Spreading Misinformation in a “Free World”

Spreading Misinformation in a “Free World” February 1, 2022

This past week rocker Neil Young pulled his music off Spotify to protest the “misinformation” being spouted by Joe Rogan. Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren quickly followed suit.

Mitchell’s move comes after Young requested his managers and record label order the immediate removal of all his songs from Spotify, due to vaccine misinformation propagated by comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan.”

I’d consider removing my own music from Spotify if I thought it would influence listeners to get vaccinated. Spotify.

Image via screenshot on YouTube.

Then again, my own feelings are mixed about silencing people who spread false information. It seems to me that before the onslaught of election and COVID lies people really didn’t care too much about the spread of misinformation.

In 2015, I could have cared less, for example, that nuts thought aliens helped build the Egyptian pyramids, or thought the world was flat, or that dinosaurs were too big to fit in Noah’s Ark.

Today it’s different. Most rational people can see a clear connection between the spreading of lies and the killing of lives. Misinformation about masks and vaccines is murdering people, and Trump’s elections lies are ripping friends, families and communities apart.

Translation . . . when people act irresponsibly there are legitimate reasons to limit their free speech.

Incidentally, while some may bemoan the fact that Young, Mitchell and Lofgrin have pulled their “music” from Spotify, their music also comes with lyrics. I’d be curious, for example, to learn whether some of the lyrics in their tunes don’t present information or perceptions about life that listeners would find false—or objectionable.

Suffice it to say, these three singer songwriters believe their influence to be more truthful and meaningful than Joe Rogans, and they felt they needed to use their clout to silence him. What better way to do this then by hitting Spotify in the pocketbook?

On the other hand, we should give them credit for taking the moral high ground and at least trying to do something about the spread of misinformation. For there are plenty of other rich, famous, and influential people out there who refuse to speak out.

About Scott R. Stahlecker
Before launching the Stand-up Humanist, Scott Stahlecker was the columnist for Thinkadelics here on Patheos. A former minister for the Seventh Day Adventists, he parted ways with religion in 1990. His books include the novel Blind Guides, Picking Wings Off Butterflies, and How to Escape Religion Guilt Free. When away from his keyboard, he’s apt to be playing music, spending time with family and friends, or waiting for the next shoe to drop. You can read more about the author here.

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