By Brian Flood
Published May 24, 2019
Ex-CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien took a subtle shot at her former network on Friday, tweeting that embattled attorney Michael Avenatti was on cable news regularly because he was “free” and taken seriously because he is “a white guy” who is on TV a lot.
“Here’s what was learned: if you are bombastic on tv, you will continue to be booked on shows because you are free—and that is important in the cable tv model,” O'Brien tweeted in response to author Charlie Sykes pondering whether or not anything was learned from liberal media’s obsession with Avenatti.
Last year a Media Research Center study revealed that Avenatti appeared on CNN a whopping 74 times over a 10-week period. He made 254 television appearances in one year, including 121 CNN appearances, according to the MRC, and was often billed as a hero of the anti-Trump movement. The now-troubled lawyer even floated a potential presidential run.
“Also—some journalists will pronounce you a Presidential contender in 2020 because you are a white guy who is on tv a lot,” O'Brien added.
O'Brien was presumably referring to CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter, who famously told Avenatti on air last year, "One of the reasons why I'm taking you seriously as a [2020 presidential] contender is because of your presence on cable news.”
Stelter has since backpedaled and admitted that he no longer considers Avenatti a serious presidential candidate.
“Obviously I'm not taking him seriously anymore, but I own that comment. He showed a Trump-like mastery of the media last year,” Stelter wrote on Thursday night.
Avenatti was charged by federal prosecutors in New York Wednesday with defrauding adult-film star Stormy Daniels. He faces one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft and is looking at up to 22 years in prison if convicted of those charges.
The former CNN regular allegedly stole $300,000 belonging to Daniels from a book deal advance, which prosecutors claim he used to "maintain his extravagant lifestyle, including to pay for, among other things, a monthly car payment on a Ferrari.”
Avenatti already faces dozens of other criminal charges, and is looking at the possibility of more than 300 years in federal prison.
In an emailed statement to Fox News, Avenatti said: "I look forward to a jury hearing all of the evidence and passing judgment on my conduct. At no time was any money misappropriated or mishandled. I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages, and documents are presented."
Meanwhile, O'Brien is no stranger to criticizing her former employer. Earlier this month she slammed CNN over a lack of diversity when CNN’s website responded to the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son by asking, “How black will the royal baby be?”
“CNN needs more people of color working in the executive, decision-making ranks. Obviously,” O’Brien captioned the image of CNN’s headline regarding the race of the royal baby.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.