Joe Rogan Falsely Claims Leftist Arsonists Setting Oregon Fires

Podcast host Joe Rogan pushed a debunked claim that “left-wing” activists were lighting forests ablaze in Oregon on his show Thursday — giving credence to a conspiracy theory that has spread virally on social media.

“I actually love Portland,” Rogan began, before alluding to the months of unrest and protest against racial injustice that followed the police killing of George Floyd. “Most of the people there are very nice, but there is a madness going on there. You want to talk about madness of crowds.”

“That is…exemplifies that right now, and to me …they’ve arrested people for lighting forest fires up there, they’ve arrested left-wing people for lighting these forest fires, air-quote, activists,” Rogan then claimed.

“This is also something that is not widely being reported,” Rogan added. “That people have actually been arrested for lighting fires up there.”

Rogan’s claim has not been widely reported because it has no basis in fact. Two men were arrested over the past weekend on charges of arson, but police confirmed that they were neither related to left-wing political activism or the wildfires still plaguing the state.

The Portland FBI office has specifically shot down the claim, issuing a statement last week explaining that they had investigated such alleged “left-wing” conspiracy theories involving the fires and deemed them to be “untrue.”

What’s more, both Reuters and FackCheck.Org have conducted further investigation, finding no evidence to back the claims, with the former noting that local Oregon police departments have been working to “debunk misinformation spreading on social media platforms” regarding the fake claims of forest fires.

Over the past weekend, Facebook, too, began cracking down on the spread of this conspiracy theory online, days before Rogan repeated them on air.

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Originally published: 2020-09-17 17:52:55

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