While Brian Stelter just averts his eyes and pretends that Michael Avenatti isn’t a thing, his CNN colleague Chris Cillizza is confronting the issue head-on … by blaming it on Donald Trump:

Oh, this we’ve gotta read:

The rise and fall — and potential criminal collapse — of Avenatti is both not at all surprising and sadly typical of the circus-like political environment in which we all find ourselves.

Avenatti is the sort of person who, in this climate, can’t and won’t be ignored, even as everyone (maybe including Avenatti himself) knew that none of this would end well. At all.

Everyone knew, Chris? Then why did your network work so hard to turn him into a celebrity?

Avenatti came onto the national radar thanks to Donald Trump. He was hired by porn star Stormy Daniels to represent her in a suit in which she sought to end the confidentiality agreement she signed in the run-up to the 2016 election to keep her allegations that she had an affair with Trump in the mid-2000s quiet. Soon after he was brought on in spring 2017, Avenatti, who had always harbored a flair for and love of television, became a near-constant presence on cable news — making the case, loudly, that he had proof that Trump had coordinated payments to Daniels.

Suddenly, Avenatti was everywhere. His seeming ability to back up his braggadocio coupled with his never-say-no attitude toward cable TV appearances and always-lively Twitter feed made him catnip for a political-media culture that has become addicted to the reality TV aspects of Trump’s candidacy and presidency.

Why was he everywhere, Chris? Did he hijack CNN and force you guys to give him airtime?

Hot as they come.

It’s shaping up nicely. And with good reason.

Well, it fits.

Flashback:

But this is all on Trump.

Yep. The media, including CNN, bear probably more responsibility than anyone else for Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency. And they bear more responsibility than anyone else for Michael Avenatti’s meteoric and undeserved rise. Avenatti’s fall is the media’s as well. And the sooner brave firefighters like Cillizza admit that, the better off we’ll all be.

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Related:

Brent Bozell explains why CNN is having ‘a very, very bad day’; Avenatti was on how many times?