Which Spectator contributor will be jailed next? Taki and Michael Avenatti have both done time after bylining in these august pages — and Roger Stone only swerved his 40-month sentence by the grace of President Trump.
It could be argued that The Spectator’s decision to publish Michael Avenatti was not our finest moment. The Creepy Porn Lawyer, as Tucker Carlson insisted on calling him, is not the best egg in the anti-Trump basket. But we believe in free speech, and Avenatti was eager to trash Beto O’Rourke and that’s always good idea. And though extortion — the crime for which he was yesterday sentenced to 30 months in jail — is bad, the malfeasance seems slightly less awful when you realize the company he was trying to rip off was Nike, which makes gazillions while ramping up racial tensions in America.
‘Mr Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous,’ US District Judge Paul Gardephe said during sentencing. ‘Mr Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived his platform to be.’
Very well, Judge Paul. But he wasn’t exactly picking on the little guy. Avenatti is an archetype of the Trump years: another ridiculous conman who somehow got the world to take him seriously. (For the record, The Spectator never fell for him.) And if he did become ‘drunk on power’, well the people to blame are the TV anchors who slobbered praise on him because he represented a porn star who had slept with, and could therefore hurt, President Trump. People like Brian Stelter:
CNN's Brian Stelter last year on Michael Avenatti running for president: "And looking ahead to 2020, one reason I’m taking you seriously as a contender is because of your presence on cable news.” pic.twitter.com/2Wn2bX17kx
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 22, 2019
And like MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who said he was ‘brilliant’ and ‘mad telegenic’:
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) July 8, 2021
So again — who will be the next Speccie author to fall foul of the law? Cockburn is as clean as they come, obviously. Bill McMorris however…