The same day that The New York Times reported that a television show featuring Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was pitched to CNN and MSNBC recently (after Avenatti told The Hollywood Reporter that he was not considering a career in television), an Op/Ed by Joe Concha at The Hill, the political news site read by more lawmakers than any other, states that it’s time to take the self-promoting, thin-skinned Avenatti off the air.
Avenatti, who lately has threatened reporters over unfavorable coverage, has been interviewed an astounding 147 times on broadcast and cable news shows overall in the past ten weeks, including 74 times on CNN, and 57 times on MSNBC.
And during this stretch on the air, and on Twitter and email, there have been times when the credibility of the 47-year-old attorney has been called into question by his critics, as he continues to be provided perhaps more airtime than any non-payroll person on cable news in recent memory.
The most recent example of Avenatti arguably providing speculation as fact came after a May 3 NBC News report that the feds put a wiretap on the phones of President Trump‘s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.Shortly after the news broke, Avenatti was invited on MSNBC and asked about the report, where he offered up this additional bombshell:
“I don’t think we’re going to find out that this was confined just to email or voice wiretaps. My understanding is that they were also wiretapping text message communications for the weeks leading up to the FBI raids,” Avenatti told anchor Kasie Hunt.
“I also think that it will ultimately be disclosed that during these wiretaps the FBI learned of means by which Michael Cohen and others were going to potentially destroy or spoliate evidence or documentation,” he continued. “That’s what served as the predicate or the basis for them to be able to go in and get the warrant to search the home, the office and the hotel room of Michael Cohen.”
. . .
Hunt pushed back, asking if he was merely speculating, given the weight and sensitivity around the information he provided regarding wiretapping text message communications, which was not part of the original NBC report.
“I’m not speculating, that’s a fact,” he replied.
Fast forward a few hours later to NBC’s correction of the story.
Turns out that there was no wiretap but, rather, that something called a pen register was applied, which limits the information captured to a log of calls, and “not a wiretap where investigators can actually listen to calls,” per the official NBC correction.
In any sane media world, two things would happen to Avenatti:
A) He wouldn’t be booked to go on the air again after being exposed for engaging in exactly what Hunt pressed him on in terms of whether he was speculating or presenting factual information. Simply put, it appears Avenatti provided the former.
B) He would be booked to go back on the air, but any interview conducted would consist solely of him being pressed to offer his own correction/retraction/apology.
I never felt more satisfied or optimistic than when I rode the river in my youth.