Victims of human trafficking were identified during a major prostitution sting in Florida recently. Also, a new survey has found that Americans’ trust in the media is at an all time low. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.

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

Mike Papantonio:             Victims of human trafficking were identified during a major prostitution sting in Florida recently. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about it. I saw this story, I don’t know that it’s a human trafficking story. It’s more, you know, they arrested, they arrested a lot of working girls. They arrested a lot of Johns. And of course, in there they found that a couple of them were involved in trafficking, which is very typical. I mean, I just, just wrote a book, Inhuman Trafficking and I, I put, I took part of the time to talk about the connection. There is a connection, but this, this headline that came out of WFLA, it’s just not, just not, it’s not correct.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. I, I feel like the local media down there in Polk county where this happened, tried to hype it up to be something much bigger than it actually was.

Mike Papantonio:             I wondered if it was a DeSantis effort, you know.

Farron Cousins:                  Possibly because, you know, yeah they, they’ve identified at least two human trafficking victims, which is wonderful that they have now, you know, gotten these girls. They think there could be several more among the individuals they’ve arrested, which again is, is great. But I think a lot of what this is, and based on the, the sheriffs involved kind of gave a lot of snarky, sarcastic remarks in their press conference, making fun of the people they arrested.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  It doesn’t seem like a very serious event.

Mike Papantonio:             It was, it wasn’t.

Farron Cousins:                  They weren’t serious people.

Mike Papantonio:             It was like they were proclaiming victory on human trafficking and it’s not. Look, if you wanna proclaim human trafficking in any kind of victory, you’ve gotta really trace the money to Wall Street. You know, we, we’re involved in handling those cases as you know. And what we have figured out is a lot of the real organized traffickers they literally get their money from Wall Street. So we’ve started bringing Wall Street into those cases. But, you know, Farron, what about the characters that, I mean, school teachers and Disney employees and police chiefs that were caught up in this. Talk about it.

Farron Cousins:                  You had police chiefs and police officers, not just from Florida, they had some that were coming down from Georgia, to get some Florida prostitutes, I guess.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Two people, one who was a contract photographer with Disney, he got busted. One of them works in a Disney hotel. He was busted. Several teachers also got busted approaching, you know, these undercover officers as part of this, they call it the Fall Haul.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  They do it pretty much every year to, to catch the Johns. But, two teachers, one of whom I guess, was trying to offer ’em a bag of Sour Skittles.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  In addition to a little bit of cash.

Mike Papantonio:             Come here little girl, I’ve got some Skittles and some cash for you.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and speaking of that, that’s actually one of the terrifying things because one of the individuals they did catch.

Mike Papantonio:             15.

Farron Cousins:                  Was out on bail. Yeah, because he had allegedly been with a 15 year old girl.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  So you had somebody who was accused of predatory behavior out there free engaging in this kind of behavior again. And that of course is a very terrifying thing to think of.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, look, you know, I, I look at a story like this and really the thing that really concerns me the most is, is human trafficking, but I don’t think they accomplished that here. All they, they, they arrested some working girls and they addressed, you know, arrested some Johns. And I guess they do this every year, did you say? This is like the Fall, what’s it called?

Farron Cousins:                  The Fall Haul.

Mike Papantonio:             The Fall.

Farron Cousins:                  They even have a name of it. And then they make a big spectacle of it. But look, if you found the victims of human trafficking, that is now where the investigation has to go.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. That’s a victory.

Farron Cousins:                  You don’t get to do your press conference and then say, we’re done. You now have identified a problem and you’ve got to follow it.

Mike Papantonio:             You know, we have a couple of, we have a lawyer here that was, that was trafficked at 14. She made it out of there by the time she was 17, went on and got her, her, her MBA at UCLA and then got her JD at, at UCLA and the stories that she tells about law enforcement’s inability to even understand what happens in trafficking. She says most of the time when she was on the street, they would figure out ways to arrest her rather than, she would tell this story, well, you know, here’s where I’m living. They would do nothing about that because there’s just such a, there’s such an impasse where it comes to their understanding of really how human trafficking takes place. But anyway, Fall, every.

Farron Cousins:                  The Fall Haul.

Mike Papantonio:             The Fall Haul. Okay.

Mike Papantonio:             A new study has found that Americans trust in the media is at an all time low. These numbers are terrifying to me. When I look at the, the, the, the way that the American public regards corporate media. Okay. Take it from there.

Farron Cousins:                  It’s obviously, you know, what do we have like 35% total that trust the media at all.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  At any little bit.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  So huge majority says absolutely do not trust the media. But then when you break it down by party, this is what is stupid to me.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s crazy.

Farron Cousins:                  70% of Democrats say, no, no, no. We trust the media.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  And then you have, what is it?

Mike Papantonio:             12%, or is it, 12, 18?

Farron Cousins:                  14% of Republicans say they trust it. So you’ve got 86% of Republicans say, no, we can’t trust the media. And they’re the ones consuming the most irresponsible media.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But 70% of Democrats trusting it, that, that’s concerning because media’s not trustworthy right now.

Mike Papantonio:             This article was done by Gallop, and there’s, there’s several articles that talk about this issue.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             And when you look at the way they characterize it, it is that Democrats are attracted to polarized politics. It’s like you and I talked about earlier in the show, that Democrats want to hear what they want to hear, whether it’s journalism or not, they want to hear it. Republicans are the same way, but Republicans have a different attitude about this. They think that the media has become so dysfunctional that there has to be a complete sweep to redo it. But I mean, as I look at this story, the thing that scares me is corporate media now is figuring out we need to move into social media. How’s that affecting shows like ours or Sam Seder or, you know, David Pakman or TYT, how’s it affect us?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, what’s happened, and this is something you and I had actually talked about a couple years ago, I think, is that you’re seeing sites like YouTube push more corporate media, more videos from CNN and MSNBC and Fox News instead of pushing with their algorithms, independent outlets like what we have and Sam and Pakman and everybody else. So we get pushed back, you know, the, the views start to decrease a little bit. The engagement goes down and it’s all because we are not being pushed as much.

Mike Papantonio:             We’re being throttled back, Farron.

Farron Cousins:                  A little. Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, I mean, we’re gonna talk a story in a minute here where we’re being throttled back and that’s happening with government. It’s happening with corporates that don’t like what we have to say. But if you go to the segment, let’s take any one of your segments that you do. It could be a segment that is, it’s, it’s so specific. It’s there, nobody else is talking about that particular segment. Look over to the right where they have listed all of the related stories. They’re completely, utterly unrelated.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             They are MSNBC talking about, if you’re talking about Mars, they’re talking about Venus. It’s, it’s CNN. It’s, it’s ABC, CBS, it’s all of them because they now are trying to, to do the same thing to social media that they’ve done to corporate media.

Farron Cousins:                  And, and they’re, they’re also trying to pass a law that would make it easier for them to have this consortium.

Mike Papantonio:             Right.

Farron Cousins:                  That basically works with the social media sites to throttle back independent news and push the corporate news.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Look, you, you own Gallup. Okay. I mean, excuse me. You, you, let, let’s say you own a, any one of the sites. Pick, pick one. Financially, you do better if you can get MSNBC and CNN and all of the corporates to keep pumping money. That’s all it’s about.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             Your story becomes irrelevant, Farron, the great stories you do. I mean, you do exceptional stories every day. But if I look at your story next to the, to CNN, MSNBC, you gotta go 20 stories down before we see anything happen to do with the Ring of Fire again or Sam Seder or David Pakman or TYT, they’re trying to make us disappear because it’s all about money.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah, it is. And that I think is why it bothers me when you see the 70% number of 70% Democrats saying, no, we trust the media.

Mike Papantonio:             Oh, I know.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, well you shouldn’t. Listen, the media’s not outright lying to you. And I, I think that’s a different, well, depends.

Mike Papantonio:             I don’t know. Farron, I.

Farron Cousins:                  It depends on your outlet. Sure.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But the issues we’ve always had with the media is the corporate influence, the censoring of the stories.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  The not telling you the whole truth.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, it was just like the Newsweek story that we just did. Okay.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Newsweek.

Farron Cousins:                  It’s true. But it’s also, you’re missing so much context.

Mike Papantonio:             Right. You would have to read behind to understand that Newsweek basically hustled you on that story, to make it sound like the Saudis had just bought into Twitter. Well, no, that was absolutely incorrect. But that’s the way this is all being shifted. So somebody who, you know, we’re gonna say stuff corporate media doesn’t say, and we got the whinnies who say, I can’t believe you said that because I don’t want to hear it. It hurts my feelings that you said the Democrats, for example, are getting their butt kicked, hurts my feelings, and they get mad at us. That’s what social media should be doing because nobody else is doing.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

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.