When you read the tweet I’m about to post, you are going to think it’s from the Onion. This is probably the least self-aware thing I’ve ever seen and that’s saying something.
Given the recent news about Michael Avenatti being indicted in multiple jurisdictions, certain media personalities are feeling the need to distance themselves. You see, many of our most trusted journalists got into bed with this guy and spread his venom, whether about Trump or during the Kavanaugh hearings.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza of “journalists don’t take sides!” fame decided to go a step further with a take so hot that it melts steel.
"Trump may have created the environment in which someone like Avenatti could be taken semi-seriously as a presidential candidate. But Avenatti's fall also proves there is only one Donald Trump out there."https://t.co/ehFzXyjR1P
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) March 25, 2019
There’s gaslighting and then there’s whatever the heck Cillizza is doing here. This is next level stuff.
Even without CNN’s behavior regarding Avenatti, this would be a dumb take. But it’s other worldly stupid because CNN is the primary entity responsible for the promotion of Avenatti. Until they decided to let him sublet a studio from them, he was little more than an ambulance chaser. They built him up into a media sensation and Democratic party icon.
In fact, the relationship between CNN and Avenatti was so strong that they had on air discussions about a Presidential run, including one of their “journalists” fluffing the possibility as legitimate.
From just six months ago, CNN has a serious discussion of presidential prospects with Michael Avenatti: pic.twitter.com/v2eiRDaVyE
— Byron York (@ByronYork) March 25, 2019
Avenatti was also allowed to appear on CNN at unheard of levels until he eventually lost his shirt during the Kavanaugh debacle. He appeared on CNN 74 times over just a 10 week period in 2018. He appeared on Anderson Cooper’s very serious show 20 times in that timeframe.
Avenatti, who most notably represented adult film star Stephanie Clifford, professionally known as Stormy Daniels, became a regular guest on CNN and MSNBC last spring. During 10 weeks in 2018 from March to May, Avenatti appeared on cable news 147 times, according to Newsbusters. Of those appearances, 131 of them came on either CNN or MSNBC, with CNN topping MSNBC 74-57.
Avenatti most frequently appeared on CNN, making 20 appearances on “Anderson Cooper 360.” He also made 16 appearances on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.”
Keep in mind, that’s just the 10 week period where he appeared the most. He’s been on the network well over 100 times total. He was given $175M in a free media between CNN and MSNBC.
But yes Chris, tell us more about how it’s Trump’s fault that Avenatti was elevated to a possible Presidential candidate. Wait, what? Amazingly, Cillizza himself was pushing the idea of Avenatti for President not too long ago despite his insane contention today.
The truth is, CNN saw Avenatti as yet another way to attack the President. Despite his checkered past, they gave him a second home on the network and allowed him to spew his nonsense virtually unchecked for nearly a year. It wasn’t until real life caught up with him that they decided he wasn’t worthy of attention. This was journalistic malpractice at the highest level and for CNN or any of their employees to try to pretend they weren’t at the center of Avenatti’s rise is laughable.
To be sure, there were others, even on the right, who played along. People who, while constantly harping about Trump’s character, happily got in bed with a creep like Avenatti just because they thought they could damage Trump. In doing so, they showed the principles they constantly harped about where simply a plot device for their chosen narrative. The fact remains though that CNN was by far the worse offender. They can’t run from that now.
CNN’s President, Jeff Zucker, may call Fox News propaganda but he needs to take a hard look in the mirror. His own network has been disgraced by their awful coverage of the Russia collusion investigation. Less than 24 hours later, they were further disgraced by the indictment of a con man who they raised up and treated as a legitimate source simply because he yelled at Trump really loud. That’s not news. It’s activism and it’s exactly what CNN is at this point.
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