Pfizer is spending big money to control online media. And, a group of 8 teenage girls have been arrested for murdering a homeless man in Canada, and authorities think social media may have played a role in the killing. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: Pfizer’s spending big money to control online media. Boy, they have succeeded haven’t they? Talk about this, would you.

Farron Cousins: This, this is an amazing story by this group Lever News, Andrew Perez. And, and by the way, Lever News is actually emerging as a very good anti-corporate news source here. But what they’ve.

Mike Papantonio: Tell, tell the viewers about that so they’ll have a source to go.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s Again, huge. David Sirota writes for it, Andrew Perez, a lot of folks, you know, we’ve talked about over the years. But what they’ve found here, they’ve been doing the digging and they’ve found that Pfizer is out here sponsoring all kinds of different online media outlets. They’ve got a event coming up this week that they’re sponsoring for The Hill. And what they’re doing is paying to have their articles in addition to, you know, the big money behind it, go out there to the public saying, oh, look at what a good company Pfizer is. As they’re, as they do every January, raising the prices on hundreds of prescription drugs in America, simply because they can. But they’ve got these articles out here that they paid for saying, we give so much money to charity. We’re on the forefront of cutting edge medical technology. It’s a sham and they’re paying for it.

Mike Papantonio: Let me tell you where it gets really weird. They write the articles.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: They do the television production. They give it to MSNBC, they give it to CNN. They give it to the corporate networks and they just run it. Why? Because Pfizer is advertising every, every nine minutes on MSNBC or CNN. So they just take this packaged crap that’s produced by Pfizer and it’s all, well, we’re, we’re a wonderful corporation. They don’t talk about the hundreds of lawsuits that have been brought against them for fraud, for creating dangerous drugs. They don’t talk about any of that. They, they say, okay, if you said it, it must be true. And oh, by the way, could you spend another $10 million with us this year advertising Pfizer?

Farron Cousins: And, and what we see now, because you know, you’re talking a lot about the, the corporate media, which they’ve been in for years. And now they’ve realized we’ve seen the success on the corporate media, on the daytime television especially, it’s bad. And now they’re moving into those online forums.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: You know, where they couldn’t get in front of people’s eyeballs the same way they do on TV. So they buy spots and, and oil industry’s bad with this too, they buy ’em on The hill, the They buy it in Politico. Politico is horrible.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, it.

Farron Cousins: With the corporate propaganda they push out.

Mike Papantonio: Just give us money. We’ll say whatever you wanna say.

Farron Cousins: And now this new one, Semafor, which I’ve used them as a source. They’ve put out some good stuff. And, and exactly. Pfizer understands, uhoh, they’re talking about pharmaceutical stuff. We’ve gotta put a stop to it. We’ve gotta buy them off.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. I, I wouldn’t use that as a source.

Farron Cousins: Oh, not anymore.

Mike Papantonio: I literally would not use it as a source.

Farron Cousins: Absolutely not anymore.

Mike Papantonio: I wonder about any of these other sources that are doing this because they, all they’re doing is they’re getting a package. Would you do this story? Here’s, we filmed it for you. We have the witnesses, we have whatever. Just put it up. Everything’s gonna be okay. Now, the problem as you’re talking about is it moves into social media. What ends up happening? Those stories are throttled up. Okay. Our story about this will be throttled back. When you’re watching this segment don’t be surprised if a drug company comes on right before our segment. Every time we do a story about the, NextEra, for example, the, the energy supply company. They’re right before we start hammering them. You know, so, I mean, you know, social media in another year, you’re not even gonna recognize it, man. You’re not even gonna recognize it because they’re just, they’re just being bought up the same way corporate media’s been bought up.

Farron Cousins: Right. And it’s just that the corporations are a little bit behind where they were with corporate media and now that they see the corporate media’s dying, you got people dropping satellite TV, left and right.

Mike Papantonio: Cutting cables, man.

Farron Cousins: Exactly. So they’re like, okay, we gotta move into this online. We gotta be on Twitter, we gotta be on Facebook. We’ve gotta buy the actual website coverage. And that’s what they’re doing.

Mike Papantonio: You know, Farron, I covered, I looked at one of your stories the other day. You were doing, it was, it was something to do with something Trump had done and it was a powerful story. But then off to the side of it, there were stories completely unrelated to anything you were doing. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: You know, there were supposed to be, those stories over the right of the page are supposed to be somehow connected to the topic. MSNBC comes up talking about some nonsense story probably that’s been fed to ’em by Pfizer. CNN, just look down the list. There are not independent sources. Do you, do, are you gonna see Sam Seder? You gonna see David Pakman? Are you gonna see any of these, any of these sources that are independent media anymore? Because corporate media’s coming in, they’ve destroyed corporate television. Now they’re coming in to destroy corporate, you know, corporate media.

Farron Cousins: And, and they’re making huge head, headway with it too. I mean, across the board on the, you know, progressive side of the independent media, hosts out there on YouTube are getting hammered by this. And most of it has to do with what you’re talking about. They’re no longer showing up in that suggested feed. You know, oh, because you like David Pakman, we should show you a bunch of David Pakman or similar videos, but instead we’re gonna send you to ABC.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: NBC, Fox, whatever it is.

Mike Papantonio: We, were, you know what people don’t understand about what this station does. We, we’ll get these things, they’ll get mad about me doing a story on something and, you know, call me a right-winger or say that you’re a crazy lefter. And so we’re unsubscribing. They don’t understand that doesn’t affect us because the way, the way that our money comes in. Has nothing to do with it. But these other, these other folks that are relying on those advertising dollars coming in, it’s a big deal.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Especially when you’ve got, when you’ve got somebody at the wheel like Twitter or Facebook that’s throttling them back to create more space for MSNBC and CNN.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: That’s the problem.

Mike Papantonio: A group of 8 teenage girls have been arrested for murdering a homeless man in Canada and authorities think social media may have played a major role in it. This story has come, this isn’t the first. The reason I think this is an important story right now is because finally we’re seeing some, we’re seeing some of the results of an investigation that started after, do you remember the Slender Man murder?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. You had, had what they called Slender Man murder. It was, uh, 11. Was she 11 years old?

Farron Cousins: I think so, yes.

Mike Papantonio: 11 year old girl on social media. She, she, she draws one of her friends into the, into the forest and then stabs her 19 times, kills her. And, and, and so she comes out and says, she told the story of the Slender Man. I’ve followed up, I’ve followed it on, on the net. I’ve, you know, this guy’s a hero to me. I wanna know what’s, what’s up with it. And so she does this herself. So out of there comes a really important investigation. I mean, I think it’s very important. The American Psychological Association takes a look at it and says, is this happening to our kids? Is this a big thing we need to pay attention to? Pick it up from there.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And, and, and with this particular story here, more is still coming out about it because it’s still very fresh. But the police chief up there in Toronto, I believe says, listen, we’re working on this, but right now signs are pointing to these girls met on social media.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: They likely planned it on social media.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: And then carried out. And some of these young girls were, were 13 years old.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: They approached this homeless man, a gang of eight of them, and just brutally murdered him.

Mike Papantonio: Well, apparently one of them said they were doing this because they wanted exposure on social media.

Farron Cousins: Yes.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, this was their, this was their chance to have, you know, I guess 15 minutes of, 15 seconds of 30, of fame there on the social media. But when this study came out, I mean, you can’t help but read it and say makes, makes a lot of sense. It talks about the dense, the, the desensitation, the, the, the, you know, talks about this whole desensitized reality for these people.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: And this desensitized reality is something that they see time and time again on social media. You know, I, I don’t know. I think at some point that’s the big problem that TikTok is gonna have. Right now you got congressional folks that are gonna use this study. They’re gonna use the information coming out here and say, look, we don’t like what you’re doing and we gotta do something about it.

Farron Cousins: Well, and, and it is so terrifying to watch these children because these are children.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And, and they’re watching all of these horrible things online. Their friends are posting videos and they get drawn into it. And, and they don’t know any better. Like you said, it’s this whole desensitizing.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Aspect of it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, that’s the whole focus of these.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Of these psychological profiles that they’re finding about it. And so, I, I think to me, the story’s important for a lot of reasons. I think one reason from a, just a time element, kind of the temporal relationship of this story is what’s going on with TikTok right now.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: And I think it’s gonna have a big impact when congressional hearings take place.

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.