As censorship and secrecy rise, so do conspiracy theories

Kent Kroeger
6 min readSep 15, 2022

By Kent R. Kroeger (September 15, 2022)

Graphic by Cristina Canciani

Disclaimer: The following essay is not intended to endorse or promote any of the conspiracy theories mentioned herein.

The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) was the most watched podcast on Spotify in 2021, reports Variety, and appears to be the most watched podcast across platforms in 2022.

Arguably, JRE reaches 11 million viewers per episode.

By comparison, the most popular cable TV news show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, garners between 2 and 4 million viewers per episode.

So when Rogan talks, millions of people listen. Perhaps only the U.S. president can get more attention on demand.

And while I remain a loyal JRE viewer, occasionally I cringe when Rogan speaks conspiracy theory nonsense. I forgave him years ago for once believing the moon landings were staged, but from all appearances he remains open to a belief that the 9/11 attacks were more than just an al Qaeda operation.

In particular, two years ago he helped sustain (while cagily showing skepticism towards) one of the most pernicious conspiracy theories still circulating in the cybersphere: that the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers were motivated by an attempt to coverup Pentagon financial malfeasance.

“The day before the 9/11 attacks, Rumsfeld gave a press conference where he talked about trillions of dollars missing. The next day a plane slams into the very part of the building where they were doing the accounting,” Rogan told his audience.

So what was Rogan implying? It’s rather obvious.

There is this indisputable fact: The day prior to the 9/11 attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave a press conference announcing the results of a September 21, 2001 U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General report (DoD-IG) which reported $2.3 trillion could not be adequately accounted for in DoD budgets.

Sometimes coincidences are just that…coincidences. That is one of reality’s laws that statistics repeatedly confirms.

Conspiracy theories are built on coincidences that reinforce pre-existing biases and narratives. If you believe the…

Kent Kroeger

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at: