Avenatti Who? CNN, MSNBC Skimp on Porn Lawyer’s Arrest on Abuse Charges

CNN’s New Day and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, two programs with a combined six hours of air time, on Thursday managed a total of 67 seconds on the felony abuse arrest charges against Michael Avenatti. This is despite their previous fascination with the porn lawyer and Democratic antagonist to President Trump. 

CNN’s New Day offered a scant 27 seconds to the news. Co-host John Berman briefly explained, “Attorney Michael Avenatti strongly denies any wrongdoing after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.” Though Berman noted that “there are a lot of open questions” and “we need to get more information on the story,” clearly the show’s hosts weren’t that interested. 

 

 

MSNBC’s Morning Joe only did slightly better, managing 44 seconds in a Willie Geist news brief: 

Michael Avenatti has been arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of felony domestic abuse. The alleged incident took place on Tuesday. The details have not been publicly disclosed, including the reporting party or any potential injuries. Avenatti, who has risen to fame as the attorney for Stormy Daniels and is considering a run, he says, for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, has been released on $50,000 bond. 

Again, these shows are a combined six hours long. From March 17 through August 12, Morning Joe interviewed Avenatti 7 times. During the same period, CNN’s New Day talked to him 13 times. Yet suddenly, news of the Democratic lawyer’s arrest is uninteresting. 

The networks on Thursday preformed better than CNN and MSNBC. ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today offered full reports. GMA journalists discussed the story for 2 minutes and 6 seconds. Today allowed 2 minutes and 42 seconds. CBS This Morning reporters acted more like their cable colleagues, managing just 47 seconds in a news brief. 

The Wednesday night and Thursday morning totals are as follows: ABC: 2 minutes and 34 seconds. CBS 2 minutes and 23 seconds. NBC 3 minutes and 40 seconds. 

All three networks highlighted Avenatti’s strong denials. GMA co-host George Stephanopoulos began by noting that the Stormy Daniels lawyer “is not taking this lightly.” Reporter Paula Faris touted that “Avenatti is out to clear his name.”

On CBS This Morning, Norah O’Donnell related, “Avenatti told the reporters the charge is false and he expects to be cleared.” On NBC’s Today, Hallie Jackson told viewers: “The Vermont Democratic Party has canceled Avenatti's scheduled appearances in that state as Avenatti overnight on Twitter again insists he has done nothing wrong.” 

In September, MRC Research Director Rich Noyes found that, despite a deluge of coverage on sexual abuse allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, only a mere eight percent focused on his denials. 

To read how CNN and MSNC covered Avenatti on Wednesday night, go here

[Thanks to the MRC’s Nick Fondacaro and Bill D’Agostino for research numbers.]

Transcripts of the Morning Joe and New Day briefs are below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Morning Joe
11/15/18
6:20:05 to 6:20:49
44 seconds 

WILLIE GEIST: Michael Avenatti has been arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of felony domestic abuse. The alleged incident took place on Tuesday. The details have not been publicly disclosed, including the reporting party or any potential injuries. Avenatti, who has risen to fame as the attorney for Stormy Daniels and is considering a run, he says, for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has been released on $50,000 bond. 

He released a statement denying the quote “bogus allegation.” His estranged wife says she was not involved in the alleged incident and both she and his first wife released statements saying he never had been violent. The L.A. Times reports Avenatti is set to make his first court appearance on December the 5th, citing online booking records. 

New Day
11/15/18
7:44:09 to 7:44:36
27 seconds 
JOHN BERMAN:  Attorney Michael Avenatti strongly denies any wrongdoing after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. Overnight, he wrote that he did not commit domestic violence. He says he never struck a woman in the face, right? And he looks forward to being exonerated. It's unclear who made the claim, but it’s not his estranged wife as first reported. But he was arrested. There are a lot of open questions. We need to get more information on the story. 
 


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