Friday in Manhattan, sleazy lawyer and former liberal media darling Michael Avenatti was convicted of attempted extortion and honest services fraud for threatening to harm the company if it didn’t pay him $25 million to conduct a probe of their alleged corporate corruption. There’s some irony for you! The charges carry a combined penalty of up to 42 years in prison, but the court system is far from finished with Avenatti. He’s still facing trials in April and May for allegedly defrauding clients out of millions, including porn star Stormy Daniels. And with multiple accusations that he was living his high-flying lifestyle by stealing from clients, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see even more trials in his future.
I can almost feel sorry for Stormy Daniels. Avenatti was so sleazy, he actually managed to lead a porn star astray, convincing her to sue President Trump in a case that she not only lost but was ordered to pay $300,000 in Trump’s legal fee after having her lawyer allegedly steal $300,000 from her. I can also see how a woman desperate for cash might fall for Avenatti’s banana oil, but what is the media’s excuse?
For months, they elevated Avenatti to news channel stardom, giving him a fortune in free publicity and even seriously promoting him as a Democratic presidential contender (why do I get a feeling of déjà vu when I hear people talking about Adam Schiff in the same way?) How hard did they shove Avenatti down the public’s throat? Beckett Adams at the Washington Examiner reminds us:
“CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC featured him for a combined 147 television interviews between March 7 and 15, 2018. That is an average of nearly four interviews on each network per day. This is to say nothing of Avenatti’s many other appearances at the height of his news media-promoted stardom, including at the 2018 White House Correspondents' Association dinner and the MTV Video Music Awards.”
I often get comments of the “how can you defend Trump?” variety. Well, when I disagree with something he says or does, I don’t defend it. But I do defend him when I think he’s the victim of unfair or unfounded attacks. If it seems I’m always defending him, it’s not because I’m a rabid Trump partisan, it’s because his enemies are constantly making unfair and unfounded attacks on him. If I’m going to write about the news, that’s what I have to do constantly!
I’ve been around the block in politics and can spot the tactics (which tend to repeat – remember when George W. Bush was the “war criminal” and “literally Hitler”?) I also am well-connected to primary sources, do a lot of reading and have an excellent research staff. And I like to think I have fairly good judgement about people, which is why I spotted what Avenatti was from day one. Believe me, that’s not any special skill worth bragging about. As Adams writes:
“Anyone could have told you, back when Avenatti first appeared on the ‘resistance’ scene, that he was a sleazy tangle of lies, corruption, and faux bravado. Anyone, that is, except for journalists, always credulous where those hostile toward Trump are involved.”
And that’s the key: all it took was for Avenatti to be vociferously anti-Trump, and claim to possess a weapon (his client’s lawsuit) that might bring down Trump, and he was automatically elevated to hero status. The media, who flatter themselves as the guardians at the portal of truth, will throw due diligence on the trash heap and celebrate anyone who shows potential to harm Trump, regardless of their credibility, from Avenatti to Schiff, from James Comey to Ambassador Sondland to Julie Swetnick (the woman who claimed without evidence that Trump SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavenaugh organized rape gangs in high school, and who was – surprise! – a client of Michael Avenatti.)
When the media complain about Trump “attacking” their credibility, they forget that they long ago flushed away their own credibility by giving a massive platform to any liar or con artist who’s willing to badmouth Trump. It’s funny that they often smear Trump as a “liar” and “con artist,” but when they report on Avenatti’s actual felony convictions, I wonder how many of them will remind us that not that long ago, they were all-in for making him President?