August 30, 2022

Green Bay Packers star quarterback and NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers admitted to something that we already knew: He “misled” the media and the public last year about his COVID-19 vaccination status.

In August 2021, Rodgers was asked in a press conference if he was vaccinated. He said, “Yeah, I’ve been immunized.”

But speaking this past weekend on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Rodgers said he “misled” the media.

Not only did he mislead the media, it was his intent to mislead them.

He told Rogan, “I’d been ready the entire time for this question and had thought about how I wanted to answer it. And I had come to the conclusion (that) I’m gonna say, ‘I’ve been immunized.’ And if there’s a follow-up, then talk about my process. But, (I) thought there’s a possibility that I say ‘I’m immunized,’ maybe they understand what that means, maybe they don’t.

Maybe they follow up. They didn’t follow up. So then I go the season (with) them thinking, some of them, that I was vaccinated.”

Of course they thought that because the first word out of his mouth when asked if was vaccinated was “yeah.”

Rodgers has said that he didn’t get vaccinated because of allergies to one of the ingredients in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. And, he said, he didn’t get the Johnson & Johnson shot because it had been briefly pulled out of concerns about blood clots. He told Rogan he used a “protocol” that was a “couple month process of taking a diluted strand of the virus.” With that, he considered himself “immunized.”

When pressed on how that works, Rodgers said he took it “orally” and when Rogan asked how “they” can even get a diluted strand of the virus, Rodgers said, “I don’t know that exactly or want to get into that exactly.”

But yet he put it in his body. Then deemed himself “immunized.”

Three months after telling the media he was “immunized,” Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and was fined by the Packers for breaking protocol by attending a Halloween party with vaccinated teammates. He also broke NFL protocol — and potentially put those around him at risk — by appearing in press conferences without a mask while unvaccinated.

He told Rogan, “I knew at some point if I contracted COVID or if word got out, because it’s the NFL and there’s leaks everywhere, it was possible I’d have to answer the questions. And that’s when the (expletive) storm hit, because now I’m a liar, I’m endangering the community, my teammates, all these people. And then, you know, (the) attempted takedown of me and, you know, my word and my integrity began.”

That last part about “attempted takedown” makes it seem like he’s still blaming the media even after he flat-out lied to them about his vaccination status and then was called out on it. Not only did he lie about his status, he ignored protocols put in place for those who chose not to be vaccinated — something that was not talked about on the Rogan podcast. He also seemed to blame the media for not asking better follow-up questions.

From the beginning, Rodgers could have simply told the truth and said he was not vaccinated and had no plans to get vaccinated. Other players around the NFL did that, and then followed protocols set up for unvaccinated players. Instead, he played word games. Rodgers, it would appear, was more worried about public perception than simply being honest.

I’m not sure anyone should be getting COVID-19 advice from listening to Joe Rogan talk to Aaron Rodgers. But millions of people listen to Rogan, so there’s no denying that he has a dedicated audience.

Deadspin’s Stephen Knox wrote, “For those, who like me, remember those simple pothead discussions of decades past, this podcast is at times a fun listen. Still, while enjoyable, it’s littered with misinformation. That misinformation doesn’t matter while watching a rerun of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis playing hard to get with each other, but when making a judgment on how to deal with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, one would hope two influential personalities would speak just a little bit more responsibly.”

Speaking of misinformation

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a conservative conference earlier this month. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

It’s already the end of August 2022 and President Donald Trump is still demanding that the country has a do-over of the 2020 presidential election. Trump took to his personal social media site — Truth Social — on Monday and said that the FBI “BURIED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY BEFORE THE ELECTION knowing that, if they didn’t, ‘Trump would have easily won the 2020 Presidential Election.’”

Trump then added he should be declared the winner or, at the very least, “declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!”

False claims about how Trump was robbed of the 2020 election continue to spread throughout a sizable chunk of the Republican Party and many GOP candidates who have openly pushed forth such lies are nominees for public offices in the midterm elections.

That brings me to the headline in an analysis piece from The Washington Post’s Maggie Macdonald and Megan A. Brown: “Republicans are increasingly sharing misinformation, research finds.”

Their analysis showed that “politicians in the 2022 election are sharing more links to unreliable news sources than they did in 2020, and the increase appears to be driven by nonincumbent Republican candidates.”

After describing their methodology, Macdonald and Brown wrote, “From January to July 2022, on average each day, 36 percent of news that Republican candidates shared came from unreliable sites, while that was true for only 2 percent of news shared by Democratic candidates each day.”

And who is the worst offender? Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The Post story said, “As of July 12, 2022, she has shared 849 links to unreliable sources, out of 853 total, for more than 99 percent of her shared sources this year. Palin mostly shares blog posts from her own website, which NewsGuard rates as unreliable. The next closest is Rob Cornicelli, a Republican running in New York, who has shared 88 links to unreliable sources, or 65 percent of his total.”

In fact, Palin really impacts the study. Without her, Republican congressional candidates shared news from unreliable sources 12% of the time.

The story also noted, “Without including Palin’s averages, Republican nonincumbents share about 14 percent of their news from unreliable sources, compared to about 6 percent from incumbent Republicans.”

On that topic …

What might the ramifications be of electing an election denier? Politico’s Zach Montellaro writes, “Atop the list of the most disruptive things they could do is refusing to certify accurate election results — a nearly unprecedented step that would set off litigation in state and federal court. That has already played out on a smaller scale this year, when a small county in New Mexico refused to certify election results over unfounded fears about election machines, until a state court ordered them to certify.”

Montellaro goes on to write that a greater impact might be ultimately changing the voting rules of future elections. He writes, “And even if they cannot push through major changes to state law using allies in the legislatures, they could still complicate and frustrate elections through the regulatory directives that guide the day-to-day execution of election procedures by county officials in their states. That could include things from targeting the use of ballot tabulation machines, which have become the subject of conspiracy theories on the right, to changing forms used for voter registration or absentee ballot requests in ways that make them more difficult to use.”

There’s more to Montellaro’s story, so be sure to check it out.

Scary news of the day

There was plenty of news Monday — Trump news and the latest from Ukraine and NASA calling off the launch of the Artemis I moon rocket because of an engine issue.

But here’s a headline from The Associated Press that will make you go … WHAT?!:

“‘Zombie ice’ from Greenland will raise sea level 10 inches.”

I lost it at “zombie ice.”

A study from Nature Climate Change projects that 3.3% of the Greenland ice sheet — about 110 trillion tons of ice — will melt. That will trigger a global sea level rise by at least 10 inches.

So my immediate thought was, “When? This week?”

Actually, the study says it will play out between now and the year 2100. Still, scary stuff.

The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney writes, “The predictions are more dire than other forecasts, though they use different assumptions. … One reason that new research appears worse than other findings may just be that it is simpler. It tries to calculate how much ice Greenland must lose as it recalibrates to a warmer climate. In contrast, sophisticated computer simulations of how the ice sheet will behave under future scenarios for global emissions have produced less alarming predictions.”

What does this all mean if this actually happens?

Mooney adds, “A one-foot rise in global sea levels would have severe consequences. If the sea level along the U.S. coasts rose by an average of 10 to 12 inches by 2050, a recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found, the most destructive floods would take place five times as often, and moderate floods would become 10 times as frequent. Other countries — low-lying island nations and developing ones, like Bangladesh — are even more vulnerable. These nations, which have done little to fuel the higher temperatures that are now thawing the Greenland ice sheet, lack the billions of dollars it will take to adapt to rising seas.”

So why bring this up in a media newsletter? Mostly to applaud the urgency with which it was treated by the AP and The Washington Post — which made it the lead story on their websites for part of the day on Monday. It’s critical that news outlets continue to push the urgency of climate change and stories.

And that they do so even on busy news days.

Media tidbits

(Courtesy: NBC News)

Hot type

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

More resources for journalists

The Poynter Report is our daily media newsletter. To have it delivered to your inbox Monday-Friday, sign up here.

Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
Tom Jones

More News

Back to News