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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

White House Slams Cheap Fake Videos Of Biden Made In Bad Faith; Biden And Trump's Ages In Political Spotlight Ahead Of Debate; CNN Reports, Bannon Won't Be Spending His Prison Term In Club Fed; U.S. Surgeon General Warns Parents Of The Bad Effects Of Social Media On Children; John Boyd, Jr. Talks About The Black Farmers' Being Unhappy With The Biden Presidency Over Some Key Programs; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Receives Backlash On A Father's Day Post. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 17, 2024 - 22:00   ET



JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And so that's really true. And then just the optics of it will be big.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes, absolutely. Jill Dougherty, we're going to be watching what we can see closely here, of course, as this trip is getting underway. Thank you so much.

And thank you all for joining us. We will be watching that trip very closely as it gets underway.

CNN NewsNight starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: The news a lot of Americans see and the manipulation that's distorting the 2024 election. That's tonight on NewsNight.

Good evening, I'm Abby Phillip in New York.

The November choice is between two old men. We know that. But tonight I want to talk about the Joe Biden that Republicans want you to see and the pipeline of videos that aren't telling the full truth. Now, those videos are probably right now clogging the public consciousness as Americans start to think about their votes. The RNC wants to weaponize questions around Biden's age.

And the follow-up to that question is, is he mentally fit enough to do the job again? It's a question that Donald Trump hopes is on voters' minds.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you should take a cognitive test like I did. I took a cognitive test and I aced it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: The latest video shoving this question in voters faces is this one from a star studded fundraiser a couple days ago. President Biden and former President Obama on stage, waving to this crowd, and then there's a six second pause, and then a walk off the stage. The New York Post screamed, freeze up. The White House fired back, accusing the conservative outlet of wildly misinterpreting what happened. It's far from the only example of this push-pull between what the president is seeing and heard doing and how Republicans and conservative news allies are labeling what he's seen and heard doing.

Now, you don't have to scroll too far down on the RNC's research account to find posts winking and nodding that Biden isn't all there. Posts like this one, showing Biden at the G7 summit wandering around. Now, the RNC would have you believe that this was all aimlessly. The New York Post saw the video and put the stills on the front page, meanderer-in-chief. The problem is, that is also wildly misleading. Biden wasn't staring off into the distance like a puppy distracted by a bird. He was watching a diving demonstration. He had a conversation with those aerial stuntmen.

And that's far from the only exaggerated or entirely invented story that's made its way into the American information ecosystem lately. Just go to Sinclair's website and they bill their national desk as, quote, a comprehensive, commentary-free look at the most impactful news of the day. But the reporting shows the opposite. The 185-owned or operated Sinclair stations across 86 markets published, quote/unquote, news filled with commentary.

Just to give you an example, this bizarre assertion because Biden sat down weird, that he pooped himself. Literally, I'm not kidding, pooping is in the text of the Sinclair web link. This headline appeared across the country on local news websites owned by Sinclair. Biden appears to freeze, slur words during White House Juneteenth event. That misleading story, as documented by a left leaning substack called Biden dazed and in a stupor. Now, the Trump campaign called it a senior moment.

Here is the actual video. The president, President Biden, isn't dancing or clapping. Everyone around him is. Now, that is a moment of, I don't know, what do you think it is? Here is the pointed White House response to what's happening there.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president stood there listening to the music and he didn't dance. Excuse me, I did not know not dancing was a mental -- was a health issue.


PHILLIP: And that's the point. The White House says some outlets like Sinclair and especially Republican rabble rousers are content to substitute their commentary for cold, hard facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEAN-PIERRE: I think you all have called this the cheap fakes video, and that's exactly what they are. They are cheap fakes video. They are done in bad faith.


PHILLIP: Joining me now, Brian Stelter, Leah Wright Rigueur, Natasha Alford, and Reihan Salam. Brian, this is going to be really tough and tricky for voters to sort through, because some of these videos, you -- I mean, if you're a regular person, you probably cannot even do the digging that would be required to sort through what is being chopped up, what is being deceptively characterized, all of that.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and it's only June, and you're already talking about whether the president's defecating in public. Imagine what we're going to be by October. You know, the White House press secretary used the phrase, cheap fakes the idea of cheap fakes. Let me explain what that is to people. We've been worried for years about A.I. deep fakes, that computer-generated images are going to trick people into believing something that's totally false. Cheap fakes are a little bit simpler. They're cheap. They're just distorted out of context videos, chopped up in certain ways, constructed in certain ways.

That's what we're seeing. That's what the Biden administration, the Biden campaign is so worried about right now. But make no mistake, they are worried about this. This is a real problem. This is not some made up fiction. The videos are oftentimes made up, but the problem is real because some of us, Abby, watch a 40 minute speech by Biden. We see the full context. Other people only watch a five-second clip. And that's going to be something that's going to, I suspect, follow Biden for the rest of this campaign.

PHILLIP: I mean, look, Biden, as we pointed out, it's not a secret, he is an older man. He has actually moments that are pretty awkward in public. Why chop them up and make them into something that they're not if Republicans perhaps feel like they need to go the next step to kind of make this so much more extreme in the minds of voters?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, I thought it was a pretty disgusting exploitation of a moment where Biden is talking to, you know, the parachuters, but they cut that video out, right? I think it's, it's deeply unfair. It's dishonest. It's, it's a reflection of the wild west of social media news that we live in. One in five Americans get their daily news from social media. So, as you said, they're looking at just a headline. They're not seeing the full context.

And if the algorithm is choosing how information gets to you and you don't seek other sources, you could be missing an entire swath of information that you need to make an educated choice in November.

REIHAN SALAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: George W. Bush was president some years ago before the social media age. Oftentimes, remarks of his were taken out of context. Oftentimes, he was ridiculed in that fashion. But the thing is that George W. Bush, for better or for worse, was seen as decisive in command. When you're looking at Biden's moments, the real challenge for Joe Biden isn't that he's old, isn't that he has these awkward moments from time to time. It is the perception, whether you agree with it or not, that he's not, in fact, in command of his White House.

Donald Trump is also very old, but he is seen, again, whether you like it or not, as being very much in command of the Republican Party, you know, someone that literally folks are seeking to curry favor with him at all times. And the rap on Biden is that there are a lot of young folks who are very much Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren devotees, who have much more control over the administration then would be the case if he were truly in command.

So, the issue is not, you know, the appearance of some infirmity here or there. It's the way that that reinforces a narrative of weakness.

PHILLIP: Well, there is, you know, the confirmation bias. I mean, the people who the most want to see is, you know, Biden bumbling around are the ones who already believe that he's bumbling around. But Republicans, I mean, this is -- we're a little over a week out from this first meet up between Biden and Trump on a debate stage. They're setting the bar super low. I mean, is it -- but this might be a little spin here, the idea that Democrats might want the bar to be this low. I don't know. I mean, that might be a little too clever by half.

LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: So, I think one of the things that Biden has to do, and that it appears that he has already started to do, is that he has to attack the age issue head on. He needs to point out -- I mean, there are several people Reihan pointed out, George W. Bush has but also George H.W. Bush attacked it. Ronald Reagan attacked the age issue very early on by talking about that he was at the time the oldest president in the country.

The other thing I think that Biden can do, and that he's already started to do, is to remind voters that he and Donald Trump are the same age. At the same moment that Donald Trump called for Joe Biden to take a cognitive test, he actually, in that interview, made several mistakes that indicated, hey, wait, maybe, you are pretty old and, and maybe these are questions that you don't want out there. And I think this is--

PHILLIP: I mean, the campaign put out this happy birthday email for Donald Trump when he turned 78.

RIGUEUR: I mean, there are essentially the same age. We are talking about two old white guys who are re-matching for the election.

So, the other thing I think that that is important, however, is the stylistic or the aesthetic of the actual debate. I don't think it's any debate right now, any larger debate, that Donald Trump very rarely wins in terms of substance or constant (ph) on debates. What he wins on, when he does win debates, is on the style, how he presents himself as a strong man with authority, right? This is what Joe Biden has to match up against. There are going to be millions of people watching, and it's not necessarily about substance.


If you're already in an argument about that, you've lost. It is about how do you present yourself to the country.

PHILLIP: So, let me play for a second what the Biden campaign is saying in this new ad that is about Donald Trump taking on the issue of Trump's criminality head on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This election is between a convicted criminal who's only out for himself and a president who's fighting for your family.


PHILLIP: It's pretty directly dealing with -- you know, they've all seemed to kind of just be touching at the criminal convictions. That's not a very delicate touch.

ALFORD: It's direct. They bring up the sexual assault. They bring up the 34 counts and they're drawing the contrast that you need. They're saying this is about character, right? So, while Donald Trump is yelling in the hallway, talking about this being rigged, Joe Biden is cutting ribbons at, you know, opening ceremonies, and he's signing legislation and getting things done. That's the contrast that you need because 78 and 81 really aren't that far apart.

STELTER: But what matters more in 2024? I don't think we know the answer to this, but is it T.V. ads, old fashioned ads, or is it dank memes? Is it ugly Instagram reels and New York Post covers? I suspect that social media noise is really significant.

Look, we live in an environment where Biden, when he actually is out there speaking, talking about his age, he makes funny jokes, he's self-deprecating, he's very effective when you hear him speaking. But most of the time, we're not hearing him speaking. We're just scrolling through our phones, looking at videos, watching embarrassing videos, out of context, distorted clips.

And I wonder if that information pollution that we all experience, we all feel it, if that information pollution isn't more powerful than the old fashioned, traditional ways of communicating.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, most people are just not watching these T.V., unless they see it on social media, they see it chopped up on social media.

RIGUEUR: You know, there's also part of a -- and Congress has had several hearings on this, this larger kind of international and domestic cyber war that is being waged against the American electorate. And where is it most effective? It is most effective on social media with something that starts with a kernel of truth. The kernel of truth is that Joe Biden is old, right? We know that Donald Trump is old, but Joe Biden is old. And so it's been really kind of alarming to watch as lots and lots of different organizations have pumped money, untraceable money, into social media in an attempt, I think, to really sway an electorate that has largely abandoned traditional mediums.

STELTER: And look what the surgeon general said today. He called for a warning label, a warrantee about the dangers of social media. But the truth is folks our age, folks that are older, folks that are Biden's age are just as susceptible to these lies on social media.

SALAM: I don't have inside information, but my sense is that the Biden campaign recognizes that Donald Trump is doing best with low propensity voters. He's overwhelmingly ahead when you're looking at folks who did not vote in 2022. And so I think that what they're trying to do is de-motivate some number of low propensity voters, make sure not so much try to persuade them to vote for Joe Biden, just keep them home, discourage them. And this actually seems to be somewhat effective with the emerging coalition of voters of color, urban voters who have been more open to open to Donald Trump's message than in the past. The idea is not to bring them over to the Biden column, it is to keep them home and away from the polls.

STELTER: And the louder all this happens, the worse it is. I was talking to a Biden aide tonight who said to me, the more the New York Post gets fact-checked for these lies, these videos, the louder the Post is screaming that we have to believe them. Louder is the key word. This is just going to get louder. And I do think it ultimately turns some people off, right? It causes fatigue among some people who just don't want to think about this American gerontocracy at all.

ALFORD: And there's a notable shift to Biden courting older voters, right? Because Trump may have won those voters in 2020, but there's a shift towards those voters being open to Joe Biden. And if you look at Jill Biden, she said, what, wisdom is an asset, right? He's a wise man. So, as you said, Abby, he can't change his age, but if anything, he can try to show that it's an asset.

PHILLIP: I mean, I keep thinking about the Juneteenth video where, where Biden is just standing there not doing anything. But for Republicans, that was a sign that he is not all there in terms of his competency. To me, those are very different things. Joe Biden being a physically old person and not having, you know, his faculties intact are not necessarily the same. And yet Republicans are squishing those things together in a way that seems incredibly deceptive.

RIGUEUR: So, they're squishing them together, I think, to point out as the panel has really highlighted, as a way of discouraging people from turning out to vote, right, as lowering or dampening enthusiasm. It's not voter suppression, it's voter depression. And, in a lot of ways, it's a lot more insidious, it's a lot harder to track.

PHILLIP: Voters who just say, wouldn't I like to have somebody else, and then they just don't bother.

RIGUEUR: I would love to have. We already know that, for example, young people want two different candidates. They say, but this is the same thing we had in 2020. We didn't want it in 2020, we don't want it in 2024.


Why bother participating in a political process where we feel like we don't have answers?

So, this is why you're seeing a lot of these kind of deceptive, I think, highlighting, but also, again, I really want to like buckle down on that point about it has to come from a kernel of truth, right? The best kind of misinformation and disinformation doesn't start with a lie. It starts with something that can be traced to the truth. And in this case, we're talking about two old white people that people don't want.

SALAM: I will just say that if you're looking at, you know, this message that Joe Biden is in command, it's not just coming from the right. Literally, Democrats in Congress refer to Joe Biden's first chief of staff as the prime minister. There's a lot of frustration among folks on the center left, certainly folks on the left. on the left outside Congress and the White House are very frustrated with what they see as a president who is indecisive and weak.

PHILLIP: All right, everyone. Thank you very much for that discussion.

Coming up next, Steve Bannon, he may serve his prison sentence among violent offenders in open pods. We'll speak live with Lev Parnas, the former Trump and Giuliani associate, who also served time behind bars.

Plus, some black farmers in swing states are growing disenchanted with the Biden presidency. But is Biden really the one to blame?

And the brief history of politicians' food photo ops going all wrong after Chuck Schumer's grilling faux pas.

This is NewsNight.



PHILLIP: Steve Bannon's hard time is now looking a little harder. Sources tell CNN that the Trump ally won't be serving out his prison time in what's known as Club Fed, the most comfortable type of facility in the federal system that he actually had wanted. So, he likely will spend time in prison in Connecticut where he'd be placed with violent criminals and sex offenders. It also doesn't have individual cells but open pods for inmates. There is also a chance that Bannon could be sent to New York City's infamous Rikers Island.

Now, all of this comes as Bannon is now painting a clearer picture of what a second Donald Trump term could look like, or at least what he hopes it would look like. At a conservative gathering in Detroit, he gave a blunt but chilling warning that a day of reckoning, quite literally, is coming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: November 5th is judgment day. January 20th, 2025 is accountability day.

We're going to get every single receipt, and to the fullest extension of the law, you are going to be investigated, prosecuted, and incarcerated.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's very simple, victory or death.


PHILLIP: Joining me now is Lev Parnas. He worked with Trump and Giuliani to get dirt on then-Candidate Joe Biden in Ukraine. Later, he testified that there was no dirt. He was also convicted of campaign finance crimes, wire fraud, and making false statements, and was sentenced to 20 months in prison back in 2022. e is also the author of Shadow Diplomacy, Lev Parnas and His Wild Ride from Brooklyn to Trump's Inner Circle. Lev, we appreciate you being here.

You, actually, because you've spent some time fairly recently in federal prison, I wonder what do you think Bannon can expect?

LEV PARNAS, FORMER GIULIANI ASSOCIATE, SERVED PRISON TIME: Well, Steve Bannon is in for a wild ride, I can tell you that much. First of all, the fact that he's no longer going to a camp, but is now going to a minimum security prison, it's a big factor. You know, when it comes to safety, when it comes to the type of inmates you're with, and the very big comes to the freedom that you have. And the number one thing is you're behind the wall and not outside the wall, which is now you're actually in prison.

But besides that, like you said, Steve Bannon has a lot more things. He has a case coming up soon, so, you know, he's not going to have that much time to settle in, as they say, in prison. He's going to then be moved to go to either Rikers or MDC in New York to stay in trial for the state case. And that doesn't happen by the night before where they send a car and pick you up and drive you there. You're going to go through a system where you might end up in Oklahoma and it might take you 20, 30 days to get to that other prison. So, Steve Bannon is in for a wild ride, especially in the low security prison in Danbury.

PHILLIP: So, I mean, obviously, Bannon wasn't just a Trump ally, he was actually a key official in the Trump White House for a time, and you yourself worked with former President Trump. What do you think that Trump and his allies are actually going to do in a second term when you hear him talking about it that way? Do you think that he means that literally?

PARNAS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, anybody that knows Donald Trump, and I know Donald Trump very well. He's very vengeful. He doesn't forgive, he doesn't forget. You could just take a look at how he acted in the past and take a look at the people that he's looking to put into positions of power, like attorney general. I mean, I think he's looking to put like either Kash Patel or General Flynn, I mean, people that are loyal to him and that will go to any extreme to weaponize the justice system to go after their enemies.

PHILLIP: So, to that end, I mean, do you think that there are any safeguards that would be in place if he were to be re-elected?

PARNAS: The biggest safeguard is Americans have to come out and vote and make sure that he does not get anywhere near the White House. That would be the biggest safeguard that I would recommend.

PHILLIP: So, you were intimately involved, as we mentioned, in Trump and Giuliani's effort to dig up dirt on President Biden.


And they were trying to find this connection between President Biden and the money that his son, Hunter, received from Ukrainian energy company Burisma. You testified that there is no connection, but now Hunter has been convicted of federal gun charges. They're unrelated issues but it came about as a result of that broader investigation. What's your reaction to that conviction for Hunter?

PARNAS: You know, what I'm very sorry that, you know, my actions and the actions that I took on behalf of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani and people in the Republican MAGA group to, you know, put the spotlight on Hunter by forcing this information, by pushing all of this negative and false stuff on him that eventually it led to a person, a citizen, not a public official, but a citizen that was tried and now convicted of a crime that officially, I mean, nobody got hurt. He was in the trenches of a very, you know, tremendous addiction, trying to get out of it, made a mistake. But because of the spotlight that Donald Trump and his allies like myself put on him in 2018, 2019, by pushing the false narratives from Russian propaganda, it led to these false, you know, ridiculous trial and, you know, obviously a conviction.

PHILLIP: Meanwhile, your former partner in all of that, Rudy Giuliani, has been charged yet again. This time it's in Arizona for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. We have his second mugshot up there on the screen. He says he'll be vindicated. How do you see what the consequences will be, ultimately, for Giuliani?

PARNAS: I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think prison is where Giuliani is going to end up. I mean, just even recently as today, the bankruptcy court, the judge is getting fed up with the way Giuliani is dealing and not dealing, actually, or giving records, which could eventually lead to other charges of fraud and stuff like that.

So, I think Giuliani is down a very deep spiral. He's let go, doesn't care, and I think he's going to end up in prison.

PHILLIP: When you see people like Bannon and Giuliani and so many others, frankly, flirting with real prison here, do you think they have any idea what that is like, what they are in for?

PARNAS: Oh, they have no clue. Giuliani I don't think still even understands that he is actually going to prison. I think he is just, you know, out there and not accepting the truth. But Steve Bannon every day more and more is coming to reality that he is going to lose his freedom and he is going to be under the supervision of people that, you know, it's a crapshoot, you know, with the way the political diversion is in our society, it goes all the way down to the prisoners, to the prisoners, to the prison guards, to the prison officials.

So, Steve Bannon is going to be, you know, shooting the dice every day of his life while he's in prison, being around where he's going to sleep, where he's going to work, who is he going to be around. He's not going to have the choice to pick and choose and surround himself with just MAGA people that will listen to him or help him out. So, he's in for a rude awakening.

PHILLIP: Yes, that's a really stark picture that you just painted there. When it comes to Giuliani, why do you think that he doesn't seem to care about the potential consequence of prison?

PARNAS: I don't think he believes still, just like Donald Trump doesn't believe that he's actually going to get in prison, I think, because of who they are and because of the pushback and because of the support that they're getting from congressmen and senators and, you know, millions of people. I think that pushes them not to believe.

And I don't believe Giuliani really, really believes that he's going to go to prison, especially with what you see what's going on in Georgia. Now, you have the delays because of, you know, they're going after Fani Willis, the prosecutor, and that's going to delay the case. So, things like that give Giuliani, people like Giuliani hope that, you know, it's just never going to happen. And, plus, you know, they're fighting for the presidency. They all truly believe in Giuliani also, that if Trump wins, that that will wipe away all their problems. So, that's why it's imperative that these elections, and I know we say it every year, every time there's an election, that this is the one, but this is really the one, you know, for, to save our democracy and to make sure that there's accountability for what has transpired in the past eight years.

PHILLIP: Lev Parnas, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

PARNAS: Thank you, Abby. Thank you for having me.

PHILLIP: Is social media the new smoking? The surgeon general says that it actually is. I'll discuss that with Emmy Award-winning T.V. Host Tamron Hall. That's next.



PHILLIP: Are social media platforms as dangerous for growing brains as smoking or drinking? The Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, says yes, and in a new op-ed, he is pushing for a warning label to tell parents exactly that. Under this proposal, labels like these that you see on tobacco products would also appear on social media platforms. Congress would, of course, need to approve this action, but Murthy says this cannot wait.


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I'm quite aware of the fact that this is a complicated issue and that it may be hard for Congress to take action on this.


I'm also aware that this is a challenging year for Congress to act. But the truth is, none of that matters to our kids. None of that does anything to assuage the pain and struggle that parents are going through right now.


PHILLIP: Joining me now is two-time Emmy Award-winning T.V. host of "The Tamron Hall Show". She is also the author of an upcoming cookbook, "A Confident Cook". Tamron, great to see you. Thank you for joining us.

TAMRON HALL, TWO-TIME EMMY AWARD-WINNING T.V. HOST: Of course. It's so good. I'm happy to be here on this important conversation.

PHILLIP: Yeah, extremely. Look, we both have young kids, thankfully, too young for social media, really, but when you think about a warning label like this, do you actually think that this is something that would be helpful for teenagers and their parents?

HALL: Listen, I think that I'm old enough to remember when people scoffed at the idea of a warning on cigarettes. My first flight was when I was seven years old from Kansas City to Texas, and I remember the ashtrays on airplanes. And you imagine a Gen X right now saying, wait a minute, I remember that. There are many things in our society that people scoffed at.

I have a car seat like you do in my child's area where he's in the car. And I have friends who say, I remember when we would just be held back in the station wagon. Yeah, I remember a lot of things. But what we know is when knowledge and power are put together, good things can happen. The safety of kids. We've done a number of shows, Abby, on young people who've taken their own lives.

The pressure of social media is real. And I love that the Surgeon General said it's a complicated issue. I was on today promoting my new cookbook while now talking with you about the dangers of social media. We're in this vortex, and it is complicated. We see the good of social media, but we would be foolish to say that we don't all recognize the weight and the pressure and the bad of it.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, as you point out, look, we are full-grown adults, and it's hard for us to stay off social media, let alone children whose brains are still developing. So, the Surgeon General, he has said that he is keeping his kids off until after middle school. But you, as you just talked about, you've done shows on this. You've spoken to parents of tweens about this issue, and they all have

different answers about how they are working this out in their own homes. They have to decide with their kids who have opinions, who can talk back to them, who can try to sneak to the back room and grab a phone and get on social media. How does that complicate all of this?

HALL: Well, I think it's always complicated. Listen, the law says you have to wear a seat belt or you'll get a ticket. The government is saying it is in your best interest, except for in certain states, where you need to put on a seat belt because it does protect you.

I think what the Surgeon General is saying, Abby, is that we're putting a lot of weight on parents. I hear and see on my show where people will say, well, then take your kid off social media. Don't give them the phone. We know that it's not that easy. We did a show recently of a parent who spent thousands of dollars on her child's prom. Her choice, her money.

The comments almost made me take the post down from my show's social. It went beyond judgment. It went to bullying and abuse. And I'm worried about the mental health of that kid who went on a prom that her mom could afford. It was a lot of money, and it wasn't the money of the people who were in the comments section.

And so, I think what the Surgeon General has tapped into also is a loneliness factor. The Surgeon General was on my show, and he talked about this epidemic of loneliness. And I feel that, like all of us, we feel that connection in social media. We reconnect with high school friends. We did a show a lot of people reconnect with old loves. You know, the list and the gamut is wide.

But the reality is, is it healthy connections? Is it healthy, I have my phone right here, to pick up this phone and doom scroll? And that's what teenagers are doing. And I heard you say that, you know, we all grapple with it. I've had some of the most famous people in the world on my show who said, I decided to delete my social media, or I need a break from social media.

Or they even hire people to handle their social media because they don't want to see the onslaught of negativity. So, I think that as mature, reasonable people, we have to say we recognize the good. We see revolutions.

Breonna Taylor, I learned about, in this home from social media, and the world woke up to the murder of this young woman. So, we know the power of social media. But we also know the wide number of people around the world who say they go on and they feel worse about themselves, especially those under the age of 18.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, there is data around that. That's not just opinion. I mean, we know what happens, especially to young girls when they are exposed to the kind of content that they are on social media. I think the other piece of this, Tam, is going to be the social media companies themselves.

[22:40:02] And do they get let off the hook for their responsibility to make these platforms different?

HALL: I don't know if it's a let off the hook. We've been in the media for a long time. And people criticize -- I've been a journalist for 30 years. I've been in rooms. I've been outside. And people say the media is to blame. I don't want to wag the finger at social media outlets. But I can tell you, the Surgeon General does not let his kids on.

But most of the most powerful people in the world of social media don't let their kids on either. Ask yourself, is that the case? I mean, some of them even cover the camera on their phones. And so, I don't want to condemn these people who've created technology and a connection that the world has never seen.

And on all of those platforms, there is good, there is bad. In any civilized setting, we should be able to have this conversation to say, let's weigh the data. Let's weigh the conversation and see if there is some improvement. And to say that there is not is ridiculous. I do a show every single day.

And I'm telling you, whether they're the most famous people in the world or people who come on our show and are, quote, "everyday people". And I think we're all everyday people, to be honest with you, who talk about the weight of this.

And anyone who says that they don't look at the comments and that they don't feel the weight is not being completely honest. But at the same time, at the same time, we recognize the power and the good that can come from social media.

PHILLIP: Thank you so much.

HALL: But as a civilized society, we deserve this conversation.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it is a double-edged sword. Tamron Hall, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

HALL: Thank you. And I'm so proud of you. And very few people can get me up this late at night.

PHILLIP: Thank you. We appreciate you so much. Thank you. Thank you, my friend. All right. And up next, we've got some Black farmers in swing states who are saying now that they are unhappy with the Biden presidency over some key programs. But the question is, is President Biden the one to actually blame?



PHILLIP: Ten days from tonight, one of the topics that President Biden and Donald Trump are sure to bring up in their first debate is the Black vote. But suddenly, Biden is showing some vulnerability there. An aggregate of recent polls show that Trump is making some gains. One real-life illustration of this is Black farmers in swing states.

Many are expressing their frustration with the Biden administration for, in their eyes, not doing enough to help them financially. Biden has allocated money and programs to support farmers in distress.

However, a major one of those programs, $4 billion, is the subject of a lawsuit by white farmers who say it's reverse discrimination. John Boyd Jr. is the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association. And he joins me now. John, good to see you. And thanks for joining us.

JOHN BOYD, JR., FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION: Thank you, Abby, again for having me. It's great to see you.

PHILLIP: So, as we just discussed, I mean, this main program that is designed to help Black farmers and farmers who have been discriminated against hasn't really gotten off the ground because of this lawsuit by white farmers. Why does that make you and perhaps other farmers say that they're not going to support President Biden when President Biden wants this program to go through? And he's not the reason that it's not.

BOYD, JR.: Well, the President hasn't moved enough on his initiative here, Abby. This isn't just a new ask here. So, I've been trying to get debt relief for Black farmers for over three decades here in the United States. And the whole time I was asking for it, white farmers was getting debt relief. Matter of fact, they were getting all of their debt relief.

And then it turned around after we finally got it done by an act of Congress and started suing us in key states around the country, Texas and Florida and some others issued temporary injunctions. And just as I started winning some motions in federal court to motion to intervene in here, the actual discrimination that Black farmers faced, the administration repealed it by an act of Congress.

So, yes, white farmers sued us, but also the administration repealed it. And I wanted the President to fight for Black farmers to get the $5 billion to 120 percent that we were promised from the beginning. Instead, you know, we didn't get it. So, we see it like 40 acres and a mule. It's the same initiative. Those farmers who are tied up, those 17,000 black and other farmers of color, have their deeds tied up with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Those are the real farmers that I'm trying to save in this country. And instead, the administration went silent. But we wanted them to fight like they're fighting for affirmative action. We wanted them to fight like he fought for college debt relief for college tuition. But we haven't heard the administration even say the word black farmer since it was repealed.

PHILLIP: One thing I just want to note is that there is another program that is intended to help farmers who have been discriminated against. The money is supposed to go out this fall. That's according to the administration. But on the issue of support in this upcoming election, do you think that you can support President Biden in November?

BOYD, JR.: Well, and thank you for asking me. There's been a two-year- old request that I've been trying to visit with the President to talk about an administrative fix for Black farmers.


And what we want, Abby, we want the administration to settle Boyd versus the USA. Those are all of the debt that our farmers that were promised 120 percent debt forgiveness. And we also want the administration to put a halt on all farm foreclosures. That means our direct loans, guaranteed loans and other financial institutions.

Black farmers should not be losing their farm for an administration that I went out. I was probably one of the first Black organizations that came out and endorsed the Vice President when he was trying to be President of the United States. And one of the things he said, he said, hey, Boyd, if I win, there will be changes at USDA and black farmers will get financial relief through debt relief. So, it hasn't happened.


BOYD, JR.: And that's what we're trying to get resolved.

PHILLIP: So, John, I know we lost your picture, but we can still hear you. So, I'm going to ask you one more question, because I think the question that was raised in this "New York Times" piece was whether these Black farmers who are disenchanted with President Biden are going to then go over and support Donald Trump.

One of the things, though, is that the people who are doing the most to try to stop targeted relief to Black farmers are people who are associated with Donald Trump's administration. So, if you have friends in the Black farmer community who are thinking about casting a ballot for Donald Trump, do you think that that is wise, given the track record of people like Stephen Miller who are behind a lot of these lawsuits?

BOYD, JR.: Nobody is saying go out here and vote for Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: Some people are. Not you. I'm just saying some people are saying that. Yeah

BOYD, JR.: Well, I'm saying -- I'm saying it on your show. That's not what I'm saying. We're saying we want the President to come to the table and settle so that the Black farmers can get the $5 billion that we were promised. The only presidential candidate who's came forth and made that promise was Kennedy on his podcast. He said he would do it within the first week of office.

The President is in office now. He can do it. And you know, what bothers me is $175 billion went out to Ukraine. A lot of that money, Abby, went directly to Ukraine farmers. Nobody sued them. Nobody has an issue with helping Ukraine farmers who are not even citizens of the United States. But you can't help Black farmers right here in this country.

And when you look at immigration, people coming in this country getting credit cards and debit cards and be putting them up in public housing and all of these things. But you can't provide relief, $5 billion relief for Black farmers. What does that say to my daddy, John Boyd, who passed away a couple of years ago? What does that say to Thomas Boyd?

I'm sitting on a farm right now in Boynton, Virginia, where my forefathers were slaves in this country. And there's always a reason why we can't get something. That's the frustration that you hear from Black farmers.

PHILLIP: I hear you.

BOYD, JR.: And they're getting to the point where they're saying, I don't care if it's a President, whoever. We just want to get the money. That's why I want to sit down and talk to the President. We want to support him. But he has to come to the table and act like he really wants the Black vote, and in this case, Black farmers. That's where we are. So, I shouldn't be asking for this meeting.

PHILLIP: Yeah, John, I hear you. I hear you and I know -- I know -- like you said, you've been working on this for a really long time.

BOYD, JR.: Yes.

PHILLIP: I hear what you're saying about wanting to be heard by the President. Maybe he and his aides are watching tonight. John Boyd, Jr., we appreciate you for joining tonight. Thank you.

BOYD, JR.: Thank you so much for having me.

PHILLIP: And when does a politician's photo op stick in their craw? Well, Chuck Schumer is finding out. It's when it all goes wrong. That's next.



PHILLIP: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer learned a very hard lesson this weekend. The mixture of politicians and food photo ops can sometimes spoil. He tweeted out this picture of himself manning the grill on Father's Day, which seems innocent enough. But if you look closely enough, you might notice a slice of cheese on what looks like an undercooked burger patty. That's a recipe for salmonella. The backlash was so bad that Schumer deleted the post.

Now, this is hardly the first culinary mishap for a politician. In the 1972 race while at a New York City kosher deli, Democrat George McGovern, he ordered a corned beef sandwich and a glass of milk, a combination that is definitely not kosher. And four years later, Gerald Ford's great tamale incident made national news when he tried to eat a tamale while it was still wrapped in a corn husk while he was visiting San Antonio. Now, during his campaign, John Kerry angered Philadelphians when he

ordered a cheesesteak with Swiss cheese instead of the traditional Cheez Whiz, which locals say is just a small step below criminal. Now, Cynthia Nixon's bagel order, that dominated headlines while she was running to be governor of New York, it turns out that cream cheese, lox, red onion, tomato and capers on a cinnamon raisin bagel did not sit well with the locals.



PHILLIP: Senator Mark Warner once shared his famous tuna melt recipe, which microwaved white bread with loads of mayo, canned tuna and cheese.


It became world famous for all the wrong reasons. And earlier this year, President Biden was criticized for answering questions about the Israel-Hamas war while eating an ice cream cone. And who could forget Donald Trump's tribute to Cinco de Mayo at the Taco Bowl and the caption, I love Hispanics? That was just a few years after New Yorkers called out his pizza etiquette. And Jon Stewart was particularly offended by this.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Son of a -- and you stack your slices, Donald? No disrespect, I apologize. Let's, let's continue with the meeting. Are you eating it with a fork? A (BEEP) fork? Oh. A fork. Oh.


PHILLIP: And thank you for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now.