Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that he bowed to pressure and removed COVID misinformation from his platform at the urging of the White House. This news comes as courts are trying to prohibit the Biden administration from communicating with social media companies. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that he bowed to pressure and removed Covid misinformation from his platform at the urging of the White House. Question is, was it misinformation? This news comes as courts are trying to prohibit the Biden administration from communicating with social media companies. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about what’s happening along with this. You know, Farron, when I first saw this story, I actually was really pleased that the court said to the White House, hell no, you may not get involved in editing propaganda for the American public. I mean, this is America 2023. We still have a Constitution. Still is a First Amendment. And you got the White House saying, we wanna decide what is misinformation. We wanna be the gatekeeper for what the American public can hear. It is absolutely BS. And the Fifth Circuit, I’m shocked, I’m shocked that they even put this on hold at all.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, they put in the injunction saying, well, for now you can still talk to them. The lower courts, of course, had said, no, you cannot, you do not get to talk to them. But now that’s been, you know, postponed a little. So there could still be communications, that is still pending, obviously. But it is scary because you do have Facebook, you know, multiple executives have now said, yes, the White House was in communication with us. They asked us if we could get rid of X, Y, and Z, and we did.

Mike Papantonio: Of course they did. You know, it’s not like you gotta bring out the Army to get ’em to do it. The White House can put major, matter of fact, in the article that’s what Zuckerberg’s people said. We were concerned about what the ramifications would be if we didn’t listen to these idiots who were telling us what their take on misinformation was. Now, this is not just about Covid, understand. Don’t get.

Farron Cousins: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Don’t get hung up on Covid. This is misinformation about what’s going on in Ukraine. If we disagree with you, then by God, we can stop it. What happened in Afghanistan, if we don’t like what you say, then we can stop it. That is frigging propaganda by the White House. And you know what, Farron? There’s an entire generation right behind us that thinks that’s okay because they don’t even understand what the hell the First Amendment is about. It’s disgusting to me. And nobody, corporate media’s not even paying attention to this. They’re afraid to. They’re afraid of the White House, just like these folks were afraid of the White House.

Farron Cousins: Well, and it is interesting too, because look, the stuff they asked to have removed, I’m sure I probably would’ve disagreed with it, but I don’t disagree with it being allowed on there. And that’s where we have to draw the line. We’re free to disagree with information that we see anywhere, but once you have the actual government itself stepping into these companies saying, hey, we don’t like this, get rid of it. That is a line that every single person in this country should agree, that’s a bad thing. And we can’t get everybody to agree on it. That’s what’s so stupid.

Mike Papantonio: It’s a nanny government. Nanny’s gonna tell us what we can think and what we can’t think. Nanny’s gonna tell us, we’re too stupid to be able to delineate between what’s true and what’s not true. So, nanny White House is gonna come in and tell us what we can read and what we can’t read. That’s where we are. And you know what? The folks even working in places like Facebook and Twitter was saying, hell no, we didn’t agree with it. We thought it was a bad idea. We didn’t like getting calls from the White House saying, you know what, we really don’t like this article about Afghanistan. We need to do something about it. That’s where we are. And you know what, Farron? We have an entire generation who thinks it’s okay. And all that’s gonna do is it’s gonna blow this out of proportion. If this White House gets away with this, what about the next White House? What if it is a Trump White House? What if it’s a DeSantis White House? Can you imagine what this precedent does for them?

Farron Cousins: See, everybody always forgets that that pendulum swings back eventually. You know, maybe it happens in 2024, maybe 2028, but you may say, oh, well, it’s good that Biden did this. We had to get rid of Covid misinformation. Once you establish that power, the next president takes it, runs with it. We saw it with the Patriot Act, the Iraq War powers.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, exactly.

Farron Cousins: The AUMF, all of it gets taken to the next level by the next guy.

Mike Papantonio: They put it on steroids. And if you don’t think that’s gonna happen, this precedent is really, really bad. And I’m telling you, everybody thought, well, COVID was the only, hell no, COVID wasn’t the only issue. Did you disagree with some move that that Biden made? Well, if you were, if you’re critical of it, they have the right to come and put pressure on social media to slow it down. Did you take, you took a civics class in school, didn’t you?

Farron Cousins: Of course.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, you were in a generation where they taught civics. You understood the importance of the First Amendment that we have a Constitution that says freedom of speech above all things is critically important. You were raised with that. I gotta tell you, there’s three generations after you that haven’t seen that. And you know what? This looks fine to them. Should a president be able to say what I can read and what I can’t read? Oh, hell yeah. Without even understanding how serious that is. It’s critically important. This issue, I can’t, and the Fifth Circuit, that’s what surprises me. Coming out of Fifth Circuit.

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.