CNN’s Chris Cuomo did not cover the arrest of Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti on domestic violence charges on his program Wednesday night, and the rest of the network dedicated scant time to it the entire evening.
MSNBC also offered little coverage of the story despite it being confirmed by The Associated Press and other outlets and later publicly verified by the Los Angeles Police Department.
AP followed less than a half-hour later, with Fox News covering the story shortly thereafter.
CNN’s first mention came at the top of Erin Burnett’s “Out Front” show at 7 p.m. with a tease, but the story was not covered until 40 minutes later.
The Media Research Center clocked CNN spending 2 minutes and 23 seconds on the Avenatti segment, of which it devoted about one minute to covering the charges themselves, an additional minute discussing that TMZ had mistakenly reported the woman who Avenatti allegedly battered was his estranged wife, and 19 seconds speculating how the charges might affect his 2020 presidential aspirations.
Cuomo’s 9 p.m. Eastern program did not cover Avenatti’s arrest at all.
Meanwhile, CNN host Don Lemon waited until his second hour of programming, dedicating a two-minute segment at 11:29 p.m. to the story, which largely consisted of Avenatti’s offering his denial following his release from police custody after making bail.
MRC contrasted the slowly rolled out, scant coverage CNN offered the Avenatti arrest to the speed with which it jumped on the uncorroborated claims of sexual misconduct his client Julie Swetnick made toward then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in September.
“CNN’s Kate Bolduan interrupted a segment on trade to spread the smears until ‘Inside Politics’ began at the top of the hour,” MRC said. “They then spent an additional 30 minutes on it. On that same day, CNN.com had 12 articles mentioning Swetnick.
“As of the publishing of this piece, CNN.com had exactly one on Avenatti’s charges.”
In late October, Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley referred Avenatti and Swetnick to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation relating to a “potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress.”
MRC tabulated that Avenatti appeared on CNN 59 times from March 7 to April 30 — averaging over one appearance a day — to discuss matters relating to his client Daniels, a porn star with whom President Donald Trump allegedly had an affair.
MRC president Brent Bozell tweeted, “Let’s see: Avenatti accuses Trump of being a misogynist and gets hundreds of media interviews. Avenatti is arrested for reportedly beating up a woman and the networks don’t care.”
Let’s see: Avenatti accuses Trump of being a misogynist and gets hundreds of media interviews. Avenatti is arrested for reportedly beating up a woman and the networks don’t care. https://t.co/3O1HN7EsTz
— Brent Bozell (@BrentBozell) November 15, 2018
According to The Washington Free Beacon, the attorney made at least 108 appearances on CNN and MSNBC from March 7 to May 10, which amounted to nearly $175 million in free media coverage.
MRC pointed out that MSNBC was also slow to report on Avenatti’s arrest, waiting until just before 7 p.m. Eastern, when host Ari Melber dedicated 15 seconds to the story.
Host Chris Matthews did not mention Avenatti at all in his “Hardball” program that followed.
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