The state of Indiana is suing popular social media app TikTok for endangering children. Also, lobbyists have found a new way to outsmart politicians and get them to attend their corporate events. 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 state of Indiana is suing popular social media app TikTok for endangering children. Wow. There’s something to this story.

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. As you know, I handle, I handle sex trafficking all over the country. Matter of fact, I just gave a speech in London about it two weeks ago because it’s become such a problem in London. So, as I look at this story, if we’re sitting here believing that what China is doing with, with TikTok is benevolent. That hey, we’re just looking at the business aspect of it. There is some really good information that tells us they know exactly what’s going on with human trafficking and sex trafficking.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. A hundred percent. And, and this lawsuit specifically, it, it doesn’t get into those issues. I, I think as it progresses, they’re finally gonna.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, that’s, that’s where it’s going now.

Farron Cousins: But, but they kind of did a little superficial, like, hey, you’re, you’re exposing them to mature content and, uh, you’re stealing their data.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: Which is a huge problem in and of itself. But you’re right, the bigger issues are the ones that are gonna come out and hopefully, I, I think maybe this lawsuit was filed the way it was to get to the discovery point.

Mike Papantonio: It is.

Farron Cousins: To be able to get their hands on that.

Mike Papantonio: This is that first step.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: I can tell you this is, it’s, it’s, you’re gonna see states do this. The DOJ is, does what the DOJ does, just like the opioid crisis. They have to be pushed and cajoled and beat over the head and say, and shamed to do anything. Back, back to the tobacco case that we’ve started, the opioid case that we started, 87 pharmaceutical cases that we have started in this law firm, every time we go to the DOJ and say, look, here it is. PFAS, here, here it is, it’s all here for you. Go prosecute somebody. They don’t have the guts to do it. The, I don’t know whether it’s a lack of talent. What I’m reading right now is it potentially is a lack of talent. But the states can be more effective on this. There’s already three states that are already going after TikTok, and you’ve got the government at least saying you can’t use this pro, you can’t use TikTok on our government sites. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Alabama just a couple days ago, became the most recent state to, to join in on that. And we’re already, you know, it’s great that Indiana’s filed this lawsuit, but we’re already so behind Europe.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, completely. Explain. Explain that. People don’t understand what you just said, but that’s very true.

Farron Cousins: You have countries all across Europe, the, you know, the United Kingdom kind of leading the way. They’ve been sounding the alarm about TikTok.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: They have been doing these investigations. They’re already in the process of preparing, I think the $29 million fine.

Mike Papantonio: Mm-hmm.

Farron Cousins: On these companies for what they’re doing to children and what they’re exposing them to. And we are just at the point where we’re saying, okay, well, we’re gonna now launch investigations. They’re concluding theirs and we’re just launching ours.

Mike Papantonio: Farron, here’s what they’re concluding that scares us, scares the hell outta me. They’re concluding that they’re using the child’s contact with TikTok to get into the parent’s systems. They even have it, come on parent, sign up with your child so you know what you’re doing.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: What that leads to is they’re getting into the entire household. All of the information in the entire household now becomes at the, at the fingertips of China. Not only that, but there’s, there’s, there’s so much material showing that what they’re showing in America, they’re not allowed to show in China where it comes to children. You can’t show the caliber of things you’re showing in, in the US or Canada or South America. You can’t show that in China because they know it has some really destructive and very dangerous possibilities. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah, absolutely. And again, Europe leading the way on this. They’ve, they’ve led the way on so many social media sites. Facebook, they’re going hard as hell. Ireland.

Mike Papantonio: Ireland. Tell, tell us that story. We just did this story, but Ireland said, look US, if you’re not gonna do anything about it, we are, because this is bad stuff.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. One, once again, the same kind of thing. The data theft. The, the monopolization of these companies. Regulators in Europe say, look, this isn’t gonna fly. You may be based in the US, you’re doing business here, we have much stricter rules and by God, we’re gonna enforce ’em. I mean, we have the same rules here in the US. We just don’t ever enforce ’em. So it, it’s interesting to see that the US is always having to play catch up to what the regulators over there are doing.

Mike Papantonio: What, what is it with the Department of Justice? Give me your take. Did, have you seen the movie Dope stick?

Farron Cousins: Not yet.

Mike Papantonio: Dopesick.

Farron Cousins: Not yet.

Mike Papantonio: Dopesick. We’re gonna do a segment on it. It, when you watch this, you will be horrified about how the Department of Justice put limitations on some very good US attorneys who were doing their job. Had, had you, had the Department of Justice done their job, we would’ve made the, the problem go away. I, I just, our, you know, as you know, I’m handling that case. We just settled another one with CVS. We’ve settled now with, we’ve settled with AmerisourceBergen. We’ve settled with McKesson. We’ve settled with Cardinal. We’ve settled with some of the biggest distributors in the country. But because of the, the conduct of the Department of Justice, the Sacklers are still running free with billions of dollars all over this country. So I, I really recommend that you take a look at Dopesick to understand why we can’t count on government doing anything where it comes to important issues like TikTok.

Farron Cousins: Yep.

Mike Papantonio: It’s a really, really informative.

Mike Papantonio: Lobbyists have found a new way to outsmart politicians and get them to attend their new lobbyists corporate events. Okay. Farron, why don’t you lay this one out.

Farron Cousins: What’s happening here is that, well, I think the best way to put it as the, as the Intercept, Intercept said, they’re exploiting the appetite for virtue signaling, is what these lobbyists are doing. So they put together these events and they say, hey, Democratic lawmakers, we’ve got this diversity gala tonight. We would love for you to come because we’re celebrating how, you know, the new diversity of the new Congress.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: You know, we want your, your black lawmakers, your Latino lawmakers, we want you all to come in and be part of this inclusion. And then as soon as they say, well of course I have to go to to this, I have to be seen going to the diversity event.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And basically then you’re locked in a room with lobbyists for four or five hours and they’re pitching you on. I mean, we got the list of the companies here. JP Morgan, MasterCard, Exxon, Apple, Airbnb, Toyota ,Reynolds, which is tobacco.

Mike Papantonio: Target, Walgreens, Amgen, Google,

Farron Cousins: All of the big pharma, big business, all of ’em.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. But again, it’s the same thing we talked about in the other story. Right? The new love speak. The love speak for woke America. The love speak is like we talked about in the union case, you know, don’t fire, you know, don’t, don’t start a union. You’re gonna put poor Joe out of a job here. He’s going to school. He needs the money. We’re all one big family. Can’t we just, can’t we just embrace and have a kumbaya moment. This is the same thing. Okay. While they have the, while they have the LGBT groups, while they have the Black Woman’s Caucus there, while they have these diverse folks there that are all doing their job in their world, and it’s important work, we have these folks that are price fixing. They’re price gouging. Their anti-labor action underway. Their consumer espionage underway. They have consumer fraud. Almost every week you hear another one about one of these banks that’s ripping people off. These are the people that are coming in with this new love agenda. We’re all one big happy family and all of this, this message that we are just like you. They’re nothing like these people in the room. And the sad part is, it works. The sad part is those people go out of the room and when that lobbyist that served them a martini or, you know, shrimp cocktail has to meet with ’em about something that’s gonna take people’s rights away. They say, oh yeah, yeah. Remember our party?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And that’s what’s so disgusting about this. But it shows like, look, these, these lobbyists have found a way to outsmart the politicians because you basically, you do, you make ’em the offer they can’t refuse. Like, are you really gonna not show up to a diversity event? You know how bad that’s gonna look with your constituents? They don’t want to see you snubbing all of these diverse people. So they’ve got ’em between a rock and a hard place. They know that they’re not gonna look beyond what that invitation says. Like, well, who, well, who is Ferox Strategy putting this on? They’re not gonna look at that. They’re gonna show up, you know, get their picture taken. You know, be out in social media. But it’s really just a way for the lobbyists to get ’em in a corner and say, listen, my drug company here, we’re, we’re just getting hammered. We need all this, you know, benefits from you. I need a favor. That’s what it is.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. They’ll bring in, the other thing is to bring in the celebrity voices, right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Like, like, we really need to listen to celebrity. Did you see the story, Chelsea handler’s sister, honest to God said Chelsea Handler until she until, she was 27 years old, believed that the moon was the same thing as the sun? Did not know that there were two separate and distinct. I’m not making that up. Look it up. Google it. She believed it was the same. So that’s the celebrity voice that’s supposed to lead these people into good decision making. Scares the hell outta me.

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.