Via America’s Lawyer: The DOJ’s working on new rules to prevent social media censorship and to remove liability shields for social media companies. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins to discuss more. Then, RT Correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to discuss a Citigroup report which estimates that systemic racism has cost Black Americans $16 trillion over the past 20 years.


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

Mike Papantonio:             The DOJ’s working on new rules to prevent social media censorship and to remove liability shields for social media companies. You know, it’s time, 230 section 230 is a joke. The idea that Google and, well, all the tech companies, you know.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Google, Twitter, Facebook, they can say whatever they want to say and nobody’s going to sue them. So, so the rest of the media can’t do that. You and I can’t do that.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             We’re going to get sued if we say something wrong, but they have this protection that Bill Clinton gave them because Bill Clinton believed, you remember Gore who invented the internet.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             So after Gore’s invention of the internet, Bill Clinton believed it was a good idea to bring them in, that they’re going to help him. Have they helped him?

Farron Cousins:                  Oh God no. But, you know what, Bill Barr who I personally loath, I agree with him on this. I agree, I disagree with why he’s doing it. But I do agree with doing this. We do need to reign in these tech companies and we need to find out why they believe they’re allowed to just censor whoever they want. We need to see the process. If there is hate speech, you know, or hate events that are being organized through their network, sure, they should have the right to take that down. But if it’s just, we don’t like this person’s politics.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. We disagree. They’re too.

Farron Cousins:                  It never, it never ends with just one. It’ll.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  It’ll snowball, and get all of us.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Okay. They’re, they’re too conservative. They’re too sexually explicit. These folks are too religious. These folks are too militant. So an algorithm makes the decision. Some cat with Facebook, Google and Twitter, they sit in a room. They come up with these ridiculous algorithms that have affected us in the past.

Farron Cousins:                  Oh, plenty of times.

Mike Papantonio:             And it affects virtually everybody because some snowflake, I don’t know who, I don’t how else to describe them. I always describe them as snowflake because I can visualize them sitting in a room, oh my God, this statement’s going to hurt somebody’s feelings. And they’re not going to be able to weather that. Where does it end?

Farron Cousins:                  I don’t.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s this cancel, cancel culture is what it is, it’s cancel culture.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And it happens on both the left and the right.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Oh, totally.

Farron Cousins:                  But, but, you know, Bill Barr thinks it’s only Republicans being punished. Trust me, as somebody who’s on the left, we have been punished plenty of times for this. We have been, you know, had our algorithm shifted on Facebook, all kinds of stuff and plenty of independent creators have, but that’s what this is stifling. The only people that benefit from this are the corporate media giants who are also using Facebook.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  And Youtube and Twitter.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. You hit something really important here. Okay. The media giants are now, they’re taking over the whole avenues of Facebook, Google and Twitter. That it’s not just corporate media anymore. Corporate media is now social media.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             So now they get a protection under 230 to say what they can’t say, you know, on the air. But the point is this, if we don’t get under, like Ricky Gervais says, we got to get control of this counter-culture to where we believe that everything that we might say is going to offend somebody. So we don’t take the chance on saying it. I mean, where does that end?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, it has to end with the regulation. You know, this litigation that’s being put forward saying, make it transparent. They’re not even trying really to, to end it. They’re just saying it has to be transparent and I guess reviewable. So when you censor a site, when you ban somebody from Facebook, you have to be able to produce real documents, real time data saying, this is why they were a threat. And I guarantee you, they’re not gonna be able to do that with most of the people that have been censored.

Mike Papantonio:             No, of course they can’t. Not with an algorithm.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Thanks for joining me.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio:             A new report by Citigroup concludes the racism against African-Americans has cost the US $16 trillion over the past 20 years. Brigida Santos is here to talk to me and break this down. You know, Brigida, I saw Rick Sanchez did a story very similar to this on the Hispanic part of this, how the Hispanic community brings so much to our economy and how we’re doing everything we can maybe to interfere with that natural progress. How does this study quantify the economic impact of systemic racism?

Brigida Santos:                   Well, researchers measured four key racial gaps for black Americans, including wages, education, housing and investment. And they concluded that if these key racial gaps had been closed two decades ago, $16 trillion could have been added to the US economy. Now, according to researchers, facilitating easy access to higher education for black students would have increased the lifetime incomes by $90 to $113 billion. Providing fair and equitable lending to black entrepreneurs would have resulted in an estimated $13 trillion in business revenue and created over 6 million jobs every year. Improving access to housing credit would have resulted in an additional 770,000 black homeowners and added $218 billion in sales and expenditures and closing the black wage gap would have added nearly $3 trillion in income. Now, the researchers say that if these racial gaps are closed today, it’s not too late. The US can gain $5 trillion of additional GDP over the next five years. So basically this study finds that racism is expensive and inclusion is financially beneficial for the nation.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, I’d say, as I was saying, Rick Sanchez did a great report on this the other day, and it is the same thing with the Hispanic community. So I guess, what can we do to close that racial gap between black and white or Caucasian and Hispanic? What, what do we do? What can the average American do, if this, if these numbers are right and I don’t have any reason to believe they’re not, if this, if this study is not driven by a, some type of agenda, which I have no reason to believe it is. What can we do?

Brigida Santos:                   Sure. The researchers outlined several key actions to help reduce the racial gap. Now at the government level actions like implementing tax reforms, promoting financial inclusion, decoupling healthcare from employment, implementing housing incentives, investing in wealth building and creating better protections against discrimination are a start. And at the corporate level companies can support diversity and inclusion initiatives from the top, recruit more people of color to corporate boards and dismantle structural barriers to hiring people of different ethnicities. Citigroup says it’s now going to invest $550 million in programs that encourage home ownership for people of color and has also promised to dump $50 million into capital investments for black entrepreneurs. So again, this is just a start, there’s a long way to go. And this is looking at the black community, as you mentioned, there are other ethnic communities that are also costing the, the US money.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, well, I mean, we, we have comparatives don’t we, we can look at other countries. We can look at other settings and see whether this is, whether this is accurate, first of all, whether it’s a viable argument. You know, Citigroup, even though every other month or so, we see, we see them in the news for doing some awful. This is a very, this is a very good move for them. Racism in policing is also costing the US, the Taylor case, we, we look at civil lawsuits, we look at civil lawsuits against the city. We look at civil lawsuits against the state. I mean, so there’s something very tangible here. How much did the city have to pay? How much does it cost taxpayers? That’s, that’s pretty tangible, isn’t it?

Brigida Santos:                   Yeah, absolutely. City officials in Louisville have agreed to pay Breonna Taylor’s family, $12 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit. But of course it’s not city officials who are going to foot the bill, its the taxpayers. In 2019 police misconduct settlements across the nation costs taxpayers over $300 million. That’s a lot of money that could be spent on other programs. Now that’s why there’s a growing support for policies that would require police officers to obtain their own professional liability insurance. That way, if they were to get sued, their insurance provider is the one on the hook for the money rather than taxpayers. And in theory, this would work similarly to car insurance where a driver’s premiums increase with each offense until they’re eventually priced out of driving or in the case of officers until they’re priced out of policing. Now taxpayers and financial institutions, they’re waking up to how much money systemic racism costs, but whether hitting the US in its wallet is enough to change the system remains to be seen. It appears to be enough to get Citigroup to change its ways. So we’ll have to see.

Mike Papantonio:             Citigroup could start off by not ripping off consumers all over America. That would be my first advice for Citigroup. Thank you for joining me. Okay.

Brigida Santos:                   Totally agree. Thanks Mike.

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.