Brian Stelter Defends Past Praise of Avenatti: ‘He Showed a Trump-Like Mastery of the Media Last Year’

CNN’s Brian Stelter insists he doesn’t take Michael Avenatti seriously anymore, but he will not apologize for how he appraised the embattled lawyer’s skill in driving the media.

Recently, critics have used Avenatti’s escalating legal troubles to accuse Stelter and other media figures of recklessly catapulting Stormy Daniels’ former attorney to stardom. In his latest newsletter, Stelter defended the newsworthiness of interviewing Avenatti while he was Daniels’ representative, and he also hit back at people who he claims took him out of context for saying “I’m taking [Avenatti] seriously as a contender” against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Stelter noted that those comments came during an interview he did with Avenatti last year, which was part of a broader segment about media star power becoming a necessary “prerequisite” for successful politicians. In this sense, Stelter’s comments on Avenatti were a reflection of his thesis that “all future US presidents will be television stars of some sort,” and the theory “still holds” true according to him.

“Obviously I’m not taking him seriously anymore, but I own that comment,” Stelter writes. “He showed a Trump-like mastery of the media last year. I think there’s been a lot of introspection in newsrooms about the reasons for that mastery. I think what’s most important now is that the cases against him are covered fairly and thoroughly, not soft-pedaled by people who previously interviewed him OR sensationalized by people who dislike him.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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