Culture

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why Joe Rogan and I sat down and talked — for more than 3 hours


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By Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

In today’s highly segmented media world, most of the people who watch and listen to me every day on CNN have already received and accepted the message about the utility of vaccines, the importance of masks and how we can all work together to put an end to this pandemic. So I realized that if I was serious about trying to communicate public health, I needed to go to a less comfortable place. I needed to go into the lion’s den and accept an invitation to sit down with Joe Rogan for more than three hours.

I don’t think I have ever had a conversation that long with anyone. Seriously — think about that. We sat in a windowless podcast booth with two sets of headphones and microphones, and a few feet between us. Not a single interruption. No cellphones. No distractions. No bathroom breaks.

At a time when there is a desire for shorter, crisper content — responding to abbreviated human attention spans — one of the most popular podcasts in the country features conversations that last exceptionally long and go particularly deep.

Many friends cautioned me against accepting Joe’s invitation. “There is little room for reasonable conversations anymore,” one person told me. “He is a brawler and doesn’t play fair,” another warned. In fact, when I told Joe early in the podcast that I didn’t agree with his apparent views on vaccines against Covid, ivermectin and many things in between, part of me thought the MMA, former Taekwondo champion might hurtle himself across the table and throttle my neck. But, instead he smiled, and off we went.

Here is a headline: Joe Rogan agreed to get vaccinated

OK, I am embellishing here, but Joe Rogan is the one guy in the country I wanted to exchange views with in a real dialogue — one that could potentially be among the most important conversations of this entire pandemic. After listening to his podcasts for a while now, I wanted to know: Was Joe simply a sower of doubt, a creator of chaos? Or was there something more? Was he asking questions that begged to be asked, fueled by necessary suspicion and skepticism?

Into the lion’s den

It wasn’t what Joe Rogan thinks that most interested me, it was how he thinks. That is what I really wanted to understand.

Truth is, I have always been a naturally skeptical person myself. One of my personal heroes, the physicist Edwin Hubble, said a scientist has a “healthy skepticism, suspended judgment and disciplined imagination, not only about other people’s ideas but also about their own.”

It’s a good way of thinking about the world — full of honesty and humility. I live by that, and I think Joe may to some extent as well. He will be the first to point out that he is not a doctor or a scientist who has studied these topics. Instead, he seems to see himself less a rapscallion and more of …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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