As the feds made clear earlier this week, liberal icon/hero Michael Avenatti is going to be tied up in even more legal woes courtesy of fresh fraud and extortion indictments. Avenatti, of course, has alleged that this is a political hit job, and says he will be completely exonerated once all is said and done.
While many have unapologetically basked in the schadenfreude glow at seeing Avenatti get his just desserts, CNN‘s self-styled mainstream media defender Brian Stelter is doing what he believes is correcting the record when it comes to defending his critical role in the meteoric rise of porn star Stormy Daniels’s former attorney.
From Stelter’s Thursday newsletter (bolded emphasis added by him):
With Michael Avenatti facing charges in multiple states, WaPo’s Erik Wemple went back and examined the reasons for Avenatti’s “cable-news ubiquity,” which has been intensely criticized by conservative media critics. I played a starring role in this Free Beacon mash-up [LINK] of TV outlets talking with Avenatti, so Wemple asked me for comment… And here’s what I told him:
There are lots and lots of reasons why Avenatti was newsworthy when he was representing Stormy Daniels. Journalists did their jobs and questioned him — some more effectively than others. Critics are doing their jobs and questioning the coverage — and that makes all of us better. But bad faith arguments make us all worse off. Some folks have been distorting my comment last September about Avenatti. My thesis back then, which still holds, is that all future US presidents will be television stars of some sort. TV star power will be a prerequisite for the presidency. [That’s why] I told Avenatti “one reason I’m taking you seriously as a contender is because of your presence on cable news.”
Obviously I’m not taking him seriously anymore, but I own that comment. He showed a Trump-like mastery of the media last year. I think there’s been a lot of introspection in newsrooms about the reasons for that mastery. I think what’s most important now is that the cases against him are covered fairly and thoroughly, not soft-pedaled by people who previously interviewed him OR sensationalized by people who dislike him.
While it’s true that Stelter called him a “master of the media” last year, to suggest that his primary motivation for talking up Avenatti so much was because he was a possible presidential contender is absolutely absurd.
Not only that, but his assertion that some journalists questioned the disgraced lawyer “more effectively than others” is absolutely laughable. As the Free Beacon video made clear, Avenatti got the pillow plumping treatment everywhere he went on cable news – except for Fox News, where Tucker Carlson called him out for the shameless exploiter that he is.
As I’ve written previously, the Free Beacon video montage expertly reminded us of how leftists and media types (like Stelter himself) hung on to Avenatti’s every word, with some even bizarrely likening him to a political “Holy Spirit.” Why? Because they just knew Avenatti was going to be the guy who was going to take Trump down.
Stelter and other journalists are now busy running away from their close associations with Avenatti. But one thing they can’t hide from is how their coddling of him at the expense of their journalistic principles only further erodes their already-damaged credibility.
—Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–