I guess one could also argue for calm on the basis that the Stasi once existed and these days East Germany is an okay place.

And the solutions to these issues are perfectly well known: the intelligence agencies need to be curtailed and reined in, and their ability to indefinitely store massive reams of data about every private citizen brought to an end.

I said know the history. Such programmes were shut down in the past. Knowing how and why doesn't just reduce anxiety, it gives you a bag of tools to improve on. Assuming everyone knows the history is a big mistake. On top of that there are lot of characters around who benefit from ignorance and stoking anxiety.

”There has never been this level of government overreach -- if only because of the technology involved. Never has it been like this. Or at least, never has a government survived this”

They always has been overreach. This is not new.

The parent's post means that the overreach has never had the technology we have now. This drastically changes the situation. The government could secretly mandate that all phone manufacturers must secretly record the phone microphone all the time and then this data gets analyzed. If this happens in 10 years, then the general public might not even find out for years, and even if they do, most of the public will just shrug and move on.

I guess that makes sense but if you take into account technological capabilities then the next overreach will almost always be the biggest because the technology makes larger and larger scale possible.

And this is why we need to care more and more about this issue as a society.

True. With current and soon to be tech we can build surveillance much more pervasive than what the book 1984 describes. It feels like it’s almost inevitable for this to happen.

It's only "inevitable" because so many people are proscribing the boundaries of political and legislative action on the issue by discussing it with this sense of fatalistic unavoidability. The mere existence of this technology does not imply that the NSA & CIA have to construct a massive data center in Utah which stores all internet traffic forever -- that is a political choice.

The intelligence agencies have proven to be vindictive, and also a back-channel arm for straight up partisan politics. It seems like it goes unnoticed when the outcome is something that aligns with a party's goals. I just can't tell if it's fallible people in positions of power, or a real concerted effort.

I think a lot of our problems stem from the undermining of our system of checks and balances, and whatever is up with the fourth estate. I'm digressing, but I recall a time when journalists would be roasting public officials over these issues.

If it were partisan politics I don't think we would see the continuity that we did between Bush and Obama.

I think it was clear and overt during the Bush era that there were some dubious claims thrown around about "we need this to prevent another 9/11", with "this" being vague, broad, varying with the particular speaker. It was disappointing to many when Obama embraced some of these conclusions.

Obama presented himself as the anti-Bush when it came to a lot of things to do with the military and intelligence operations. I suspected that once he took office his stance on some of these things would shift closer to Bush’s, and I was right.

I based this on my theory that there are things that the general public does not know, and will never know, that influence the decisions POTUS makes. Until you are privy to that information, it’s easy to take a contrarian viewpoint. Once you have the information, and the responsibility for making decisions that might save American lives, it’s a lot harder.

I’m not saying that any of these policies are right or wrong, or that the general public should be kept in the dark about whatever it is we’re being kept in the dark about. It’s just a theory I have about how the world works. I have no way of proving or disproving it, but I think the evidence supports it.

> If it were partisan politics I don't think we would see the continuity that we did between Bush and Obama.

If it weren't partisan politics, you wouldn't be seeing roughly 15 senior officials from the NSA/CIA/FBI leaving the public sector to take jobs at CNN & MSNBC.

I'm curious why most people don't find this to be deeply disturbing.

I don't find it disturbing as Fox News and the other "conservative" media outlets were already full of ex-Bush era public sector employees. Both sides have an aggressively pro-intelligence agency bend, even if there are partisan differences.

There's a sizeable difference between judges and cabinet officials who have long been media pundits (though I do mostly agree that it's disturbing) and folks whose primary experience is in intelligence and counter-intelligence.

The era of rampant, selective intelligence leaks to the media started when these very same people were in administration.

Intelligence was always this leaky, there just wasn't social media and modern-day yellow journalism to twist it and spread it around. And we didn't have outrage culture, which provides a very blunt and dangerous mechanism for leakers to leverage.

The only real secret intelligence is tactical (military or otherwise), because we aren't quite that craven, exceptions notwithstanding. Everything else is intrinsically political and has a very short half-life as a secret. Work for a few years inside the Beltway, especially with or near people who are connected (e.g. lobbyists, think tank scholars, appointees, Pentagon staffers, international orgs, etc), and this becomes obvious immediately. Secrets are social currency more important than money and maybe even title. Everybody shares secrets, albeit usually in an obnoxious, obfuscated, pretentious way; even the interns.

As the other poster notes, selective intelligence leaking has been going on forever. And if there is a lack of Ex-Bush intelligence community members in the press, it is because the whole torture thing made then step away from the public eye.

I find I want to reply, but I don't know how to do that without getting wrapped up in a discussion that's too easy to be misinterpreted or dismissed here as political.

I think you are conflating a few issues.

On the one hand there is the bipartisan surveillance issue that Snowden shined a light on.

More recently we have a bunch of Trump and anti-Trump narratives and sometimes conspiracy theories.

I suspect some people on the thread have squished those into one. But the intelligence community is likely complicated, motivations multi-faceted, people holding diverse opinions. I don't think these things are the same, or you can dismiss or endorse one cause for the other.

CNN and NBC are not partisan entities, contrary to Republican smears. If they have any faults, it is in how desperately they bend over backwards to maintain the appearance of nonpartisanship amidst bad-faith attacks from the right, to the point that CNN just this week hired an alt-right conspiracy theorist as a full time contributor.

1) I'm a progressive and I'm saying this.

2) CNN and MSNBC absolutely are partisan entities, though CNN does try hard to appear less so. As long as MSNBC keeps employing Maddow and she keeps pushing debunked conspiracy theories, they will absolutely be seen as partisan. Her coverage as of late has been absolutely disgraceful and a huge stain on that network, IMO.

3) None of what you said addresses the very alarming fact that the heads of our intelligence agencies are taking senior posts in these media organizations.

The partisans aren't, "Democrats" and "Republicans" when it comes to intelligence agencies. The partisans are those who support global US hegemony and those who don't. The intelligence agencies do, and they have an "ends justifies the means" mentality. They don't see transgressions against civil liberties or Constitutional violations as troubling or an impediment as long as they perceive themselves as working towards a "greater good". This is not how a lawful, Constitutional society is supposed to (or can) work. Democracy dies behind closed doors and every day more and more doors are being slammed shut in our face by unaccountable government agents who are increasingly seizing the levers of power in government, media, business and every other facet of our lives.

Yeah the idea that the intelligence community pushed these stories doesn't hold up.

If you look into the folks who were in the spotlight pushing "we need this to prevent another 9/11" they were mostly former military and some with intelligence connections... but the real connection was their political connections.

Many outright stated the information they were provided to go on TV with came from politically associated groups not some secretive internal policy. In fact intelligence groups internally pushed back on some of the claims and political appointees ignored them.

The continuity was in foreign policy. Obama, like GW Bush and Clinton, deferred to the 'Deep State' on foreign policy, military and security matters. He started out idealistic, but was quickly subsumed. Trump has bucked the System, and that is why the bipartisan knives are out for him.

You should probably tell the blob that because to this day they have nothing but complaints about Obama's foreign policy.

The blob will always be dissatisfied because there is always one more country to invade and one more way to escalate a conflict, and eventually any U.S. politician has to stop giving the blob what it desires if they want to get reelected.

Relative to what Hillary Clinton's or Marco Rubio's foreign policy would have been, sure, Obama was a model of probity, but this is damning with faint praise.

Examples of partisan politics by IC?

I guess this isn't strictly "partisan," but it is highly political: the FBI tried to destroy Martin Luther King Jr., and even attempted to blackmail him with recordings they had taken.

Seriously, I'm amazed how many people are ignorant of this fact. They didn't just blackmail him, they clearly implied that he should commit suicide before recieving the Nobel if he didn't want the tapes released. ("There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is.") They never released the tapes, of course, but he did die. Everyone also seems unaware that the King family was awarded $1 in damages from the federal government for the wrongful death of MLK; they contend that the US government assassinated him and used James Earl Ray as a patsy, and while they never got Ray's conviction overturned (despite trying) they did get a separate US court to agree that the government should pay them symbolic damages based on this interpretation of events.

Uh... examples from 50 years ago is not what I was picturing.

Really, "that time the FBI tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into committing suicide" is too far back to count as an example of TLA overreach? We only know about that whole escapade because radicals physically broke into an FBI office and stole evidence of it, this isn't the kind of thing the government willingly admits to us. The CIA destroyed most of the MK-ULTRA documents when they realised Congress was getting ready to ask for them, but we still know that they were drugging unconsenting US citizens with LSD and secretly recording them having sex with hookers (they called it "Operation Midnight Climax") just to see what would happen, but I guess that's old news, too, or maybe it just isn't politcial enough to care about. We probably won't know that they killed Michael Hastings for another couple decades, and then that will be old news, too, so who cares?

Peter Strzok, Lisa Page?

Interesting. I would argue that government officials can be reliable, efficient, conscientious, when they are properly incentivized. Instead, there are various pathologies that infect various organs or agencies at various time, often at time seemly mutually exclusive but they coexist nonetheless.

The government isn't given the trust needed to regulate or otherwise do its job efficiently. See various civil engineering projects, explosive cost growth whenever contractors compete for bids. People justify that as evidence that governments as inherently inefficient.

Government is abusing civil liberties through spying on everyday Americans. Relatively nobody cares.

The government is being corrupt, privileging senators' pet projects or program over the good of the nation. See the Senate Launch System. Nobody cares except space nerds. At the same time, NASA also supported the various effort to commercialize space, which is a major win.

> I would argue that government officials can be reliable, efficient, conscientious, when they are properly incentivized.

What do you propose as the magical "proper" incentivisation?

Why do you think I presume to know a 'magical' one-size fit all solutions?

> Relatively nobody cares.

If nobody cared, the only illegal domestic data collection program in the Snowden docs wouldn't have been shut down. It has been.


If nobody cared, Google wouldn't have encrypted its cross-datacenter traffic. It has.


How do you know?

I posted links. If you don't think Google has encrypted its cross-datacenter traffic, you can try to access it yourself. If you don't think the NSA has stopped collecting all phone metadata, why would there be records of the NSA collecting a subset of metadata afterward?

Every corrupt organization keeps two sets of books.

There remains no evidence that the NSA is deliberately flouting the law. If there were, Snowden would have leaked that instead of lists of hacked Chinese computer systems.

I don't understand the timeline you're implying. Snowden did blow the whistle on this program, in 2013. Your link was from 2015, and now it's 2019, if I'm not mistaken. Snowden has lost the access he had before his whistleblowing. It will take another whistleblower to reveal the scale of current unsupervised malfeasance.

You're not following the point. The point was that people did care about the leaks and took appropriate action.

Secondarily, you're not understanding the leaked documents. The leaked documents showed that the NSA believed that the phone metadata program was legal. Once there is a court ruling that it is illegal, its lawyers cannot justify the program.

Thirdly, your phrase "another whistleblower" shows that you do not know what a whistleblower is. Leaking thousands of programs where just one of them happens to be illegal but not obviously so (to the point where Snowden was far more interested in PRISM, an obviously legal program) is not whistleblowing.

As discussed in the podcast, not even a few of the people at NSA believed anything of the sort. WaPo hasn't taken down this gem yet:


As detailed there, it took 18 months of lobbying and browbeating the secret court (in which DoJ faces no opposing counsel) in order to jury-rig a fig leaf for the ongoing destruction of personal liberties. I'm made my peace with the fact that the authoritarians to whose whims we are subject will occasionally overstep their bounds in public. When they do so, the public may protest and eventually conditions might improve somewhat. When the unsupervised services harm us, their putative employers, we have no recourse.

Also I have to say I'm just loving the concerted effort ITT to redefine the term "whistleblower". You guys make a great team!

> As discussed in the podcast, not even a few of the people at NSA believed anything of the sort.

Snowden's documents themselves showed the legal justification for the phone metadata program. It nakes sense that Snowden would claim otherwise in the podcast because he is barely literate and hasn't actually read most of the documents he leaked.

> As detailed there, it took 18 months of lobbying and browbeating the secret court

You don't "lobby" a court. You have lawyers justify a position.

> Also I have to say I'm just loving the concerted effort ITT to redefine the term "whistleblower".

You're the one making a bizarre definition of "whistleblower." Is it whistleblowing to leak all of your company's documents if you don't know they are doing anything illegal so long as somebody can later find one thing that is illegal? Obviously not.

> Snowden was far more interested in PRISM, an obviously legal program) is not whistleblowing

The public outrage was due to various top officials denying that anything like PRISM was going on, when in fact it was.

So either the program was illegal, the false statements made by officials about them, or the classification of the process that prevented democratic oversight. One of the three had to be illegal, it's not really relevant to split hairs over which was one actually was.

The simplest explanation for lots of confusing events is that the intelligence agencies have enjoyed supremacy over the government for some time already. They run the media as well: just look at the glowing plaudits for their fake "whistleblower" as contrasted with the ongoing disdain for actual whistleblowers.

That's not nearly as simple as the explanation that the public doesn't actually care about whether domestic agencies are spying on everyone. I think most Americans are in the "I have nothing to hide" line of thinking.

The media won't carry a story that their numbers tell them doesn't have legs with the audience.

Forget the public, why don't elected officials themselves act more in simple self-interest? Not all of them are bankrolled by the military-industrial complex, yet not a one ever utters a peep about the trillions we spend on evil security-theater bullshit. No, killing lots of people in the Middle East does not make us safer, which anyone on any of the relevant Congressional committees could tell you. Most of them would be happy to spend those trillions on other priorities. None of them, with the partial exception of e.g. Rep. Gabbard, ever say a thing about this.

Why is that?

I would guess that people in general are fearful of reprecussions when the antagonists are 'better connected', 'higher ranked' or 'richer'. Often the scariest threats are those implied.

In a moment of accidental candor on Maddow's show, Senator Schumer lets you know who he thinks really runs DC...

"Let me tell you: You take on the intellegence community and they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you."


The possibility of a secret police state scares me more than any bombs or shootings ever could. It is absolutely an existential threat to freedom, because as part of its nature, it is able to quell dissent, and largely control the flow of information "in the name of freedom".

Hypothetically, of course.

There are plenty that do. They end up making waves in the libertarian and conspiracy communities and are generally blacklisted by the mainstream press.

The two communities above are receptive to messages about government overreach and corruption, the general public seems not to care much.

I suspect this is largely because libertarians and conspiracy theorists (which do overlap to some extent) are already skeptical of government "goodness" and anything that feeds that skepticism is easily accepted. The general public places government on a higher moral plane of existence and any challenge to that is met with skepticism and excuses.

The end result is that those that speak out/expose the government are sidelined and punished through smears or government action. See: Attacks on Gabbard, Ron Paul, Snowden, Bill Binney, Assange, etc.

It always fascinated me that the discussion of the leaked Clinton emails conveniently focused on the speculative source and motivation, never on the content of the emails with valid DKIM signatures. There is literally no question that those emails are real and unaltered.

> It always fascinated me that the discussion of the leaked Clinton emails conveniently focused on the speculative source and motivation, never on the content of the emails with valid DKIM signatures

Because there was nothing in them that painted Clinton in a bad light. They were normal boring emails that were sensationalized in conspiracy blogs but recognized as normal boring emails by professional journalists.

There were multiple emails from journalists at supposedly neutral reputable outlets asking the campaign to check and edit their articles before publishing. Also in an email Donna Brazile of CNN agreed to forward the debate questions to the campaign before the debate.

If the act of leaking emails about media collusion is a "bad" thing that influenced the election in one way, so can the media collusion itself be a "bad" thing that influenced the election the other way.

> There were multiple emails from journalists at supposedly neutral reputable outlets asking the campaign to check and edit their articles before publishing

Despite what the conspiracy bloggers would have you believe, this is standard fact checking. If the conspiracy bloggers did that, they wouldn't have anything to report.

> Also in an email Donna Brazile of CNN agreed to forward the debate questions to the campaign before the debate.

This was heavily covered mainstream news and resulted in CNN firing Brazile. Brazile also assisted the Sanders campaign as the Sanders campaign has admitted, but we don't have the Sanders campaign emails to see how much.


Conservatives are not offered the opportunity to review or edit articles about them beforehand by these same outlets. The standard is to reach out for comment, not for permission or editorial review.

> Conservatives are not offered the opportunity to review or edit articles about them beforehand by these same outlets.

Clinton's team was not offered the opportunity to edit or review the articles either. They were sent articles about the costs of policy proposals to respond with their own numbers. If you think this is out of the ordinary or that conservatives don't get the same consideration, what do you think " did not immediately respond to requests for comment" means at the end of news articles?

Was there ever any evidence that having the questions is actually dirty pool, or was that more an instance of "ask and ye shall receive, and nobody else asked?"

I don't get it. What's the issue with this email?

This email does not clarify the significance of either email.

I think that's the point. The leaked emails were boring and normal except to conspiracy theorists.

That claim is easily refuted with a minute of Googling, just like the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_theory#Etymology_...

Hah, the difference being some people still believe in conspiracy theories. Nobody believes in Pizzagate.

The person posting Podesta emails in this thread believes in Pizzagate.

That can't be. Nobody still believes in Pizzagate. That building didn't even have a basement.

Clearly they're part of a conspiracy to make us believe, against all possible odds, that anyone still believes in Pizzagate.

Yes they must feel like fools, believing that multiple national politicians would associate with an organized pedophilia ring, for instance even flying on a private plane that had been nicknamed "The Lolita Express".

I mean, they should probably feel like fools believing there was child sex trafficking going on in the basement of a building that has no basement, even if some other conspiracies turn out to be real. It's a textbook case of mob mentality that so many people believed the lies and nobody did even basic legwork.

(And let's note: it's not like 4chan broke open Epstein's crimes. Old fashioned FBI legwork did. And the guy had a history of sex trafficking already, which nobody in Pizzagate did. As fun as it is to pretend to be an armchair sleuth, it sure isn't a pass-time that's got a good batting average over professional investigation).

Old fashioned FBI legwork...

You're wrong about... everything.

FBI washed their hands of this when the rest of DoJ did, in 2008. Two things caused national attention to return to Epstein: Alexander Acosta's nomination to Labor, and Julie K. Brown at the Miami Herald refusing to forget about Epstein's victims even after the rest of the media had. FBI had fuck-all to do with any of this; they don't like to investigate people who can afford to hire lawyers.

And some are so sure of their worldview that they believe in a wholly-manufactured conspiracy theory long after the reasonable evidence has discredited it, including physical evidence like the fact a building has no basement. It's a big world with a wide variety of people.

Not jakeogh though. like I said, he's part of a conspiracy to make us believe people still believe Pizzagate. The purpose of which is to undermine confidence in average human reasoning skills, which undermines faith in democracy. This is important for the next step of the Triluminati's plan.

Pointing to a specific claim that was not made as if it was. Anyone can find something to point to that is false. It's an effective way to avoid specific things that were brought up.

Since you've brought up nothing but a couple of links to emails with the word "pizza" in them somewhere and a couple of links to your own posts in the past (without any context to explain why those posts are relevant to the topic), I think I've avoided nothing specific you've claimed because you've claimed nothing specific.

Does it even count as "JAQing off [https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Just_asking_questions]" if one party in the conversation doesn't even bother asking questions?

With a few more seconds one could CTRL-F 1035-960.

“Fake” whistleblower? This is a hop and a skip away from Q-anon territory, and shouldn’t be on hn.

Real whistleblowers: Snowden, Kiriakou, Binney, Drake, Manning, Winner. Notice a theme of career loss, prison, total life upheaval, and a press that DGAF.

Fake whistleblower: still works for CIA, whistleblowing has purely political rather than administrative effects, and ongoing adulation in the press.

If you don't want to see this on HN, then downvote and move on.

I have a whistleblower hotline available to me at work... If I see something and call that number, my identity will be protected. That is the way my company would prefer I handle ethical issues and I will keep my job. If I gather up evidence and release it to the press, I will lose my job. That is the difference between, say Snowden and this whistleblower. But that does not negate the validity of the complaint.

tfandango says> "If I see something and call that number, my identity will be protected. That is the way my company would prefer I handle ethical issues and I will keep my job. If I gather up evidence and release it to the press, I will lose my job."

Do NOT believe that!

The reality is probably quite different. Many organizations (both private and civil) make such promises but, in truth, the complaint phone line/box/e-mail is a direct line to either higher-ups in the company or to someone in another agency who will, very quickly, pass identifying information to higher-ups. The whistleblower will be tracked down mercilessly and driven out always. Those for whom the whistle blows will, not infrequently, be rewarded.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I've been in many public and private endeavors and, in every case, so-called whistleblower phone lines, complaint boards or monitoring companies have proven to be ineffectual and/or downright deadly to the career of anyone who contacts them. They are usually honeytraps for those poor individuals who believe their complaints will be fairly judged.

With reasonable care the press can be relied upon to vent complaints to the public w/o identifying the complainant.

I will remember your comments should I ever feel the need to call it.

That's great. Very few people in the unsupervised services imagine that they are so well protected. Thomas Drake and John Crane might have thought using the established procedure would protect them... and we've heard of them.

Well we could strive for a base level of critical thinking, something clearly missing from your statement.

A whistleblower that is heavily covered in the media because he or she aligns with the orginization's goals (sell headlines) is not 'fake'.

A whistleblower blowing the whistle on a hierarchy unable to directly fire him will also, not surprisingly, not lose his job.

...heavily covered in the media because he or she aligns with the orginization's goals (sell headlines) is not 'fake'.

"Heavily covered in the media", that's an interesting criterion for "whistleblower", and I'm sure it would serve someone's interests if it got any traction. Also "critical thinking" is now defined as "believing what the war media tell us"? This would be Orwellian, if it weren't so silly.

You are misrepresenting what was said. "Heavily covered in the media" wasn’t cited as a criterion for a whistleblower. Actually to be more precise, it was cited as a criterion—by you—when you claimed that as a hallmark of “fake” whistleblowers.

Parent claimed that media coverage was a sufficient criterion; I disagree. You've interpreted the discussion as concerned with a necessary criterion. That abuse of the idiom will come later, after the war media has moved the Overton window a bit further.

I don't understand the point of repeatedly misrepresenting what was said, since it's right here in this thread.

You need to re-read what I wrote.

My claim is that media coverage cannot say anything meaningful about the authenticity of a whistleblower.

To say otherwise is a terrible argument -- Snowden himself had widespread media coverage, both positive and negative.

Snowden's revelations are massive. They should be cited anytime every time an intelligence reptile anonymously leaks something to the press, which is every day. Instead, the only time Snowden makes the news is when they want to announce some new persecution like this recent lawsuit over his memoir. Here is on Joe f@#$ing Rogan for goodness sakes! That is not widespread coverage.

Again, that is not what we're talking about.

Media coverage tells you nothing about the authenticity of a whistleblower. You have not demonstrated any useful criterion for identifying 'fake' whistleblowers other than "I do not agree with his/her goals."

You're right, media coverage tells us far more about the media than about the people they cover. That was actually the point I made at the top of this thread:


What you refer to as "fake whistleblower" still has their job because they followed the legal procedure for reporting abuse and therefore enjoy whistleblower protection.

The others sited didn't follow the legal procedure which would have allowed them to also enjoy whistleblower protection.

Thomas Drake followed procedure, and he got burned. John Crane was one of the bureaucrats involved with that procedure, and he didn't think the burning was proper. So he followed procedure in order to blow the whistle on the burning, so then he got burned.

Unsurprisingly, no one stepped forward for Crane.

Drake got burned because in addition to following the procedure he leaked information to the press which is not part of the procedure.

After he got burned, the press found out. Why does your story keep changing?

That doesn't match the Wikipedia summary. Press leak, then the Bush administration hunted for the source of the leak.


So rather than fake it’s more legally protected versus not legally protected?

Ignore this guy, he's leaking from /r/politics

I've been to Reddit a couple of times, and never to that section. Unlike you I post under my own name. Anyway, the time for that valuable advice would have been before that comment spawned a big subthread and got upvoted into double digits...

Care to name a couple examples? As it is, it sounds like a classic No True Scotsman to me.

No True Whistleblower gets "glowing plaudits" and "ongoing adulation".

Bollocks. As Matt Taibbi correctly noted, a CIA whistleblower would only be a whistleblower if he were to expose malfeasance within CIA activities.

OK, he/she is not fake. So:

What is their name? IDK. What exactly did they hear? IDK. From who did they hear it from? IDK.

People here seem awfully sure about something they know nothing about.

Intelligence agencies "run the media"?

How so?

"Run the media" in this context doesn't mean there's some CIA commissar approving every article or broadcast. What it means generally is that access to "leaks", scoops, "anonymous government sources", "high level intelligence officials", etc is predicated on uncritically toeing the "intelligence community" line. Failing to do so means no more access, and you will be replaced by someone else.

Take the lessons of Manufacturing Consent and apply them to the contemporary political context instead of Vietnam and East Timor, even if the elite media seems to be aligned with your own political beliefs.

Any leaker is going to have their POV and motivations.

But I don't see any reason to belive that it constitutes 'controlling the media'.

How could you be a member of any standing in the elite media if you don't have access to "leaks"? If something leaks that wasn't actually approved by the agencies, what do you think is going to happen to the leaker?

I don't know what you mean by the first question.

As for the second I'm not sure what you feel the answer is there either, more what it means.

There is a whole history of folks leaking things for you to look at.

My point is that any time an "anonymous government official" or "high level intelligence official" or whatever leaks something to the prestige press - meaning, the article says "according to anonymous government sources..." - AND the leaker is not jailed / prosecuted, THEN you have to assume that the leak was deliberate (approved at a high level) and in service of the intelligence agency's own ends.

Nothing totally proven but you might find this interesting:


Is there really anything simple about “running the media”?

> To me the real problem is how effectively the government has kept this subject from creeping into the public debate.

Well you are on a technical discussion board. There are many people here who are in the position Snowden described there. You can bring your brick to this discussion without having to become a hero as he said. This would push a public debate if you'd kept it up.

Why isn't it happening?

Maybe the government doesn't have to do anything at all and it's still not happening.

"You can't awaken somebody who pretends to be asleep" goes for all sides.

I would argue that the JFK assassination marked the moment that the intelligence agencies officially gained supremacy over the government. That pt is long gone, our goal now should be to make their job of subverting our democracy as difficult as possible.

I don't think this passes even the sniff test. The shifting policies of the US seem to be driven by politicians, not some "intelligence agencies" boogeymen.

"No permanent allies; only permanent interests." A pithy summation of realpolitik.

I don't know what that means as far as what I was saying goes.

Y'know, re-reading the thread, neither do I. Sorry for the noise.

>The scary part is the secret laws and precedents that elected officials aren't allowed to even tell their constituents about

Can't any member of congress simply use the speech and debate clause to make what they know a matter of congressional record?

Sure. But then they won’t be given any further classified information.

Snowden is really clever with these interviews. Right away in the interview he establishes his concerns about the government, then briefly mentions the government smear campaign against him without hanging on the point too much. He calmly explains himself in an articulate way, establishing himself as perfectly sane. Then he reaches out to connect and empathize with his interviewer:

> When I hear you just speak, I go "actually this is a thoughtful guy."

When he validates Joe, he validates Joe's audience, and it becomes Snowden's audience. He did this with Trevor Noah too; I think he's intentional about it while very cleverly appearing not to be. It's a good thing Snowden is the one who blew that whistle, and not somebody less calculating.

If he were less calculating he would be dead.

It's very likely that a lot of less calculating would-be Snowdens are lying in unmarked graves out there somewhere.

Maybe he's getting some coaching from people where he lives now as he goes on his media tour before the next American election?

It is only sensible to be skeptical when the attention he's garnered could be useful to some

Oh, man. I completely disagree. I feel like he just talks and talks about whatever he wants to talk about with almost no regard for whether his technical language is being understood or if he's dominating the discussion or anything like that. I don't think I've seen him develop a natural rapport with anyone or even make a firm, memorable point in an interview. I'll always be grateful for his leaks but over 2.5 hours he just became a soft background murmur in my room.

You'll love the John Carmack episode then :)

The Carmack episode was great but the follow-up questions I wanted to ask Carmack and what Joe Rogan actually follows-up was a bit disappointing.

JRE is breadth first search, within a certain...domain.

I genuinely did love the John Carmack episode. I'm sensing a pattern here.

Completely agree, he rambles all over the place with no clear narrative arch. And he completely failed to build any rapport by making weird comments about the shows logo and his lack of engagement with Joe at the start. Given he knew he was going to have 2+ hours to make his points, and the audience was going to be several million, he should have considered his approach far better.

It was an interesting discussion however.

I imagine being cooped up in an embassy gives you a lot of time to think and plan what you want to say and, eventually, you end up with a real fire-hose of pent-up expression.

Who's cooped up in an embassy? Snowden is free to walk the streets.

He wasn't for a long time, as he explains in the actual podcast.

He wasn’t ever in an embassy. Are you confusing with Assange?

That's a fair point. Maybe the technical language isn't very friendly to a wide audience, that hadn't occurred to me. I'm trying to keep a wide perspective, but I might just be fanboying.

I can imagine the potential advisors/pr folks, having helped shape that type of image. It’s hard to be in the public spotlight and not have PR consultants spamming you.

The success of Joe Rogan is fascinating and encouraging.

For a long time there was a view that attention spans were diminishing. Facebook and Tik Tok reduced content to the smallest possible dosage.

But look at this. This is one of the world's most popular podcasts and it's nearly three hours long. You see it too in TV: what is a Netflix series but a 13 hour movie?

I see a definite trend towards long form content right now, which I think is quite positive.

With old media (specifically television and newsprint) "information bandwidth" was restricted to a limited number of channels and pages. This meant there had to be a calculation where the editors had to maximize the audience by making the content short enough to not lose the easily distracted, but long enough to be engaging.

High-speed internet has blown open the information bandwidth cap so that now content can be created for every attention niche. This is just anecdotal, but it seems to me part of the decline of traditional journalism has to do with article length. People either want short, snappy headlines that tell them the essential information, or long, elaborately-written pieces thousands of words long. The only reason mid-length articles existed before was a compromise between the two groups.

And a subtle but massive change is the removal of imposed formats i.e. artificial time boundaries, as if there were only a few possible lengths for any piece of content — 5 min, 22 min, 42 min, because commercials.

Online audiovisual content is refreshing in that it lasts exactly as long as the creator(s) intended to treat the topic. Likewise for article length in blogs.

I feel like there's also something to be said about old media and their revenue models. Commercial breaks are written in to most shows, and show length matters.

With newer media, it doesn't matter if you have a 22 minute episode 1 and a 47 minute episode 2 - you create the scene, shot and/or episode length that works for you artistically.

Until you listen to his actual content and it is, the vast majority of the time, pretty "easy" listening in the sense that it is pretty vacuous and doesn't really require any sort of concentration to follow along. Don't get me wrong -- I listen to it often on my way to work, but one of the reasons I do is because it is not something that really requires much of my concentration to follow along.

That's not necessarily a negative. Rogan is wide not deep. The eclectic guest selection means listeners are exposed to a wide range of ideas. Well, at least as wide as the guests Rogan can book, and the topics and people that interest him personally.

The show is successful because it knows that Google exists - it knows there's a universe of information outside the bounds of the show. It provides the gestalt and it's up to the listener to explore the details.

There is that, but there is also the fact that when the conversation is cognitively challenging, the guest cannot relax as much. More relaxed guests tend to reveal more of their personality in my experience. The main reason I watch Joe Rogan Experience is to learn what sort of human being the guest is.

Good point but at least it is patient. It's a quality to uphold.

What I have found interesting about Rogan's show is that on the rare occasion he has more of a previous generation personality as a guest, I find these personalities are about 15 minutes of interesting. It's as if this new format requires personalities of greater depth, which, somehow, feels more gratifying.

I think thats Podcasts as a medium in general. IMHO Rogan could use pretty heavy editing, I guess people like having it on in the background or something.

Heavy editing can drive me crazy. The really bad ones are the podcasts/videos that jump in between each sentence. It's really disconcerting to hear somebody talk with no pauses in between sentences. I like the format of Joe's podcast because it feels like a real conversation and I'm participating in it, even if I'm not. Editing would ruin that feeling and make it something else. There's plenty of other podcasts that service that.

Joe's issues are that can be long winded at times, and he fails to press people on some issues which occasionally sucks (the first episode with Jack Dorsey, the last episode with Alex Jones, or the recent episode with Bob Lazaar). Most of the time, however, that's exactly what I want. I don't want two blowhards shouting at each other, I want two people trying to understand each other's ideas and to learn something new from it.

It's a spectrum right? No editing on one end, every second spliced together on the other. Most podcasts I listen to you can't really tell it's been edited. They just cut out banter that's off topic etc.

Freakanomics will even splice together two people saying the same sentence. So annoying.

A solution I've found is to listen on 1.7x speed. Originally I bumped to 1.3x, but over time your brain adjusts and has no problem following along at faster speeds.

To be clear, a big reason behind the popularity of podcasts is that you can listen to them while doing other things - working, driving, etc. so I'm not sure long podcast episodes really dispel the idea that attention spans are diminishing.

I listen to Joe Rogan when I'm gaming, fiddling with my Arduino or playing on my phone.

Exactly the reason I watch most Joe Rogan content as "highlight clips" on YouTube.

I don't have time for most of this drawn out content.

(I did listen to the entire Joe Rogan - Snowden podcast but that was a first)

I think there are a lot of people who smoke a joint and drift to sleep watching Rogan.

His podcasts are infinitely better than any amount of talking-head punditry available on the major news networks. I've not run across one yet that wasn't well-reasoned, patient, and interesting - even if I didn't agree with conclusions being made or the thought processes expressing them.

> I've not run across one yet that wasn't well-reasoned,

Then you cannot listen to many. Joe speaks so much bollox with an authoritative air that if you didn't know the subject you would think that Joe did, when many many times he clearly does not.

I agree they are interesting when he lets the guest speak (even if completely disagree with them) or it is on something Joe does know about / has researched. But that is far from all the time.

Joe also has a habit of ignoring the guest at times and carrying on down his own little conversation alley, usually when he got too stoned - which ruins the conversation IMO

I really like Joe Rogan, and the format of its podcast. I don't know other medias where they let people speak for three hours. I was suspicious the first time I listened to him. I thought, can this beefy archetypical MMA dude say anything interesting? actually he can. He's at ease with all types of guests, he just seems to be an outspoken, honest guy.

I agree that he tends to bring up his favorite topics all the time, which gets a bit repetitive but it's ok. You can't expect him to run hundred of conversations without being repetitive.

I am sure there are many others, but these three shows feature long-form interviews which feature interesting guests:

The Ezra Klein Show - Ezra Klein

Making sense podcast - Sam Harris

80000 hours podcast - Rob Wiblin

[1] https://www.vox.com/ezra-klein-show-podcast [2] https://samharris.org/podcast/ [3] https://80000hours.org/podcast/

In the same vein as those: Conversations with Tyler and Sean Carroll's Mindscape.



Whatever you think of Chapo Trap House, and there's a lot to criticize them on, from both the left and the right, when they let Virgil Texas do an interview for a whole episode, it's damned good.

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman is also a very good interviewer, but her guests are often too niche for me to recommend to a general audience.

Sam Harris is definitely decent, and the podcast is usually pretty long. Very thought provoking. I recommend giving it a listen.

old Charlie Rose episodes as well, although only usually an hour. But good for guests who are currently dead.

Those are great recommendations - thanks! I was already a follower of the Sam Harris podcast, but the other two I did not know about.

I think you’re right. But... Joe Rogan often claims he’s not a genius, and not an expert in many topics. I also feel his fan community strongly understands this. There are a lot of YouTube videos making fun of his mannerisms and when he might be too high on an interview.

To me this is as good as it gets for a talk show that has a wide ranging set of topics like the JRE. Joe Rogan isn’t an expert and doesn’t pretend to be unbiased on all issues. His community, I think, understands his limitations. He just runs a good conversation, and that’s all I want to hear.

Yes, he does a great job playing the curious and interested, but mostly uninformed everyman. This has the "explain it like I'm 5" effect on his guests, which forces them to be relatable instead of using jargon. It's a lot more valuable for most listeners than two people trying to one-up each other in how intellectual and sophisticated they can sound.

I'm a frequent listener and the only subject I assume Rogan is an authority on is martial arts and nutrition. I ignore much of what else he says, but I respect his knowledge on those two topics.

Other listeners I've spoken to feel the same way. And I reckon Rogan knows that too

I would say martial arts and being a comedian.

But he knows a lot about nutrition as well.

He is very biased toward the carnivore/keto kind of diet and dismisses any kind of plant-based diets with "bro science". I would never listen to his nutrition advice, it's just incredibly biased and factually incorrect.

There is some research nowadays showing that different diets work differently well for different people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z03xkwFbw4

Most of our current long-term (>1 year long) studies about diets deal with the problem of "subjects not sticking to the diet" by just saying that X% of participants stopped the diet and then proceeding to analyze the health benefits for the Y% that stuck to it.

That's a fair thing to do, but what's not supported from those results is the conclusion that such a diet would have worked very well for the X% had they stuck to it.

Some of his best conversations, are with himself /s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xY_D8SMNtE

He certainly spouts some "bollox" but I don't think I agree about "authoritative". He tends to show a lot of humility and asks a lot of questions rather than making statements

It really depends. Go listen and to his interview with Adam Connover where he uses him as a foil to spout off a lot of nonsense about trans people and their agency.

What is his “nonsense”? It’s reasonable to not allow people to cross their biological gender league. He’s seen how biological males have absolutely destroyed in biological female leagues.

He kept repeating that trans women were “confused gay men” on the basis of one very shoddy Swedish research paper, as if that was somehow authoritative.

That was in regards to using puberty blockers on children, I believe. The study stated that many children that believe themselves to be trans ended up simply being gay, and that this lack of certainty (as well as the fact that we don't think of children as rational consenting entities for most things) makes the issue of using puberty blockers controversial.

I could be wrong, but I am almost positive that this is what was being argued.

That matches with what I remember, and I don't understand why that's a controversial thought here. Changing gender is a big deal, it can wait a few years so you're sure.

A big issue is that the longer you wait, there longer your body has permanent effects from puberty. Someone who is ultimately right in their convictions about themselves then has to wait longer through something irreversible.

I think the purported advantage of puberty blockers is that they help “waiting a few years so you’re sure” while taking the path that’s the lesser of evils.

If you're trans and going through puberty, "a few years" can literally ruin your life.

But how do any of us know we are making the right call here? This is one of those wickedly complex problems where there is no right answer. It just sucks for everybody involved, nearly every decision you make can have a horrific outcome and the effects are permanent.

You can't be that surprised that in a situation like this, most people would tend to be very conservative (not republican conservative, but careful, do no harm, don't rock the boat kind of conservative).

No, puberty blockers don't cause any permanent body changes: that's the whole point. They delay the decision. You can still go through a male or female puberty once you're older.

Most people are "conservative" on this issue because they have no idea what they're talking about, just like every almost every other issue related to trans people.

I don't want to wade in, but puberty blockers do have long-term effects, so they're not just a cureall.

Or you can transition once you've reached an age where your body is not in a constant state of flux. When I was young, I intensely wanted to be female. As I got older, it turned out to be a result of curiosity. If I was young today, I'd be far more likely to be going through some hormone regimen because of a childish curiosity.

That "constant state of flux" is what makes your body into a prison that you have to inhabit the rest of your life. Every single trans person I've met desperately wishes that they had transitioned earlier. I transitioned relatively early, and I'm still intensely jealous of trans teens who are getting proper treatment today. My older friends who've transitioned in their late 20s-40s regard their lives as being hopelessly ruined. And some of them repressed their trans feeling for a while, only to have them come back later with vengeance. But you never hear about those people in these arguments.

My mom said something similar about "curiosity" to try and convince me that I couldn't be trans. As it turns out, what she meant was "when I was your age, I wanted to cut my hair short." Likewise, pretty much every story I've heard like this turns out to be either obvious lies meant to discredit trans people, or something that would have been easily sorted out by a psychologist. Eg. I've heard of gay people wishing they were another gender so that they wouldn't get bullied for their orientation. No decent professional would mistake that for genuine dysphoria.

But even supposing that your psychologist was incompetent, you still would have socially transitioned in some capacity before you ever started hormones. This almost certainly would have let you know if transitioning was really right for you. And even if it didn't, and you went all the way to starting estrogen, you could always stop if you didn't like what it was doing. Estrogen works very slowly. I've been on it for three years, and I know cis men whose boobs are bigger than mine. If I changed my mind, I could easily start living as a man again.

It's absolutely unfair to impose life-ruining misery on trans teens because of the off-chance that it might do a fraction of the same harm to a cis person.

That’s not what it was. The guy was venting about how irritating he finds trans people.

Uh thats exactly what it was about... For 20 minutes Mr flamboyant Adam tried to spout bullshit about how it should be perfectly acceptable to give children, who don't even know themselves or bodies, incredibly powerful psychoactive drugs that drastically alter their behavior

Except he's actually had trans people like Eddie Izzard on and they got on just fine, so this is obviously wrong. He takes issue with trans females competing in female sports.

And it's not like he's alone in this- the authoritative bodies charged with protecting the sports are starting to think the same thing.

That's also a valid view, even if it's insensitive. You can be annoyed by whomever you like.

Right. My comment was just that I found it to be low quality content. It was like something you might overhear from a table of not-so-bright senior citizens at a Denny’s.

And you're welcome to that opinion, just as he's welcome to his. That's kind of the point here. Opinions are valid, even if they're stupid.

I was responding to a comment that introduced the transphobic comments, simply to attest that I had heard the episode and that the skinny guy who is on that episode with Rogan was venting/ranting in a way that I found very dumb.

Rogan himself was holding back from joining in, and I think some of the commenters here mistook my comment as critiquing Rogan for being transphobic, which I did not observe. It was the skinny guy (whose name I don't know).

(I don't want to wade in here really, but I have to take exception to your statement: Stupid opinions are not valid.)

Stupidity and validity being decided by whom? If you believe someone's opinion is stupid, you may not consider it valid, but that changes nothing about the actual opinion. Remember, Newton had a series of "stupid, invalid" opinions about physics and astronomy, and now look at us.

(rpmisms and hnbroseph both make excellent points! I want to add that "Stupid opinions are not valid." is, of course, just my own stupid opinion, eh? Combine that statement with "Opinions are valid, even if they're stupid." and you have a logical self-referential paradox, eh?)

perhaps it's a category error to apply the notion of 'validity' to opinions.

The purpose of puberty blockers is to delay body changes until the teenager (not "child") is ready to decide. They don't cause permanent changes like actual hormone therapy, and trans teenagers can always go through a "natural" puberty later if they change their mind. On the contrary, denying a trans teenager puberty blockers causes permanent changes to the body that are likely to cause massive distress and take many years of therapy, training, and surgeries to correct. Many trans people regard having gone through puberty as literally having ruined their lives.

His views on the topic lack nuance. First, you need to determine that the presence of male-to-female trans athletes is indeed a significant problem in a given discipline. Then, we as a society have to decide whether or not we want to do something about it, which is not necessarily a given. For example, are you aware that the top 30 male marathon runners are all from Kenya and Ethiopia? It sucks for Europeans that we apparently just can't compete at the highest level, but most people would probably argue that this is just the way it is. Finally, the actions that should be taken will depend on the sport in question.

Case in point: Rogan talks a lot about fighting. But in that particular case, we already discriminate by weight. So it might be possible to make things more fair by giving a weight penalty to male-to-female fighters that want to compete in the women's league.

The whole point of female leagues is, that females don't become overpowered by males. So the decision you are talking about is already made. If one starts to introduce biologically males back into the female league one could arguably instead remove the female league and introduce a unisex one. This would be more coherent with your reasoning in my eyes.

The purpose of female leagues is to allow women can participate in sports. If all sports were unisex, then pretty much all competitive athletes at every level would be men, denying women access to an important part of culture and social life. This is pretty exactly what you advocate doing to trans women, who could not possibly compete against cis men.

Trans women are rare, and transition dramatically reduces muscle mass and other attributes related to performance. In fact, trans women typically have a lower testosterone level than cis women due to hormone treatments. There's absolutely no reason to believe that allowing trans women to participate in sports would prevent cis women from being able to compete. Trans women have been allowed to participate in women's Olympics events since the early 2000s, and not a single one has won a gold medal. You use the term "biological males" to refer to two completely different sets of people, which is dishonest and despicable.

The decision about female leagues was made at a time when transsexuality wasn't socially acceptable and hence did not factor into it.

My point is, there are options to explore besides an outright ban. For example, a trans woman that goes through HRT will lose some of the advantages of her birth sex. However, she might still enjoy the advantage of the male frame, hence my suggestion of an additional penalty.

A unisex league as you suggested could also be a posibility, and one could think about introducing not only weight classes, but testosterone classes as well.

But again, the female leagues were established because of the physical differences between men and women. Yes, some trans people who undergo some medical interventions have some of their physical sporting attributes brought closer into line with the opposite sex, but it’s not all attributes and it’s not all athletes. It’s exceedingly complicated.

The reality is that female leagues was a cultural hack that worked well enough in the 20th century. But in a world where we recognise that neither sex not gender fit neatly into binary categories, it is impractical to assume that we can fit people into two sporting categories.

testosterone is highly variable even at the individual level to the point that I think this particular metric would difficult to implement.

Before the higher level of testing, there were plenty of rumors that fighters would overtrain (or cycle on steroids) to the point of plummeting their testosterone levels to be given a TRT exemption. By the time their baseline levels recovered by fight day, they could still be on TRT

I feel like you're picking one thing you feel strongly about and disagree with to discredit the entire show. I don't agree with a lot of what Rogan believes, but I feel this is an unfair characterization of him and his show.

Connover was doing a lot of hemming and hawing as well I recall

Yes because he’s not an expert on trans issues, he’s a comedian, which Rogan knows, but chose to use him as a foil for his equally misinformed stances.

Connover, to his credit, went so far as to provide additional context for his defense of trans people’s agency post-interview:


Multiple commenters have stated his stances are misinformed. Are his stances misinformed or is he simply poor at arguing for one of the many stances people can take on trans issues (issues which, if everyone is honest, are pretty complex)?

The stance that it is wrong that there should only be male and female sports leagues AND that trans people should automatically be included in whichever their identification maps to, is a completely defensible and not misinformed stance. It may be wrong, but so might the opposite stance held by trans activists (which is also likely completely defensible and not misinformed).

I listened to that episode by accident (autoplay). He was just venting ignorantly about his prejudices toward trans people. It was honestly quite an ugly spectacle. It was the kind of commentary one might overhear from a table of not-so-bright senior citizens at a Denny’s.

There has to be conversation. There are some who just want to shut it down with 'bigot-transphobe' type spit-words. Gotta let it grow. Transcend the offended feeling.

Not sure why you characterize my comments that way. I was just mentioning how I reacted to it, not calling for it to be shut down.

I guarantee you have had a take of similar nature (not necessarily against the same identity) at some point in your life.

We all have some dumb opinions. I appreciate it when people help me develop awareness of my own.

Correct, that episode was so bigoted and off putting that I decided not to listen to any more.

Hearing someone vent/whine about the orientation and life choices of others is just not my cup of tea.

It was the kind of commentary one might overhear from a table of not-so-bright senior citizens at a Denny’s.

I thought the episode with James Damore was a good example of Joe ruining what could have become an interesting interview: lack of direction, ranting, pushing James towards particular statements. But I don't mind his show being hit or miss, given the sheer number of episodes.

It didn't help that Damore was a terrible interviewee. He was clearly nervous and awkward and not particularly good at arguing his viewpoints. I put more blame on Damore sucking for that one than Joe.

Exactly, he generally seems to get dragged on by the guest, especially if they have a strong personality. Someone like Neil DeGrasse Tyson will call out Joe on make he starts saying bollox like the moon landing conspiracies. But then other people will go on the conspiracy path with him and let him spew shit neither of them understand.

He even does this in an area he should be knowledgeable in: MMA. For example how he went on how you should destroy yourself in training, and always go 110%, while his guest (I can't remember who, maybe Firaz Zahabi the coach of GSP) said the exact opposite.

> how he went on how you should destroy yourself in training, and always go 110%

I've been listening to him forever and watch MMA every single weekend. I have hard time imagining him saying this. Infact, one of his MMA pet peeves is over training.

You'll want to provide a citation here as the claim you are making is likely false, or perhaps you've just mis-remembered.

yeah, no.

i've never heard him say anything like this. i've also watched the entire Firaz episode.

Yeah, I’ve noticed he likes to do this around issues I imagine are red meat for his audience (e.g. the rights of trans people). It really detracts from what are otherwise decent interviews.

Be careful, because his podcast is a bit of an echo chamber.

The other day he set up a debate on nutrition where he covered the topic of heart disease, and he put a cardiologist (Dr. Khan) with 20 years of experience debating with an acupuncturist (Kris Kresser) on the causes of heart disease.

And he kept interrupting the doctor and taking the acupuncturist side on the most absurd claims.

He is also into things like moon landing conspiracies and all that good stuff that generate a lot of internet traffic, but I think in a bit of a hypocritical way as I'm pretty sure he doesn't really believe in any of that stuff and just talks about it for the clicks.

Dr. Khan is not just a cardiologist, he's a vegan and my problem with him specifically and with veganism in general is that it's often ideological.

Chris Kresser is not an "acupuncturist". And this is a classic ad-hominen ;-)

Joe kept interrupting Khan because Khan was avoiding answering the asked questions.

And Chris kept mentioning the elephant in the room, which is that the randomized-controlled trials (the gold standard in nutrition) don't show a statistically significant link between heart disease and meat or saturated fat consumption and that's a fact, being also the subject of recent meta analysis, that used GRADE to reach the conclusion that there is no good evidence for the claim that meat causes cancer and that adults should probably continue their current meat consumption:


This isn't to say that meat or saturated fat is good or bad, but if listening to such a podcast causes anger at the people daring to question a "cardiologist with 20 years of experience", then maybe you should consider that you yourself have stepped in the land of ideology / religion and that's just not compatible with science or health for that matter.

It's his formal training, he is a licensed acupuncturist. The man has absolutely no business talking about heart disease, especially with an experienced cardiologist.

The problem of putting someone with acupuncture training debating a cardiologist is that, in the eyes of that huge audience, he presents those opinions as perfectly equivalent, alternative to each other and equally valid.

When in fact, one person has basically no idea of what he is talking about, but in the eyes of the public, and because they are put side by side, they are seen as equivalent when they are not.

Why not put him against a non-vegan cardiologist then? Someone at least with equivalent training.

From a scientific point of view, the only diet that as ever shown to stop the progression of heart disease is a whole-food plant-based diet.

Khan replied to the questions, not sure why you are saying he avoided anything. It's obvious that Joe took Kresser side during the debate.

What kind of tough questions did he ask Kresser compared to Khan?

> It's his formal training, he is a licensed acupuncturist. The man has absolutely no business talking about heart disease, especially with an experienced cardiologist.

This is an extremely closed minded view—not everyone with formal training is automatically an expert. This is the appeal to authority fallacy, and a poor one at that.

> From a scientific point of view, the only diet that as ever shown to stop the progression of heart disease is a whole-food plant-based diet.

This is not true either, and I find it ironic it’s stated authoritatively with no sources.

Not everyone with formal training is an expert, but its the minimum requirement. Literally no one without formal training can be an expert in such a complex topic as heart disease.

Why is Joe Rogan asking about heart disease to a licensed acupuncturist in a podcast with 60 million downloads a month? It's like asking for legal advice from a massage therapist.

If you had heart disease or someone in your family had it, would you ask an acupuncturist for advice?

For the sources:

"proved decades ago that heart disease could be reversed solely with diet and lifestyle change"


The video is a summary of the studies listed via the "Sources cited" button, that you find scrolling down after the video.

> Not everyone with formal training is an expert, but its the minimum requirement. Literally no one without formal training can be an expert in such a complex topic as heart disease.

I have no bone in this particular fight. I'm inclined to agree with you, most of the time, but it's clearly possible to be an expert in nearly anything without formal training:


Lots of absolutes in this discussion, but reality is usually far more nuanced.

It depends, if looking for advise on how to use excel from someone, I don't think that they need to be certified or whatever.

For asking someone to do some web design or a logo, I don't think it's necessary either, but there is a limit somewhere.

Think about this way, if you yourself or someone in your family would have heart disease, would you take advice from an acupuncturist?

I bet you wouldn't. What are the odds that Kris Kresser without any formal training or experience managed to better understand the science behind such a complex topic like heart disease than full-time scientists and cardiologists?

Self-learning is great for a lot of things, but heart disease is likely not one of them.

How dare you question dietary proselytizing which is clearly masquerading as scientific fact.

The recent meta-analysis got to the same conclusions as before (the link between meat and cancer), it's just that the interpretation of the authors was different.

They said that although a link exists, its not worth it for people to change their diet, which has triggered outrage on the scientific community.

One of the authors of the studies meta-analysed complained that he never saw such as misrepresentation of the data.

The author of the meta-analysis is someone with strong financial links to the meat industry, so thay study is suspect, to say the least.

When you open someone up after a heart attack, what do you find clogging their veins? It's cholesterol. What happens when you eat cholesterol? Your cholesterol serum goes up.

If Joe could have found a serious cardiologist that would claim that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, he would have long invited him to the show.

But the best he could come up with is Kris Kresser, which kind of says it all.

> When you open someone up after a heart attack, what do you find clogging their veins? It's cholesterol. What happens when you eat cholesterol? Your cholesterol serum goes up.

That’s an incorrect oversimplification of the situation. Like most of what is being bandied about here.


The amount of cholesterol in the blood is largely produced by our own body depending on the mix of fat and carbs that we eat, and a smaller but still significative part comes from dietary cholesterol.

Most people eat more than just an egg a day in terms of cholesterol. They eat dairy, meat, eggs, and fish multiple times a day typically one or more of those at every single meal.

So dietary cholesterol does add up over the day, combined with a bad mix of processed carbs and fats it's a recipe for disaster.

Yes, you can eat one egg day and get away with it, but most people eat way more cholesterol than that every single day.

> his podcast is a bit of an echo chamber.

> The other day he set up a debate on nutrition where he covered the topic of heart disease, and he put a cardiologist (Dr. Khan) with 20 years of experience debating with an acupuncturist (Kris Kresser) on the causes of heart disease. And he kept interrupting the doctor and taking the acupuncturist side on the most absurd claims

I haven't listened that episode, or really many Joe Rogan podcasts at all. But isn't that kinda the opposite of an echo chamber? He had two guests on with opposing viewpoints, and gave both of them a fair shake, even when one of the guests had an minority (absurd) opinion?

An echo chamber is a place where the local acoustics make it difficult to speak clearly.

Medical science is able to speak with brilliant clarity hard-earned from centuries of experimentation on the topic of heart disease.

If I hear a discourse involving a cardiologist and a layperson, and it's not really made apparent who is the expert and who is not, then I call that an echo chamber.

That's not the conventional definition of a metaphorical echo chamber.

> an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered

Source: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/echo_chamber

He has said it time and again, that he is willing to sit down and have a reasonable conversation with anyone and everyone.

which is a silly position to take because putting quacks and experts into a room on topics that require domain knowledge and scientific expertise is counter-productive and gives a false impression that both opinions are equally valuable or justified.

In reality, the show is an excellent avenue to mainstream conspiracy theorists and people who want to sell their latest books or products or whatever, and the people who will listen to it will get a hugely distorted view of what the actual consensus on certain topics is.

This is the same sort of dynamic that recently cropped up around a certain youtube 'educator' who claimed to teach people ML and to have disrupted the cartel of higher education, only to turn out that he had plagiarized a lot of his content and that the education was actually of extremely low quality. The same mentality, gatekeepers are evil, listen to the pot-smoking show-host who brings you the real information that they don't want you to know, yada yada.

Having guests with opposing views doesn't make it less of an echo chamber when the host is totally biased towards one of the opposing viewpoints.

>I think in a bit of a hypocritical way as I'm pretty sure he doesn't really believe in any of that stuff and just talks about it for the clicks.

Or maybe he just finds it interesting? I find myself on paranormal sites from time to time even though I know it's 100% (or at least 99.9%) bullshit. It's still fun to read.

There are a couple of huge differences. You don't have financially anything to gain by that, and you are not influencing the opinions of a huge number of people in the process.

There is already so much scientific ignorance in the general public, there is so much misrepresentation of science already.

A ton of people actually believe thinks like the Earth is flat, Joe many times gives a voice to that type of quacks for clicks.

His podcast many times acts as a vehicle for spreading ignorance, other than that yes its entertaining and people should know better. But often they don't and that's the problem.

It's also quite educational and interesting when he has good guests on. I don't know why people have to judge the entire podcast based on his worst guests when there is simply no other mainstream outlet, or at least one as big as Rogan's, that has nearly as many interesting scientists, philosophers, journalists, etc. on. Yes he also has idiots on. So what? The point is the entire world steps through that studio and people blanket generalize the podcast away whenever he has someone they disagree with on, which is a sad stance to take in my opinion.

>He is also into things like moon landing conspiracies and all that good stuff that generate a lot of internet traffic, but I think in a bit of a hypocritical way as I'm pretty sure he doesn't really believe in any of that stuff and just talks about it for the clicks.


He used to believe that, and now he doesn't.

That was just an example among many. Anything from alien landings to Atlantis to god knows what is fair game to Rogan.

He will gladly give his huge platform to the most complete wacko as long as it makes a good story and gets him his clicks, spreading a ton of misinformation and reinforcing common ignorant beliefs in the process.

> That was just an example among many

Well, it wasn't really an example at all as he's petty open about how silly he was to believe it, but ok.

Rogan invites anyone on who he finds interesting. Yes, he has a proclivity to want to believe things that are a bit out there, but he challenges a lot of those "wackos" as well. He also brings on many field experts just to hear what they have to say.

I think you're wrong about Joe fishing for clicks. He's been doing this a long time now and his format hasn't really changes. He's not purporting to be an expert of any kind (hell, he doesn't even claim to be intelligent) and he's an intellectually open person.

His show is not a platform for guests who won't offend your sensibilities, and he has no obligation to censor for you. If you don't like what a guest is saying then great; make up your own mind. He's not trying to convince you.

He does have some shared responsibility for the accuracy of what gets said on his show and the guests that he invites.

When he invites a guest he gives them a platform, many people hear what some of those quacks have to say and take it at face value.

He should take more care in not spreading so much misinformation and ignorance to a gigantic audience, there is too much of that in the world already.

Why does he? He's not a journalist, he's a talking head. He'll challenge statements he can't get behind, but this is an opinion/entertainment show, and he's not throwing up slogans that read "fair and balanced" at every opportunity.

I don't fundamentally disagree with what you're saying, but with great power, comes great responsibility.

Journalist or not, he still has a responsibility to his audience.

It's a shared responsibility, between him and the guests and the people that listen and take it at face value that should know better.

He can very well balance better the entertainment aspect with the accuracy of the information, especially on topics that have an actual impact on people's lives like health-related topics.

> he still has a responsibility to his audience.

What? If people stop liking what he has to say, they'll stop listening to him. I don't know what your point is. Set up federal regulations on the Joe Rogan Podcast because you disagree with some things he says?

My point is that Rogan does have some sort of moral responsibility for not letting his platform be used so easily to massively disinform the public on non-scientific beliefs.

> he still has a responsibility to his audience.

What? If people stop liking what he has to say, they'll stop listening to him. What's your solution? Set up federal regulations on the Joe Rogan Podcast because you disagree with some things he says?

>>Be careful, because his podcast is a bit of an echo chamber.


Be brave about hearing stupid arguments. They are a whetting stone for your own thoughts.

It is not smart, courageous, healthy or prudent to prevent yourself from being exposed to bad ideas.

everyone has an expiration date. someone who wants to make the most of their time probably should not waste it on nonsense.

He's since disavowed the moon landing conspiracy theory beliefs. I agree he has a bunch of episodes that dabble in pseudoscience, though. At least there are a lot of episodes with actual scientists as well.

Any individual podcast definitely is. He will agree with a lot of the stuff the guest says and not really fight back much. Arguably he doesn't have the knowledge to anyways.

But as a whole, I do find that he has a very wide variety of guests which show all sorts of view point. Just don't take what you hear in any single podcast as absolute truth.

If this is the Chris Kresser you are referring to - https://chriskresser.com/ - he is a lot more than just an acupuncturist.

He does have a popular blog, but take a look - https://chriskresser.com/about/

Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac. - "M.S. L.Ac." means Master of Science, Licensed Acupuncturist. This is his formal training, all I'm saying is that he shouldn't be presented as an expert to Joe Rogan's audience in the topic he was interviewed on.

But have you tried DMT, bro?

I agree with your first sentence, but not so much with your second.

He's the best out there now as he's got the pick of his guests (the result of a forward feedback loop of being a good interviewer).

But view/listen to enough of them and you'll learn to pick the gems from the drivel, like almost everything.

Each show has like 50% of just general Rogan filler. It's really noticable if you listen to many of them in a row. I only listen to the really interesting guests like Elon Musk, John Carmack since they're so outside of the entertainment/social media field that the talk stays pretty focused on what they've done.

Joe is a master interviewer for the reasons you mention. I'd also add he has broad interests in almost any topic and subject matter, which helps. Another technique he employs is "listening". There are many times when I want to butt in when listening to his podcasts. But Joe just waits and let's the other person speak and soaks it in.

There are of course the interviews which are actually him being interviewed (he does most of the talking)... But I think that's part of why it makes for good listening. He keeps the conversation going. Even with a reticent guest, most interviews go for 2 hours or more. So in the end you extract something useful out of it.

Joe is not a master interviewer. Compare him to someone who does a lot of research ahead of time and comes prepared with thought-provoking questions, and can keep pace with the deep conversations, like say a Tim Ferriss.

Joe does little research on most guests (mostly due to the sheer volume of guests I'm sure), which could be a more stylistic choice if he were a deft interviewer who could think on his feet and dig deep anyway, but he's not. He's an everyman and asks very surface-level questions. As you say guests are (usually) given wide latitude to own the mic, which works great when it's a guest with a compelling narrative. It works terribly when the guest is very ideological or has some sort of agenda they are adept at selling.

The times he does challenge a guest (sometimes way too aggressively as others in the thread have shown), oftentimes he has missed the point entirely, and the guest has to back up and try to patch the conversation. Once that happens a couple times the flow of the interview is really disturbed and it takes a long time to recover.

I like Joe as a person, and admire his discipline, but to call him a master interviewer would be as accurate as calling him a master comedian because he has been grinding so long.

Narduar is my favorite example of a master interviewer. Watch him leave Pharrell speechless multiple times (starting around the 5:15 mark is a good example). This guy does his homework better than anyone.


My go-to examples of people going from skeptical to "WTF?" are Waka Flocka Flame:

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMyvB2wAXYI

And A$AP Rocky

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8IYpVF_S5M

He also seems to be able to 'find' people just before they really make it big/mainstream, like Kendrick Lamer, Billie Eilish, and Tyler the Creator. I heard about them from Narduar before anywhere else.

Will check him out, thanks for the tip!

His researching skills are indeed impressive, but I feel like he's a bit "loud" in his personality/character and that can take some attention away from the interviewee.

I'd say he's just eccentric, and takes a bit of getting used to in terms of style. also, IIRC, this interview got him some REALLY big ones (including Jay-Z, I think) because Pharrell told everyone he knew to that they had to talk with Nardwuar.

At the very least in terms of doing proper research on a subject, I think there's no one better.

In his interviews he really doesn't draw attention away from the interviewee. You're right about him having a strong personality but it's obvious to me that he tries very hard to never outshine the person he's interviewing.

If you're not used to him, and are coming in 'cold' to watch one of his interviews, then it can be a bit distracting. After a few I think it goes into the background more.

Peter Robinson (of the Hoover Institution) is a good example of a master interviewer, with his Uncommon Knowledge series. Here's one of the last ones I saw:

Peter Thiel on “The Straussian Moment” (Sept 2019)


Definitely; he actually came to my mind but I didn't want to ruffle ideological feathers due to his neoliberal ties. Not that he should be pigeonholed as such - an excellent interview about Leon Trotsky he did with Christopher Hitchens and a Trotsky biographer comes to mind.

He is in the style of Larry King, who famously doesn't do research so he can put himself in the shoes of the audience and ask questions that would be on their mind. It's a valid technique and works well with a laymen audience. What you are describing is a totally different type of show that goes more in depth on fewer subjects.

Since others are posting examples of who they consider master interviewers, I need to include Sean Evans from the spicy-chicken-wing-gauntlet interview show Hot Ones.

His guests routinely compliment him on his prep and the questions he ask. The show would be just as good without the hot sauce gimmick.

It's been quite a long time since I watched a Hot Ones but my impression was Sean Evans does great research with excellent questions, but he's often pretty stiff when he has to steer the conversation - it's like he has a clipboard with questions that he is focused on getting through. He is pretty quick and capable of riffing off guests' comments, but - perhaps due to time constraints - he jumps right back to his list of questions.

The Hot Ones episodes I found the most entertaining were the ones where the guest was the dominant one, steering the conversation, and the questions were incidental / not necessary.

I kinda agree.

He honestly doesn't add that much by being in the room vs if someone else had the same questionnaire sheet. And in some ways his wooden demeanor can even be detracting instead of some of the best interviewers who can melt away and give the interviewee the space and direction to shine.

Perhaps him acting as uninformed and a layman helps bridge the gap between an average joe and someone who is very informed. Sometimes acting stupid or being stupid is a great way to help smart people explain their points.

Terry Gross is a (the?) master interviewer.

One of my favorite interviewers is Sean Evans from Hot Ones on Youtube. Fantastic questions every time. Most guests also remark how good his questions are.

I enjoy Rogan but he's no master interviewer. In fact he strikes me as a kind of conversational Zelig who will nod along in agreement with nearly any idea a guest might put forward.

For a supremely frustrating example of Rogan not 'getting it' listen to the last hour-ish of JRE#1350 with Nick Bostrom, where Joe simply can't wrap his head around The Simulation Argument.

Oof, I mostly only ever listen to Rogan on long flights and then choose episodes based on whether I have any interest in the person interviewed. I was excited to listen to Nick Bostrom, but came away from that episode wanting to scream. I feel like there are other episodes that have been reasonably good... I’m struggling to think of any that stood out in recent memory.

But yeah, Rogan’s a mediocre interviewer at best, though he can be entertaining himself. And the long format of the podcast means that interviewees can sort of talk themselves out, which can give real insight into what they think.

I thought his recent interview with John Carmack was great. Though a lot of that has to do with Carmack himself being a great communicator.

Oh yeah, I did listen to that one. It was a perfect venue for Carmack because I could listen to John speak about anything for as long as John wants to speak about it. Rogan didn’t need to do much prompting for Carmack to spill his solid-gold guts, and he also didn’t feel the need to cut in.

It helped that Rogan is a self confessed Quake nut. If someone didn't have exposure to those early id software games, they might not have been as much at home with Carmack.

Joe is an OK interviewer if he remains sober, and he doesn't inject current events randomly just so he can comment on some talking point going around that week in the media, cut it into a promo and stick it on his channel. By OK I mean he will actually let the person talk most times without interruption and trying to take over like most other annoying interviews.

I started listening to his stuff few months back. And I must say I learnt a lot about listening and having good conversations.

He mentioned this actually few times and its interesting that he learnt to be patient and non-combative no non-issues.

Half of the time i pay attention to how he runs the podcast instead of actual conversations.

I noticed that over time too. My guess is that he has a feel if a guest is entertaining or not. And if they are not he is going into story mode and just sharing the joys of bow-hunting.

You should see JRE#917, Steven doesn't really care about the whole marijuana issue and Joe completely bullies and flames him for like thirty minutes.

That one was not well-reasoned or patient, but other than that, I've found almost all of Joe's podcasts to be very good. He's definitely one of the greatest interviewers on the planet right now.

He did apologize for that. His excuse was that he had a lot to drink and smoke. Also I think him being on good terms with the guests made him more comfortable with being an asshole

That's not really an excuse for an adult person.

Why anyone would listen to anything with a bigot like Crowder is beyond me. If you can’t defend your conservatism without devolving into racist and homophobic slurs, you really shouldn’t be taken seriously.

I find it's useful to listen to those you have strong ethical disagreements with, in order to challenge your own ego and ideas.

Sorry, but I’ve lived enough of my adult life to know that I can tune out people who do mocking imitations of queer people on YouTube and be intellectually just fine.

Crowder was harangued by Maza for years, Crowder responding by doing a mocking impression of the self-referential non sequiturs that Maza would proclaim amidst his criticisms seems like fair game and not homophobic.

I don't see how it is any worse than when Crowder mocks Trump's braggadocios by imitating his common catchphrases. Such material is low comedy, for sure, but not cancel-worthy.

He was homophobic because he used homophobic slurs, not because he did a mocking impression (which is just childish, and is also a good reason to not take the guy seriously). The guy is a fucking joke.

The slurs in question were repeatedly and brazenly used by Maza in his past attacks on Crowder, and thus were part of the impression in Crowder's response. Context matters. Otherwise, if simply uttering or referencing homophobic slurs makes one a homophobe, regardless of context, then wouldn't Carlos Maza be a homophobe too?

I don't follow Carlos's work, but looking at his twitter he is very openly gay, so I would find it very difficult to call him a homophobe. Also even outside of this one incident, the nicest way I would ever describe Crowder is a leach - I was shown his work by a family member (who thankfully doesn't watch his bullshit anymore) before this incident. The guy stirs up shit and offers no value; absolutely worthless.

I agree with you in general, but there are much better people to do that with than Crowder. He doesn't seem like he's acting in good faith, and more generally, think about stuff very much.

There are plenty of intelligent conservatives/whatever that don't do the stuff he does that's just intended to be offensive/get attention.


> This is possible only if those people you disagree with don't have power over you

This certainly must be false, or parenting wouldn't work.

I've taken many, maybe even most lessons and ego checks from people more powerful than me.

What power does Crowder have over you? He's a joke.

Consider: his viewpoint is a firing offense at FAANG while your viewpoint is constantly validated and endorsed.

Who's got the power there? Of course Crowder is a terrible example to speak up for, but he definitely is not empowered.

Not to mention the fact that Crowder's own material tends to show how severely misinformed he is on some of the views he criticizes - in fact in that respect he's become somewhat of a meme in some circles.

Where does Crowder come in at all in this conversation?

JRE #917, which the parent said to listen to, is an interview with Crowder.

> talking-head punditry available on the major news networks

That's also because most news networks don't have the luxury (or the willingness) to do 2 hours interviews with a single person in the first place. They need to make things short so they can drown you with ads at every break.

nailed it

I am not too sure what to make of Joe Rogan’s podcasts. Note that I do not listen regularly, and mostly only listen to some of the ‘big name’ guests. On one hand, it is cool that he is able to attract big names from diverse fields to come onto his podcast.

On the other hand, it feels like most of the podcasts have a shallow content level if you are already familiar with the subject, and sometimes the conversation/questions tend to go into the stoner mysticism realm.

Interviewing Nick Bostrom was cringe worthy. I don't know what Joe was trying to achieve - maybe forming an argument against the simulation theory? But it was so bad. The youtube comment section is amusing.

But mostly Joe gets it spot on and does a great interview. What this does to popular discourse? When a small % of the population watch these types of long form interview and get deep, thoughtful and insightful answers to complex ideas .... and some % of the population watch Fox and read tabloids to get their news.

How does society fix this huge knowledge divide?

> Interviewing Nick Bostrom was cringe worthy. I don't know what Joe was trying to achieve - maybe forming an argument against the simulation theory? But it was so bad.

Bostrom really failed there. He simply did not explain the argument very well. Everything Bostrom said is clear to someone who already understands the argument or has experience with statistics, but it was not at all a good explanation for someone who doesn't have the necessary intuitions to understand why they are more likely to be a simulated agent.

I had the opposite impression. Bostrom is just making up nonsense, then dressing it with fancy words and big numbers to prevent people from calling out his bullshit. It's the opposite of clear. If you look a little deeper he has nothing meaningful to offer in any field.

His argument is extremely clear. It's just unclear to anyone with absolutely no background knowledge, like Joe. He didn't explain it in the clearest way on the podcast because Joe was missing a lot of necessary basics, but if he sat down with Joe for longer and perhaps drew a diagram or something, I think he'd get it.

Perhaps "clear" isn't the right word. Sometimes when someone is spouting total nonsense I initially assume that I didn't understand them clearly because obviously no educated, articulate person could actually be that stupid. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, right? But no, in Bostrom's case it's total unsupported bullshit all the way down regardless of whether he's talking about AGI / singularity / simulations / etc. A complete and utter waste of time. It's disappointing that he's managed to con so many otherwise intelligent people into taking him seriously and buying his books.

Please refute his simulation argument and arguments related to AGI, then. I find pretty much everything he says to be supported and insightful. If so many intelligent people like and agree with him, maybe the issue is with your understanding of his arguments than with the arguments themselves.

How would one "con" so many intelligent people for so many years with purely logical arguments, exactly? An argument is either coherent and valid and sound or it isn't. There's no room for conning or personal charm or anything related to the person themselves.

my impression is that you seem to have an emotional commitment to your position. why do you say that bostrom is "that stupid" talking about "bullshit all the way down" and is "conning" people?

It is actually not that complex of an argument. Well, in the sense that it doesn't strike me as over intellectualized and/or over complicated.

Actually, the simulation argument is solid. One of the three possibilities Bostrom outlines absolutely must be true.

Well, Bostrom states that there will be more ideas in the future that may change the simulation theory. It's the latest most plausable theory.

It may change the probabilities of the various outcomes entailed by the argument, it won't change the argument itself or its conclusions.

Its not just the lack of long form interviews, its the lack of long form in general. News is too short to be meaningful. I just checked the word count in the top 10 stories on BBC news.

Average number of words per article was 764.

While you can get long form fewer and fewer people read it, myself included. If a major player like the BBC resort to news in an average of 764 words the majority of people are not getting deep/insightful/challenging news or information.

In my 20s I used to read long form broadsheet articles on a Sunday, I don't seem to have the attention for it any more. Even articles from hacker news that are too long I just go straight to the comments to get a digest. I suspect my mobile phone addiction is to blame, even last week I signed up for blinkist after I tried to read Ray Dalios Principles for the third time and didn't have the attention for it when I saw an ad for the summary on blinkist and just signed up.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make but I just believe super shortform, dopamine induced hit of information may be detrimental to me/society in the long run.

*edited as table of data not displaying correctly

tl;dr please?

This operates under the assumption that your thing is good while the other is bad. I think the people in the other group would see it differently.

I also imagine on some other forum out there someone is lamenting the popularity of the Joe Rogan Experience while the media of their liking gets even less exposure, and wondering how they fix that knowledge divide in society.

The fact that the people in the other group see it differently doesn't mean they're right though. It doesn't mean either group is right, but at the end of the day one can still take a step back and evaluate the two sources/modes of informing oneself and decide that one is good and the other is bad - with respect to what we agree it's good to optimize for (forming more accurate mental models, being well informed in general and not being deceived either by others or self, etc).

> How does society fix this huge knowledge divide?

- Why should it?

- Isnt the divide inevitable anyway (X knows about Shakespeare, Y knows about quantum theory, Z knows how to grow corn...)

Just a few hundred years ago it was actually possible for a single person to learn essentially everything that was known in Western civilization. And some wealthy people with a lot of leisure time pretty much did that. So now we still see it as a goal to strive for even though it's no longer achievable.

But how many people really try to do that? I’m not aware of any well known true renaissance men/women. Perhaps, perhaps Elon Musk comes close. But even then he’s far too concentrated in tech, just different tech industries. And even short of that, what percentage of people have any kind of cross-training in orthogonal disciplines? Getting an advanced degree in one field is seen as a huge accomplishment. Is society missing out on something due to this? My impression is that ‘way back when,’ everyone who was ‘educated’ had a pretty solid background in history, literature, and philosophy. It was just what you did if you were ‘educated.’ I think much of that tradition is diminished now. Not gone, but diminished.

To some degree, yes, but a lot knowledge can be accurately summarised, and is also both useful in general and even necessary for the good functioning & growth of society. It's not even really about knowledge, it's more about ability - to think critically, to exercise empathy, etc.

I think it depends on your field of expertise.

When he interviews people from tech, it’s usually cringeworthy for me. And very entertaining in fields I know little of.

This kind of issue makes me think I should believe all most nothing. When I know the topic and then know how wrong they got it then I assume that the same is true for all the experts in other topics. I suppose I only have a sample of 1, the topic I know, but I have zero samples of the opposite where some expert tells me "they totally got it correct"

This is kind of the opposite of what Michael Crichton named the "Gell-Mann amnesia effect" [1][2]. Often in the media we recognise stories in our area are wrong, but don't extend resulting distrust to all the other topics.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Crichton#GellMannAmnes...

[2] http://larvatus.com/michael-crichton-why-speculate/

More people listen to his podcast than watch network news.

I don't doubt this, but do you have a source?

> I've not run across one yet that wasn't well-reasoned, patient, and interesting

You should check out #947 - Ron Miscavige [1]. It is the one episode that comes to mind where JR's behavior and impatience really bothers me. The guy's story is quite sad and Joe seemed distant and distracted the entire time.

1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVVdCikBDQk

It's funny, I thought that was one of the better ones. Because Ron Miscavige seemingly is trying to avoid all responsibility, and Joe pushes back on this several times. That episode in particular sticks out to me where Joe asks difficult questions which elevate the interview

To me, it seemed like a story of a father being terrorized and subjugated by his narcissistic son. He seemed pretty apologetic for getting him involved in the first place.

Where do you think he was trying to shirk responsibility? I've listened to a lot of his podcasts and that was also the only one where I couldn't understand why Joe was acting so harshly towards him. Once his son was absorbed into the cult, I don't think there's anything he could've done. Not to mention how hard it is even to get yourself out of it, as he explained in great detail.

There are interviewers out there that are far more knowledgeable than him and conduct genuinely interesting interviews with smart people. For example, check out Intelligence Squared podcast. It is true that Rogan's breadth of types of guests is probably unmatched.

The breadth is what I really come for. Like he interviewed John Carmack and Chuck Palahniuk, two people I've admired immensely but who come from two very different fields. Sure, he only covers surface level stuff, but if you knew nothing about writing, game design, or rocket science, you wouldn't get that within two podcast episodes anywhere else

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