The Supreme Court has the power to break the internet as they consider a challenge to rules that protect internet service providers from liability. But the case could kill non-traditional media outlets, like Tik Tok and YouTube, depending on the outcome. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: The Supreme Court has the power, finally the power to break the internet as they consider a challenge. And this is an important challenge. It’s an, it’s an important challenge to, to TikTok. It’s an important challenge to Facebook and, and it really across the board, because if the Supreme Court does what they’re supposed to do, what they should do, they’re gonna say this thing called 230 that, that they don’t have liability. There’s no liability as far as the way they control the content on their site. This could go really bad for the, for the, for the folks. The problem is, the guy who made the argument was a moron. I mean, that’s the only, Eric Schnapper. This is some professor that they have arguing on behalf of we need to do away with 230. And the, my lawyers who watched the argument, who I talked to, said it was the equivalent of a first year law student being called on for the first time in a contracts class. It was babble. It was meaningless. So bad that the court said, what the hell, what are you talking about, Mr. Schnapper? Eric Schnapper, what an embarrassment.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. The judges, both the liberal and conservative justices had to repeatedly say, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. We don’t even understand what you are saying. But listen, section 230, I’m, I’m very torn on it because to one degree, especially in this particular case, which is social media, these terrorists were allowed to conspire and they planned an attack and it killed somebody. Things like that, we absolutely have to work on and get these social media giants accountable for that happening. The flip side of it is that these social media giants, if we kill section 230 altogether, are now liable for everything on their platforms.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. Now let, let me, let me mention that. Let me mention something you, you and I usually agree on 99.9%. I, my position on this, because I’m handling cases where I’m seeing children trafficked. Okay. I’m seeing suicides that are taking place. I’m seeing murders that are taking place. And when you back up and see where it’s coming from, a lot of it’s coming from, a lot of it’s coming from the impressions and the push and the ideas that are coming from the internet. Now, the way I see it, we came up with 230 when the internet was emerging, Farron.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: When it was just getting a start, we needed to innovate. Now they’re making so much money they’re saying, we don’t wanna spend any money improving our system. That’s what this is about.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:: That’s what this is about. We don’t wanna spend any more manpower. We don’t want to build any more technology because it’s gonna cost, it’s a corporate analysis and we treat ’em differently. I, I am all for doing away with 230. Based on this guy’s argument though, I don’t think you have a chance.

Farron Cousins: Well see, my take on it and to borrow the phrase from Obama, instead of taking a hatchet to it, we need to be taking the scalpel. Because what this will do, say for example, and this, you know, very close to home, if YouTube suddenly is liable for all of the content on their website. Who does that kill? That kills independent creators.

Mike Papantonio: Good point.

Farron Cousins: Because suddenly if, if I say something that might be incorrect, not only could I get sued for slander, but YouTube, as the host of it, opens themselves up to also be sued.

Mike Papantonio: So they’re going to, they’re gonna rail you back.

Farron Cousins: They will kill my channel.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Okay.

Farron Cousins: In a heartbeat. So that’s what worries me. But that’s why I say we need 230 to protect the independent media creators.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: We have to get rid of the part of 230 that says you can let terrorists conspire on your platform all day.

Mike Papantonio: Traffickers.

Farron Cousins: Exactly.

Mike Papantonio: You know.

Farron Cousins: And so, it, if the court is smart, what they may do is send it back down to the lower courts who might then be able to dismantle 230 to a degree. And that’s what we need. We don’t need all of it gone. We need a lot of it gone.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: But it just needs to be rewritten for modern times, really.

Mike Papantonio: Well, yeah. I mean it is, it, that’s the issue. And we’re, this is years and decades away from where this all started. It was, when it first started, I thought, okay, well I see giving ’em some, some protection. Now they’re making so much money, they don’t wanna spend a dime creating a system that they can avoid this kind of thing. Well here, you know, Democrats in their mind 230 promotes misinformation and hate speech. That’s the Democrat side of it. Republican side is 230 allows the, the beating down of conservative opinion. So here’s the point. You’re not gonna get, you’re not gonna get a decision from Congress, right?

Farron Cousins:: Right.

Mike Papantonio: It’s up to the Supreme Court right now. And the, and I’m hoping that these folks have good clerks because the babble that this Schnapper presented, when, when my lawyers are saying, what the hell, what is he talking about? He missed the whole point. And it was so bad the Supreme Court justices said, sir, we don’t know what’s, we don’t know what’s coming out of your mouth right now. We don’t even know what you’re saying. Where he came from, I have no idea. One of the most important cases in the country right now and this cat’s up there arguing it.

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.