In 2016, Joe Rogan estimated that he received over 30 million downloads of his podcast per month. There were so many channels hosting his podcast that he wasn’t even sure in regards to the totals. Regardless, the impact of his podcast can’t be overlooked or underestimated. Consider that according
to Edison Research, over 44 percent of Americans have listened to podcasts or roughly 124 million people. 48 million people listen to podcasts weekly, 70 percent of which are listened to on a mobile device.
Now consider that the top news commentators receive a significantly lower amount of viewers. Looking at Q2 2018, the top viewership was Sean Hannity with 3.37 million viewers. This was followed by Rachel Maddow with 2.75 million. Here are two pinnacles of the left-right political paradigm with little impact on the ~320 million people living in America.
What can explain the popularity of a show like Joe Rogan’s podcast, or someone like Sam Harris who boasts 1 million downloads per episode? The primary factor is the format. By its very nature podcast allow for nearly unlimited length, and one is only limited by time that participants are willing to dedicate towards a particular episode.
This is in stark contrast to the the mainstream media’s (MSM) format. The typical show is 1 hour long; although much shorter when you account for frequent commercial interruptions. Within that short period of time participants are typically given 5-10 minutes to discuss a contentious topic. This is already difficult with two participants, but more often than not we find 3-4 participants shouting over each other to make their point.
In such a scenario, there is no dialectic. At the end of this futile exercise, we are left in the same place we started. Neither the viewers or participants achieved anything, and literally wasted their time. Layer on top of this scenario the political grandstanding of the participants and you get a situation where the only thing people are interested in is winning.
It is very likely that any dedicated viewer of Sean Hannity’s program is merely watching for the entertainment value of watching a debate that reinforces that viewer’s right-leaning point-of-view. One can easily make a bet that this viewer is not watching to learn anything new from the conversation. This argument can also be made for left-leaning viewers.
What we find in the successful podcasting format are dialectics that take place over a period of 2 – 3 hours. More often than not, there is a true exchange of ideas with no notion of “winning” a debate. This is what the first universities attempted to accomplish, although these days the concept of expressing ideas freely has eroded from universities.
By allowing these lengthy conversations to take place the listener can unpack what is being said and get a real sense of the arguments being presented. As explained by the numbers, there must be a real thirst for this kind of knowledge.
To their dismay, it seems that the MSM has failed to realize that people like Joe Rogan even exist. They are still competing with each other over ratings and viewership numbers that hardly matter in their significance. It’s no surprise then that trust in the MSM has deteriorated. In a recent Gallup poll, 62% claim the news is biased and 44% believe the news they see is inaccurate. This is a significant amount of distrust.
There is a hidden power
Eric Weinstein, that the MSM has failed to miss to its own detriment. What this movement has done is brought together a disparate group of intellectuals who are beginning to change the notion of politics. They are willing to cross the established political spectrum in order to defend against the controls being put on
In short order, we will find political boundaries being redrawn and the notion of the left-right paradigm, as it currently stands, crumble. The MSM will continue to pander to this old paradigm, but unbeknownst to them, there are a group of people who have begun to dissolve themselves of these labels. The future of American politics is changing and it’s a refreshing one.