Attention-loving lawyer Michael Avenatti has enjoyed basking in the media spotlight this year, beginning with his high-profile representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in a now-dismissed lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
But lately, the news coming out about the attorney-turned-presidential-hopeful has poked glaring holes in his credibility, causing media personalities who once afforded him unending air-time to distance themselves from the provocative Democrat.
What are the details?
According to a report from the Washington Free Beacon, CNN and MSNBC collectively gave Avenatti $175 million in free media coverage in just a two-month period this spring.
The Daily Caller said that from March 7 to May 15, Avenatti was granted 147 interviews on cable news stations — 74 were on CNN, and 57 on MSNBC. On May 16, a now-deleted tweet showed Avenatti partying it up with several CNN talking heads, including Don Lemon, Errol Louis, and Margaret Hoover.
But it seems the networks that were once eager to give Avenatti a platform, are now having second thoughts about the man.
CNN's Chris Cillizza asked in an analysis on Friday, "Can we slow our roll on Michael Avenatti?"
Cillizza went through a litany of recent troubles facing the lawyer — including a possible criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, a court order to pay $4.8 million owed to a former law partner, and Time's report quoting Avenatti as saying that the Democrats' 2020 presidential candidate "better be a white male."
Time just released its transcript of the Avenatti interview on Thursday — a solid four months after they say he made the "white male" comment on June 25.
What did witness tell NBC News?
On Thursday, NBC News reported that a witness accused Avenatti of twisting her words in writing her sworn declaration meant to bolster the sexual misconduct claims against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The unidentified woman's statement alleged that she had witnessed Kavanaugh "spike" punch at parties when he was in high school.
The unnamed witness is the second woman to backtrack on testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Avenatti — the first was Julie Swetnick, Avenatti's client who is also being investigated by the DOJ after making contradictory statements to NBC.
NBC News reported that the so-called witness had clarified during a phone interview Sept. 30, "I didn't ever think it was Brett," refuting her statement issued to the Judiciary Committee. On Oct. 4 she wrote to the outlet, "It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn't see anyone spike the punch...I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one."
Oct. 5 is when the witness told NBC News, "I will definitely talk to you again and no longer Avenatti. I do not like that he twisted my words," yet the network sat on the woman's claims while the Senate voted the next day to narrowly confirm the judge.
When NBC revealed its report on Thursday, the headline said there were "new questions raised about Avenatti."
NBC's investigation into the latest claim caused anchor Chuck Todd to ask on Twitter, "Was this an intentional attempt to mislead our reporters? Evidence points that way...."
Was this an intentional attempt to mislead our reporters? Evidence points that way... https://t.co/MOxE8WiGK4
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 26, 2018
Avenatti vehemently denies all the unflattering claims made against him. In particular, he told The Daily Caller that Time's "white male" report was "complete bulls**t."
With evidence that the media has sat on stories for weeks and months to protect a Democratic presidential hopeful, they can now expect new questions to be raised about their own credibility, too.