Nets Push Conspiracy Theory Stormy Daniels Arrest Was ‘Politically Motivated’

On Thursday, all three network morning shows promoted the conspiracy theory that the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels at an Ohio strip club for misdemeanor sex offences was a “politically motivated” “sting operation” designed to embarrass the adult film actress, who accused President Trump of having an affair with her in 2006. The NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all touted such claims from Daniels’ media hound attorney Michael Avenatti.

“Stormy Daniels arrested in Columbus, Ohio, overnight while performing at a strip club, charged with misdemeanor sex offenses. Daniels’ attorney claiming the arrest is politically motivated,” co-host Hoda Kotb breathlessly announced in a news brief for NBC’s Today show.

 

 

At the top of ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Michael Strahan proclaimed: “The adult film star, who says she had an affair with Donald Trump, taken into custody during one of her shows. Her lawyer now calling it a sting operation.”

In a full report that followed minutes later on GMA, Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas parroted Avenatti “crying foul” over the arrest:

In a series of tweets, her attorney Michael Avenatti saying Daniels was arrested for “allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a non sexual manner!” Avenatti also claiming the arrest “was a setup & politically motivated.” Adding, “It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges.”

The reporter briefly countered that spin with details of the incident: “But authorities claim otherwise, writing that Daniels, formerly known as Stephanie Clifford, forced the faces of patrons into her chest, among other actions, including inappropriately touching female patrons.”

During a news brief on CBS This Morning, co-host John Dickerson informed viewers: “Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who was paid to keep quiet about a 2006 alleged affair with the president, was arrested at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio, overnight.”

Like his NBC and ABC colleagues, Dickerson highlighted Avenatti’s attempt to claim his client was the victim of political persecution: “Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, called her arrest a sting operation. He tweeted, quote, ‘This was a setup & politically motivated. We will fight all bogus charges.’”

In addition to the brief item on NBC’s Today show, in the 9:00 a.m. ET hour, Megyn Kelly Today devoted an entire panel discussion to the topic. Anchor Megyn Kelly pointed out: “Michael Avenatti is alleging this whole thing is a set up. That this is trumped up, if you will.” Following a round of laughter, NBC News reporter Stephanie Gosk eagerly bought into the conspiracy theory:

My first question is, would those undercover vice officers have been in that club if Stormy Daniels was not there? I mean, it just seems a little coincidental that that was the night they decided to show up. Also, the local newspaper in Ohio says that this law, which has been on the books for a while, actually has never been enforced or so rarely enforced. You have to wonder a little bit about the circumstances.

Kelly replied: “It was the passed 11 years ago. And if it turns out that this is the very first time someone’s ever gotten arrested for it, then that does stink.” Gosk added: “I mean, come on.” Amy Holmes, host of PBS’s In Principle, chimed in: “I smell conspiracy and some other unpleasant things with this story.”

Holmes then turned to the most important aspect of the story: “I think the question that all of America is asking is did he work the mug shot?” Kelly gushed: “She did! We’ve got the mug shot! She’s – look how beautiful she looks in her mug shot.” Holmes fawned: “She’s amazing, I love it.”

Kelly concluded: “God forbid I should ever get arrested, I hope it happens right after a show. I hope it happens right after I come off the air so I can look as good in my mug shot.”

In her rush to defend Daniels against criticism from Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in June, the morning show anchor actually compared First Lady Melania Trump to the porn star.

Here is a full transcript of July 12 panel discussion on Kelly’s program:

9:04 AM ET

MEGYN KELLY: Alright, in very different news, we have got to talk about Stormy Daniels.

AMY HOLMES [PBS HOST, IN PRINCIPLE]: Must we?

KELLY: We do. Who’s back in the news today. She was arrested. [Gasps from audience] Yes, she was performing her –

HOLMES: She was not arrested for protesting the killing of baby seals, okay.

KELLY: She was performing her Make America Horny Again routine. [Laughter] I am not – you can’t make it up. It’s her – you know, she’s an adult film star but she’s dancing now. [Laughter]

HOLMES: Megyn, do you want to say that word again on national television?

KELLY: Make America Horny Again! And she apparently got arrested in Columbus, Ohio because there was some vice officers in the audience and you’re not allowed, when you’re stripping, to touch the audience. You can’t touch the audience and they’re not allowed to touch you. And that they’re –

STEPHANIE GOSK: In Ohio.

KELLY: They’re alleging – in Ohio. I don’t know, yeah, in Ohio at least. Police say that she illegally touched three different police officers during the performance. Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, claims that somebody touched her. And Michael Avenatti is alleging this whole thing is a set up. That this is trumped up, if you will. [Laughter]

GOSK: My first question is –

HOLMES: That’s a good one.

KELLY: Thank you.

GOSK: My first question is, would those undercover vice officers have been in that club if Stormy Daniels was not there? I mean, it just seems a little coincidental that that was the night they decided to show up. Also, the local newspaper in Ohio says that this law, which has been on the books for a while, actually has never been enforced or so rarely enforced. You have to wonder a little bit about the circumstances.

KELLY: It was the passed 11 years ago. And if it turns out that this is the very first time someone’s ever gotten arrested for it, then that does stink.

GOSK: I mean, come on.  

HOLMES: I smell conspiracy and some other unpleasant things with this story. [Laughter] But, Megyn, I think the question that all of America is asking is did he work the mug shot?

KELLY: She did! We’ve got the mug shot! She’s – look how beautiful she looks in her mug shot.

HOLMES: She’s amazing, I love it.

KELLY: I swear, I resolved it with my team this morning, God forbid I should ever get arrested, I hope it happens right after a show. I hope it happens right after I come off the air so I can look as good in my mug shot. Just get me on the way out of work, not on the way in, that’s all I ask.


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