Via America’s Lawyer: NYT contributor Bari Weiss leaves the publication, blaming the outlet for performative journalism and a hive-mind mentality. Also, a federal judge denies Harvey Weinstein a $25 million settlement and side with accusers. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: New York Times opinion columnist Bari Weiss caused a big stir last week when she suddenly resigned from the paper and accused them of being too woke to function. Joining me to talk about this topic is Farron Cousins, editor of the trial lawyer magazine. You know, I gotta tell you something I’m on her side on this one. It’s just, this, this is becoming so disturbing. I describe, I describe the New York Times right now is a scene out of home alone. The kids are in charge. Experienced editors and journalists are shamed. They’re, they’re harassed if they really try to be journalists. Now she’s got some other issues, but this woman was right. What she wrote about this paper is absolutely correct.

Farron Cousins: Well, you know, Weiss says that the, the opinion board a little too woke for her, and she did accuse them, you know, they, they, they’ve got this young way of thinking. But if you look at the New York Times editorial board for just the editorial, most of these folks are well into their golden years, or they’re almost there. These are not a bunch of young kids. You know, if they’re suffering from woke culture, it’s just, I think decades of experience saying, hey, this is how the world is now. And, you know, maybe, ms. Weiss, wasn’t, you know, evolving enough. But at the same time, the New York Times is garbage. Like she’s right about that. They’re a horrible paper. I just disagree with her on the reasons why.

Mike Papantonio: It’s, it’s become total garbage, Farron.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, you know, I was a journalism major at university of Florida. Very, I was news editing major. It’s a tough major. You gotta work to make it through there. It used to be, we studied the New York Times and we’d say, well, this is how you, I wouldn’t touch this newspaper right now. Look, let’s back up on this story just a little bit. She there’s no question, she had written some material about the rise of antisemitism, right? And they thought the, these, these kids, now you call them what you want. When you really look at who was pushing this agenda, might’ve been some old folks saying yes, because they didn’t want to get harassed. They didn’t want to get bullied. They didn’t want to get intimidated by these home alone kids who are running the damn newspaper and it’s become a train wreck. So, so she she’s talking about the rise of antisemitism and some folks on there say, well, what about Palestine? You know, you’re not treating the Palestinians, right. So they’re critical of her. This mob mentality has taken place at the New York Times. Just like it has in media, across the world right now Farron.

Farron Cousins: Well, Bari Weiss though, on the other hand too, has a bit of thin skin. And she does have a history and this is evident in her Twitter feed, Glenn Greenwald has talked about it ad nauseum, anytime somebody criticizes her criticizes a point she makes, she immediately goes to that you’re an anti-Semite. That is her fallback argument. She can’t substantively argue her points.

Mike Papantonio: I agree with that. I agree with that.

Farron Cousins: Which is a drawback. But again, at the same time, part of what makes these editorial boards great is that they present differing opinions. And if you don’t like what one of them wrote, somebody’s going to come along and write a counterpoint to it. That’s the point of this part of the paper.

Mike Papantonio: You, you, you, you had a great education.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: You, you really did. You had a really solid education. Matter of fact, you came to work with me when you were what, 22, 21.

Farron Cousins: 21, yeah.

Mike Papantonio: 21 years old. And I recognized back then you had a great solid education, and I’m sure you studied John Stuart Mills, just like I did. And John Stuart Mills, who wrote the most important book on Liberty said this, that he wouldn’t even call it group think back then. But he said, there’s a really, the, democracy relies on rich diversity. So you may not agree with him. You have a right to shout, but you don’t have a right to shout them down and saying, you can’t say this. What we’ve become is this group, I mean, we’re social intolerance. We were handcuffing the truth. We, we, what what’s we, we can’t even adapt, we can’t even adapt to a new idea that’s thrown out. And I saw a great article, great article that I think summed it up. A lot of these kids coming through journalism school, and now they’re out in what I call them social media journalists is what they are. That’s what, they’re social media journalists.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: And so these social media journalists, a lot of them didn’t even study civics. They didn’t study constitutional law to even understand the importance of the first amendment. Take, I mean, you do. You’re the exception. You came up with that same generation man.

Farron Cousins: Right. And I think the best example of that, which actually Bari Weiss talks about is the recent op-ed in New York times by Tom Cotton. Tom Cotton puts out this horrendous op-ed says, let’s send the military to take out the protesters. It was horrible. It was absolutely against what this country and constitution says is okay. But it was important to put it out there. A lot of people on the left, a lot of my friends and colleagues furious that it was out there, but that’s the point of it. It gets people talking. It gets people thinking. And even if you disagree with it, it shows you what those other people are thinking. And to be honest, puts into perspective how extreme some of them can be.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, we’re gonna.

Farron Cousins: And we need that. We need discussion.

Mike Papantonio: We’re going stay, we’re going to stay on this topic a little longer and here it, here’s, here’s my take on it. When we get to the point where you have a bunch of intolerant kids who really don’t understand the importance of constitutional rights, they don’t understand how dangerous it is. Look they, maybe they didn’t read animal farm.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Maybe they didn’t read it. Maybe they didn’t read 1984. Maybe somebody in school never said, here’s the dangers with, with you not permitting somebody to say something, even though you disagree with it. And I don’t know how you jumped through it, man. I, I’m always fascinated, I keep coming back to you, because I’m always fascinated. You came out of it. You know, when, when you came to work with me, I recognized, well, you know, you, you call balls and strikes. These kids can’t even call balls and strikes. The New York Times has become garbage because we can’t read it without suspecting that it’s being driven by ideology. Okay. It’s ideological trash. It’s not news reporting.

Farron Cousins: Right. And look, I disagree with most of what Bari Weiss has had to say. I don’t even think she’s being forthcoming in why she resigned. I think there’s something else there. She is not underprivileged. She charges $50,000 to go out and give a speech. She is not being silenced. But there are legitimate concerns with the New York Times like we have discussed because we’ve discussed the New York Times being trash for years. I mean, goes back to the Yaz story that they wouldn’t print.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, exactly. Exactly.

Farron Cousins: And, you know, like Donald Trump says, the media is horrible. Well, it is. But not for the reasons you say and that’s how I feel with Bari Weiss. Yeah, the paper is bad.

Mike Papantonio: Well, one other thing, you know, I’m a fan of Green, of Glenn Greenwald. I like Glenn Greenwald. I like him. But when I looked at the Lee Fang story.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: When I saw what they did to Lee Fang, some itty bitty brain, some, one of his or his coworkers with an itty bitty brain was offended by some nonsense. He didn’t, I read it. It was nothing, but she was offended about it because it’s like these kids grow up with and they start believing that the bumper stickers on back of their car, that mom and pop put on the back of their car saying, my kid’s really bright. My kid’s exceptional. They grow up with that. And unfortunately it’s made their, it’s just, it’s made them not into objective thinkers, not into journalists, but as into pathetic ideologues.

Farron Cousins: Right. Well, and they also, they do kind of have this, you know, this isn’t just limited to them. It’s, it’s a lot of people, not just that generation, either. They have an undeserved, an unearned sense of I’m the best at what it is I, you know, you do have to earn, arrogance has to be earned. And these folks just haven’t earned it yet.

Mike Papantonio: Yes, yes.

Mike Papantonio: A judge last week throughout a proposed settlement for Harvey Weinstein’s victims and thank goodness he did. Well, you know, I gotta tell you, as you know, I have always fought, I don’t do class actions. I handle mass tort cases, but I do trial, I go to trial and I actually try cases for people. Class actions have become a device that corporations use. They’ll go hire some bottom feeding lawyer. Okay. This bottom feeding lawyer will file a class action and all the while they’re negotiating with the bottom feeding lawyer to work out this sweetheart deal. The Weinstein case reminds me a lot of that.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, absolutely. The, the class action they wanted to put together 25 million, for God knows how many victims of this man, but it also included people who were never technically victimized. You know, if you were a woman and you worked for Harvey Weinstein in any capacity, you suddenly became eligible for this. And by the way, 12 million for Weinstein’s lawyers and their legal fee.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Talk about that.

Farron Cousins: That is insane.

Mike Papantonio: It’s, it’s disgusting. It’s nauseated. Talk about it.

Farron Cousins: Well, it makes you wonder whose side that lawyer actually was on because you don’t negotiate as part of a class action settlement fees for the other person’s attorneys, especially not to the tune of $12 million, half the settlement was for him.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. So, so the attorney’s freaked out because the Weinstein organization declared bankrupt. Okay. We see it all the time.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: But here’s how it really works. Just because they go into bankruptcy, into reorganization, doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have royalties coming in from all of those movies for years and years and years. So there’s more money there. And these people have a better shot, honest to God. They have a better shot making a bankruptcy claim that’ll be going on for a long time than they would with this deal that they tried to cram down these people’s throat. This judge, I really love this judge. What is, what is his name?

Farron Cousins: Alvin Hellerstein.

Mike Papantonio: I, I love this guy. He started asking tough questions. He said, wait a second, wait a second. First of all, how do you treat a woman who’s been raped the same way as somebody, you know, somebody who has just been a victim? Maybe been verbally abused, but that’s different from a rape. And so he starts looking at this, this is a garbage settlement, is what, you know, basically what he said.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, you, you can’t the class, the whole point of a class is that everybody has a identical or at least very, very similar injury.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: And there is a world of difference between a rape and somebody who witnessed a woman get verbally harassed. Because that’s what some of these were. They weren’t even themselves harassed, but they did witness harassment. Those are not the same. And the judge pointed that out very clearly. He said, there are different classes here, but you cannot put them all together. But I think it was, it was a lot of the 12 million for Weinstein and his lawyers that the judge said this, this doesn’t even make sense.

Mike Papantonio: Sometimes. Okay. First of all, there’s, there’s about a hundred women involved in all this. Very, you know, this, this pig, absolute utter pig Weinstein, victimized more than a hundred women in one form one way or another. And so this judge I think sees, he looks at this, at this agreement and he says, wait a second, this looks an awful lot like it’s being driven by the insurance company. It looks like you’re willing to cave in because the insurance company’s pay you whatever the deal is on, not the 12 million, but whatever the deal is in addition to that fees wise for the lawyers and we’re seeing this more and more Farron. We’re seeing it with a corporation. We saw it with the Roundup case, you know, with the Roundup case was, was virtually over and we saw, you know, some, some things take place that were kind of suspect. Farron Cousins, thank you for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.