Politics

CNN Is Now All-Porn Star Lawyer All the Time

Media Research Center claims cable network morphed 'into a predictable and parochial forum in which Trump bashers can vent' with Michael Avenatti

Porn star Stormy Daniels’ allegations against President Donald Trump were so exciting for CNN that the network did 59 on-air interviews with her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, in less than two months, the Media Research Center (MRC) reported Wednesday.

That’s more than one interview every day for Avenatti from March 7 through April 30, MRC found after analyzing transcripts and videos from all of CNN’s coverage during that period. CNN host Anderson Cooper conducted more than one-third of the network’s Avenatti interviews. Cooper also conducted CBS News’ much-hyped “60 Minutes” interview with Daniels in March.

“I think what this study shows is that CNN has morphed from the international news network first envisioned by Ted Turner into a predictable and parochial forum in which Trump bashers can vent for 20 hours a day,” Rich Noyes, MRC’s research director, told LifeZette.

“Their hours are filled with speculation about how Trump will be brought down by the Stormy Daniels case, or the Russia probe, or some other scandal, real or imagined,” Noyes continued. “Thus, they will donate massive airtime to a guest like Avenatti whose claim to fame is representing a porn actress, and who seems to do most of his legal work in a TV studio instead of a courtroom.”

Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump more than 10 years ago while he was married to first lady Melania Trump. The FBI conducted raids in April on the home, office, and hotel room of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in a move that stemmed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

As a result, Cohen is now under investigation for potential campaign finance law violations and a $130,000 payment that allegedly was hush money for Daniels during Trump’s campaign. She is now embroiled in a legal dispute with Trump as she seeks release from a nondisclosure agreement she signed in connection with the $130,000. Many of Trump’s liberal critics openly hope that the president could be impeached if he were to lie under oath about the Daniels controversy.

Avenatti’s ubiquity on CNN during the studied period overshadowed other more significant news, including the developing story of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s agreement to a summit meeting with Trump regarding denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Noyes noted that CNN “and the rest of the liberal media” can’t seem “to shake their own obsession with scandal coverage” while giving “relatively little airtime to the economy, immigration, or foreign policy. No wonder the public regards them as out of touch.”

As Avenatti and Daniels dominated CNN’s coverage, the cable network’s previous darling, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) faded, despite his being the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. That panel has been at the center of the Trump-Russia controversy from the beginning.

“By comparison, CNN hosted House Democrat Adam Schiff (CA) — who had been a favorite of the network — 10 times during the months of March and April,” MRC’s Bill D’Agostino wrote in his analysis of the report. “That would be a generous portion of airtime for any politician, but it was barely one-sixth the exposure granted to a lawyer overwhelmingly known for representing a porn star.”

Related: ‘Chilling Effect’ Seen in ‘Outrageous and Unprecedented’ Raid on Trump Lawyer

Although CNN interviewed Schiff a total of 17 times in January and February before the Daniels-Avenatti obsession heated up, CNN interviewed the California Democrat on air just 10 times during Avenatti’s 59.

“We didn’t survey all guests, so we actually don’t know who the number-two most interviewed guest was,” Noyes told LifeZette. “We just searched for interviews with Avenatti and Schiff because we knew they both had a reputation as frequent guests. Then we tallied the GOP senators because we didn’t expect that to be a lot, and it wasn’t (comparatively).”

MRC found that “all 51 Republican senators combined received just 34 interviews on the cable network” in March and April as CNN became engulfed in its Daniels craze.

“But I don’t think there is anyone outside of a paid CNN contributor who has spent more time on the air than Avenatti,” Noyes said.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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