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TALLAHASSE, Fla. – EXCLUSIVE: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed the liberal media and weighed in on cancel culture and the recent controversies surrounding podcast host Joe Rogan in an interview with Fox News Digital.
Rogan, who hosts “The Joe Rogan Experience” exclusively on Spotify, came under fire recently for repeated use of the N-word on past podcast episodes and for hosting guests who questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and masks. On Monday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote a letter to employees stating the company would not be “silencing” Rogan.
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Rogan took to Instagram Friday evening, where he issued an apology over his N-word remarks, expressing his “deepest, sincerest” apologies.
But DeSantis told Fox News Digital on Monday that Rogan should “not apologize” for his previous statements.
“No, he shouldn’t have apologized. I mean, you see what happens? The mob will come after people, and they’re targeting Rogan because he’s threatening to upset the apple cart on some of the things that they’re holding dear. And with COVID, he’s just bringing opposing views. He’s letting people decide. They say he’s against [the COVID vaccine]. I do not listen to his show, but then I read he specifically advocated for people with co-morbidities and elderly to get vaccinated,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis continued, “I think a lot of the legacy outlets and I think the left fear the fact that he can reach so many people, and so they’re out to destroy him. But what I would say is don’t give an inch. Do not apologize. Do not cow to the mob. Stand up and tell them to pound sand; if you do that, there’s really nothing that they’re able to do to you. The only way they have power is if you let them get your goat.”
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In addition, in response to a question asking about CNN pundit Brian Stelter’s recent commentary wondering why people trust Rogan more than CNN, the Florida governor responded that it is because the media outlet has “spewed misinformation.”
“Well, I think when people are going to look back at this, they’re going to look at outlets like CNN, New York Times as having spewed misinformation they claim to be policing it,” said DeSantis.
“But if you look from the beginning, who was advocating for lockdowns? CNN and New York Times. Who is advocating for school closures? Those outlets. Who has advocated for force masking of kids? Those outlets.”
DeSantis then cited a recent Johns Hopkins study that found lockdowns in the spring of 2020 reduced COVID mortality rates by only 0.2% in both Europe and the U.S.
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“And then what ends up happening? Johns Hopkins does the study. Lockdowns didn’t work. You look to see mass jurisdictions do know better than unmasked jurisdictions. All the things they’ve said. It seems like you wait six, 12 months and then basically the narratives blow up. Now they will never go back and admit they were wrong. They will never go back and do a mea culpa. It’ll just move on to the next thing and craft the next narrative.”
In a separate joint interview with his wife, first lady Casey DeSantis, the governor expanded on his criticism of the mainstream media, bringing up accusations that former President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, which was dispelled by the Mueller Report in 2019.
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“I mean, just think when Trump was president, I mean, you know, you had some of these major legacy outlets ran for years with unproven conspiracy theory about Russia collusion. And that was meant to basically divide the country. They wanted to mobilize against Trump as much as they talk about the 2020. They didn’t accept the 2016 election. They wanted to basically nullify that result,” DeSantis told Fox News Digital.
“And so how is that something that’s bringing people together? And so I think that, you know, there’s a lot of different reasons, but I think the role of some of those, what I would say are failed legacy outlets, the way they’re trying to get relevance again is to basically play to a base and try to be financially viable as a result. But the result is, I think, you know, they’re trying to sow divisions rather than, you know, be a little bit more even-handed in ways that people may find common ground,” continued the governor.
DeSantis has been outspoken against “cancel culture” and other culture wars, including the teaching of critical race theory in Florida’s schools.