Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is surging in the polls, with some polls showing him knocking Ron DeSantis out of second place. And now his associates are saying that he was told by the president of conservative outlet Newsmax that if he wants some positive coverage on their network, he’s going to have to pay up. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


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

Mike Papantonio: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is surging in the polls with some polls showing him knocking Ron DeSantis out of second place totally. And now his associates are saying that he was told by the president of Newsmax that if he wants more positive coverage, he has to spend more money. Now, when I first saw this, first a couple things, you know, this guy is emerging.

Farron Cousins: He really is. He’s come from nowhere.

Mike Papantonio: I don’t know if you’ve been listening to him, but he’s kind of beating the hell out of DeSantis right now, moving into that second place. But we hear this story, we’ve heard this story forever, that not just Newsmax, but all these networks. There’s some quid pro quo. We’ll put you on midday when nobody is gonna be watching you. But you know what, if you buy some advertising with us and advertise your campaign, we’re gonna put you on prime time. Right?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And look, presidential campaigns, anytime we have a big election year, not just with the candidates, but with the Super PACs, advertising goes crazy. Each election breaks the previous elections record of how much money was spent on advertising. And Newsmax is basically doing what all the other networks are doing and says, hey, you know what? You’ve got money to spend, you’ve got your Super PAC, we would like that. If you wanna reach our audience, that’s the best way to do it. So when this came out, and Ramaswamy’s associates say that he told them that Ruddy told him. I think it’s a big game of telephone where something got lost along the way because it does seem like Newsmax was simply trying to say, listen, if you wanna reach the entire audience, the best way to do it is advertising, which is true.

Mike Papantonio: There’s gotta be something positive about the Newsmax story. One positive is they’re kind of kicking Fox’s butt right now. There’s an exodus there. But, you know, it’s all of them. Do you recall, I used to do, for a long time I did commentary on CNN and MSNBC and even Fox, I was the left, I was the liberal commentator for them a while. But to show the impact that these advertisers have, I would be on the air in the close count, Pap 10, 9, 8, 7, and somebody would come in my ear, we’re gonna have to kill the story that you’re doing on Bayer and how Bayer Industries is killing hundreds and hundreds of women with a dangerous product. Instead, we’re gonna flip it over to some inane issue. Pap, talk about the constitutional validity of this or that. And what would happen is, in between the tease coming up, Mike Papantonio, Ed Schultz discuss Bayer killing people by the dozens or hundreds with this new product. In between the tease and me appearing Bayer would make a call and they, or whoever it is, and Bayer is just an example, if you don’t kill the story, we’re gonna pull back on our advertising. Right.

Farron Cousins: And I’ll take it even one step further, a story you may have forgotten about, because back in 2002, you had a weekly segment on MSNBC, rat of the week. And everything was going great. You would talk about the corporations, the problems, until one time it was the arsenic tainted wood from osmose, which later became yellow wood, they were using wood tainted with arsenic in playgrounds for children. And after you did that story, the following week, you were no longer there.

Mike Papantonio: No, no. Can I give you the backstory? So, Griffin, Phil Griffin, whoever was the little punk that was running MSNBC wanted me to go on and apologize.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, that’s right.

Mike Papantonio: And I said, no, that’s not gonna happen. I’m never gonna go on and apologize for a story where you’ve got a company that’s producing a product that they know is being used for children’s playground equipment that has arsenic in it. I mean, not just a little arsenic, but a lot of arsenic. And so they had their PR team come in, they had their advertisers come in, make all these threats on yellow wood. And it was my, kind of my goodbye to MSNBC. Who the hell cares?

Farron Cousins: Well, and you wouldn’t apologize. So they actually made Joe Scarborough go on and apologize.

Mike Papantonio: Right. And he did.

Farron Cousins: And he said, I guess that makes me the rat of the week. It was such a BS thing and it was so obvious. But yeah, to bring it all back home, all these media networks, it doesn’t matter if it’s CNN or MSNBC or Fox or Newsmax, it’s all about you’ve got to scratch our back if you want us to scratch your back. If you’re not gonna be a giant ratings draw that we can sell advertisements based off of, then you better buy some advertisements and we’ll put you on.

Mike Papantonio: Since you brought up this Joe Scarborough story, a little known fact. He used to be my law partner. And so he moved into MSNBC and we did this show every week, and we would talk about how bad corporate America is and the awful things they would do. And then yellow wood was just too much. Farron, thanks for joining me. Okay.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week. But all these segments, they’re gonna be available throughout the next week. And make sure you follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio, and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you the stories every week that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers don’t allow for ’em to tell ’em, or their political connections are so entrenched, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, they don’t allow the network to tell the story. We’ll see you next time.

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.