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Avenatti’s media honeymoon is over following Kavanaugh accuser backlash

Avenatti’s media honeymoon is over following Kavanaugh accuser backlash

No private citizen has enjoyed more free airtime on two-thirds of the major cable news networks than Michael Avenatti has in 2018.

{mosads}Tune in to CNN and there’s a decent chance you’ll find him there. If he isn’t on CNN, there’s an equally good chance he’ll be on MSNBC. Since coming onto the scene as Stormy Daniels’s made-for-TV attorney in March, he’s appeared hundreds of times on each network — and that’s not hyperbole. In fact, he’s appeared on virtually all news channels, including a Sept. 27 interview on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

That’s fine if you’re a paid contributor whose job it is to weigh in on whatever is hot in the news that day. But Avenatti is an unpaid guest who originally was booked to talk about Daniels and her case against the president.

That reason for appearing expired months ago. Yet, the 47-year-old attorney continues to be a hot booking for his political punditry. Most recently, Avenatti represented Julie Swetnick, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of being present at multiple high school-era parties involving gang rapes and which she said she repeatedly attended as a college student. The allegation hasn’t been corroborated, of course, and has been largely dismissed, even in some Democratic circles.

Political media now appears to be waking up to Avenatti being a partisan provocateur.

Per The New York Times’s Peter Baker: “Avenatti’s involvement proved a turning point, according to congressional aides from both parties. It was ‘manna from heaven,’ says a GOP aide. ‘Massively unhelpful,’ says a Democrat.”

Per The Washington Post: “Did Michael Avenatti help doom the case against Brett Kavanaugh?”

Per CNN Breaking News Editor Kyle Feldscher: “Hard to state how much Avenatti’s entrance into this process hurt the Democratic effort to bring down Kavanaugh’s nomination.”

Per conservative Erick Erickson: “THANK YOU @MichaelAvenatti!!!!!!!” Thank you. America loves you. God bless you for helping Brett Kavanaugh.”

All, and there are many other examples, were responding to a speech on the Senate floor by moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who specifically noted Swetnick’s allegations as one of the many reasons she voted for Kavanaugh, despite the damage it could do to her politically in the Pine Tree State.

“This outlandish allegation [by Swetnick and Avenatti] was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others,” Collins said. “That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness.”

Avenatti, of course, isn’t remotely backing down despite his client being thoroughly discredited and his inability to produce one named corroborating witness.

Instead, he continues to argue that any scrutiny of Swetnick’s claims or past personal history is an attack on a sexual assault survivor that should bring shame on anyone engaging in such behavior.

“You are right. I should have turned my back on my client,” Avenatti tweeted at Feldscher. “Told her to ‘shut up’ and stay quiet because people like you apparently believe assault victims are to blame. This line of thinking is disgusting and offensive to all survivors. And it makes lawyers not want to help them.”

So what happens the next time Avenatti appears on CNN or MSNBC? Per a New York Times profile on Avenatti in July, he’s not just a guest; he has built relationships with some anchors and executives.

In all likelihood, Avenatti will continue to enjoy as much airtime as he desires, but only if he declares his presidential candidacy.

Only in that scenario would it be warranted to continue booking him. Otherwise, these networks and others will see that its credibility isn’t worth whatever inconsequential ratings boost Avenatti offers.

For Avenatti, the honeymoon must eventually come to an end.

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill and host of “What America’s Thinking.”

This piece has been updated.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh Cable news Joe Concha media Michael Avenatti Supreme Court Susan Collins

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