CNN’s Chris Cillizza has a piece up today titled “Can we slow our roll on Michael Avenatti?” That headline makes me laugh a bit for a couple of reasons. First, and most obviously, it’s the fact that Avenatti has had a really bad, no good week. Between his interview talking about the need for a white, male nominee, Chuck Grassley’s referral of him (and Swetnick) to the DOJ for investigation, his loss in court to Trump in a defamation case, and the $5 million judgment for back wages—Avenatti’s stock is sinking.
But what’s really funny about the headline is the way it assumes a perspective that many of us have never shared. You think “we” should slow “our” roll? Who is we? Who was rolling with this Democratic presidential wannabe in the first place? Not me, that I can tell you. This is the guy a lot of Democrats fell for as a great answer to Trump in 2020. Tell them to slow their role.
But the humor of this piece doesn’t end with the headline. Here’s how it opens: “Everywhere you turn, Michael Avenatti is there.” Um, yeah. I wonder how this previously unknown lawyer became a household name? Let’s ponder that, shall we?
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 TVEyes.com.
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).
Having CNN’s Editor-at-large tell us to slow our role on Avenatti is like having Dr. Frankenstein tell us not to get carried away with reanimating corpses in the lab. You first, amigo.
Of course, the reality is that now that the wheels are coming off the Avenatti bus, he’ll probably be showing up a lot less often on CNN. Remember David Hogg? He was on CNN all the time for a while. And then he embarrassed himself publicly a few times and the focus of the network moved on to other stories. You don’t see him on CNN much anymore. The same will likely happen with Avenatti.
We’ll just have to see what left-wing crusader the network decides to make into a star next. Then six months later, when his or her usefulness has ended or he has made a fool of himself, Chris Cillizza can tell us to slow our roll.