Estimate: Cable news nets have given Michael Avenatti $175 million worth of airtime

C’mon, there’s no way this Free Beacon analysis is accurate.

I would have guessed $160 million, tops.

He told the Hollywood Reporter a few days ago, “I have no intention of having a career in television.” Er, he already has one.

The Washington Free Beacon analyzed 108 appearances by Avenatti on MSNBC and CNN over a 64-day period from March 7 to May 10. To calculate his earned media time, the Free Beacon multiplied the length of his appearances on a program by its “National Publicity Value” determination from media monitoring site

The total came out to $174,631,598.07 from at least 65 CNN appearances and 43 MSNBC appearances. Avenatti’s favorite shows include CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” (at least 20 interviews), MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (14), CNN’s “New Day” (12), CNN’s “Tonight with Don Lemon” (eight), and MSNBC’s “Deadline White House” (seven).

As previously reported by conservative media watch dog NewsBusters, Avenatti has appeared on CNN an average of more than once per day during the period under analysis.

By one estimate Trump himself received $2 billion in “earned media” from the news networks by Super Tuesday of the 2016 primaries, although Trump of course was already mega-famous before the race began and was, after all, running for president. Avenatti’s managed to rake in about a tenth that amount in the span of a couple months thanks to a presidential sex scandal, the endlessly unspooling stupidity of Michael Cohen, and his own willingness to appear on TV seemingly at any time. Note too that the estimate only includes appearances on cable news. As Free Beacon author David Rutz notes, it doesn’t account for all the appearances Avenatti has done in other formats like morning television, Bill Maher’s show, late night, etc. Avenatti touted one of those on Twitter just yesterday, in fact.

Another thing: He’s doing it with no help from Fox. If I’m not mistaken, the only FNC show he’s been on is Shannon Bream’s in March. He was, allegedly, scheduled on Martha MacCallum’s show recently but canceled at the last minute. Tucker Carlson invited him on but Avenatti told his producer that he only wants to do Hannity’s show, an obviously deliberate slight to Carlson. (Or is it a compliment, with Avenatti suspecting he’d have a harder time outmaneuvering Tucker in an interview?) Whether he’s avoiding Fox because he’s wary of the hostile reception he’d get there or because he’s building a brand as a #Resistance hero and wants viewers to identify him with anti-Trump CNN and MSNBC, the fact remains that he’s somehow achieved cable ubiquity without any exposure on the most highly rated cable news network in the country.

And there’s no end in sight. Stormy Daniels’s civil suit against Cohen was stayed for 90 days in late April to give Cohen some time to deal with the federal criminal probe in Manhattan, but even if the feds end up not charging him with anything, Daniels’s suit will resume in late July. That means Avenatti will remain relevant for the rest of the summer at a minimum. And because he seems to have more information about Cohen’s “EC, LLC” dealings than even the media has, he’s a legit newsmaker in the short and medium term. You can understand the temptation CNN and MSNBC feel to keep having him on: At any moment the guy might leak or tease some new dubious new allegation about Cohen or Trump that’ll drive the news for the next three days. Case in point:

Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn, eh? Eventually his relevance will fade and his gigs on cable will be mainly as a Geragos-esque jack-of-all-trades law-pundit but he’ll be in the eye of the Trump news hurricane for the foreseeable future. Here’s Tucker from a few days ago, not taking Avenatti’s rejection of an interview offer so well.