A federal judge has denied the Biden Administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by multiple state Attorneys General, alleging that the administration violated the First Amendment by colluding with social media companies to censor certain topics. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: A federal judge has denied the Biden administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by multiple state attorney generals alleging the administration violated the First Amendment by colluding with social media companies to censor certain topics. Okay. So as I look at this, they got a lot to talk about, don’t they?

Farron Cousins: They really do. And this one is an interesting one for me. I’m actually, I don’t know that there is too much trouble for the Biden administration. It’s gonna come down to how you interpret certain words. But I’m glad it wasn’t dismissed because I do feel this one is important enough that this is something that needs to be hashed out and does need to be discussed. So what we’ve got here is the Biden administration, you know, allegedly 2021 was sending messages to Twitter because Twitter said, we’re gonna throttle covid misinformation. Well, obviously that didn’t happen. So the Biden administration reaches out and says, hey, you told us you were gonna throttle this stuff. We’re seeing, you know, they’re sending Tucker Carlson tweets back to Twitter saying, look right here. Here it is. So does this rise to the level of the government saying, take it down? Or is it just could you tell us what’s going?

Mike Papantonio: It’s kinda like Matt Taibbi in front of Congress. Okay. He laid out, you don’t think he did, I do. I think he laid out a very good case that we have government determining what we can and can’t hear. We did a segment on it. Everybody used to love Matt Taibbi, wrote with, you know, some of the biggest magazines in the country. Very credible writers. His dad, of course is the person that uncovered the worst conduct by the CIA. So Taibbi comes out and he says, this is going on. This is just another story. This is another extension of it. Now, the problem I’m having is we’re seeing even the result of that Taibbi, when he was up there testifying, they sent in the IRS to his house. Did you see the story?

Farron Cousins: I have seen that. Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: They sent the IRS to his house. Unheard of. People don’t show up at people’s, IRS doesn’t show up at people’s houses to somehow ask questions. That’s what they did with Taibbi. So they’re very concerned about this. They’re very concerned about this argument that government is, really the Biden administration, has been censoring the hell outta social media.

Farron Cousins: Well, this is why I say it comes down to the how you interpret and how the courts are going to interpret, or juries, I guess, you know, what certain words mean. Because, who was the one with Taibbi, Shellenger?

Mike Papantonio: Shellenger, yeah.

Farron Cousins: He mentioned, he said, you know, the government requested to take a look at this specific info they were talking about that day.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: And he was asked point blank, said, so a government request in your mind, is that the same as a demand? So he said, yes. I disagree.

Mike Papantonio: Well, it’s.

Farron Cousins: If the government says, does this violate your policy? That’s not the government saying take down the tweet. Now we do, on the other hand, have information that Donald Trump reached out to Twitter while President.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, absolutely.

Farron Cousins: Saying, take down these tweets.

Mike Papantonio: No question.

Farron Cousins: So if we want to go with this lawsuit, they better be careful because it’s gonna open up both ways.

Mike Papantonio: Well, it should go both ways, Farron.

Farron Cousins: It should, yes..

Mike Papantonio: I don’t care if it’s, I don’t care if it’s Trump. I don’t care if it’s Biden. I don’t if it’s Obama. This needs to be stopped.

Farron Cousins: It does. Absolutely.

Mike Papantonio: And people who call themselves progressives that say, oh, that’s okay. There’s a good reason for it. They’re out in La La land if they don’t understand the constitutional threats of what’s going on here. And I don’t care whether it’s Biden, I don’t care it’s Trump. When you do this, you start interfering with the free flow of information that the American public has a right to know.

Farron Cousins: Well, exactly.

Mike Papantonio: And maybe that’s fine for, you know, some snowflake that wants their special space and they don’t want to be bothered by it. But it ain’t okay with me and it shouldn’t be okay with any thinking American that loves democracy.

Farron Cousins: Well, and that’s why I said like, that’s why we have to get down to the heart of what these, what these requests or were they demands? How was it worded?

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: What did they say? Because you’ve obviously, you’ve been involved in plenty of lawsuits. It’s not only what you say, it’s how you say it.

Mike Papantonio: That’s right.

Farron Cousins: And that’s how we have to determine this because if there was coercion, then you’ve got the violation.

Mike Papantonio: The question is what level is coercion? Is it you start asking, you start having the IRS show up at Matt Taibbi’s house and you, is that coercion, when it’s never been done? But after he’s testifying in Congress, the Biden administration sends the freaking IRS to go to his house to intimidate him. Now you see where this goes.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: And, you know, whatever your argument is, I don’t care how progressive, if you are so, if you are so tuned in to your progressive ideology that you don’t understand that this is a problem. I doubt there’s few people watching this program that are more progressive than I am. But I see this, and I’m telling you this is potentially a very big problem when the government starts interfering with the information that we’re entitled to see.

Farron Cousins: Well, and if it of course opens the door for more information coming from Twitter, a report came out two days ago, Elon Musk has personally been working with the government of India to ban certain accounts at the request of the Indian government. I think it’s up to 30 some odd accounts.

Mike Papantonio: There you go.

Farron Cousins: So it’s, there’s horrible things that are just all over with this backend of Twitter.

Mike Papantonio: We might expect it in India. But do we expect in the United States? You see.

Farron Cousins: So that’s why the whole thing needs to be blown open. And that’s been my issue with the Twitter files is we’re only getting little pieces and parts. Blow it all up.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: Let us see every bit of it.

Mike Papantonio: What is the best thing, what’s the best thing that we could do, Farron, as far as really putting this on? I love this lawsuit. This lawsuit is going to go somewhere. I love that. But as far as our way to handle it and manage it right now, what’s the best thing we do?

Farron Cousins: Honestly, it’s letting the suit play out. It’s letting all of this get out there into the open because you’re not gonna get it in a partisan Congress.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: You’re not gonna get it from, you know, the partisan who’s running Twitter. But in the court system, you’re going to get it. I mean, that’s about one of the only places where you’re gonna get all of the facts.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. And these people who need their safe space because gee whizz, I can’t read that. It’s too offensive. We get ’em on our site. They unsubscribe because I say something that offends them. I say something that’s different than their politics. Hell, I don’t care. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out, because we’re gonna say what we need to say and all media should be able to do that. That’s my take on 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.