A PILLOW-RIDDEN SOFA IN WASHINGTON, D.C. —- “OK LOU!”
This is CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter being all sassy about a jaw-dropping clip of Fox News Business’s Lou Dobbs insisting that Democrats have invented deaths in Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria to discredit President Trump‘s administration.
Let’s start here with today’s writeup of Brian Stelter’s terrible media show on CNN. But before I launch into my critique, I will give Brian one compliment: I like his muted red polka dot tie. It manages to be both understated and elegant.
He sets the show’s usual anti-Trump tone by hall monitoring one of Trump tweets. Trump got the number of deaths in Hurricane Flo wrong, which, yes, is incredibly dumb of him. The correct number at that moment of Trump’s tweet was 11.
“There’s no explanation for why he added that explanation point,” Brian says, sounding a little ridiculous.
Brian, a pretend weatherman, says the death toll is only going to rise from there.
The host quickly starts ripping into Trump for starting conspiracy theories and accusing the media of being fake news. He puts phrases like “the deep state,” “conspiracy theories” and “fake news” on the screen just in case viewers need Brian to explain things like they’re toddlers. Which is obviously annoying.
Let me remind you: Brian plays a “media reporter” on TV who bashes the President because that is what CNN President Jeff Zucker wants him to do.
Before I watched this, I had to see Brian insert himself in another CNN segment and I’m hoping the network realizes that The Balding One jumping into so many segments everyday just because his apartment is close to CNN is not good for anyone. It’s not visually, morally or internally pleasing. Sort of like really wanting a hot fudge sundae but getting a shit sandwich and having to suffer through it.
Brendan Nyhan, a professor from the University of Michigan, is here. He’s skinny and his hair is nicely gelled, but that’s about all he has going for him. There’s no inflection in his voice. He’s as boring as they come and speaks in a monotone. He also agrees with everything Brian says, which is pointless TV.
“Donald Trump has become the conspiracy theory president-in-chief,” he says. “It’s a dangerous combination and one we haven’t seen in American politics before. …As I often say on Twitter, what would you say if you saw this in a foreign country?”
Why would anyone care what this man no one knows says on Twitter? And embarrassingly — he’s twoting himself?
Ohhhhh…but what a great question! Brian can’t resist. So he asks Nyhan what he would say if he saw Trump’s antics in a foreign country.
Nyhan says Trump is assaulting our sense of reality.
Amanda Carpenter, a conservative Trump hater and a CNN commentator, has nice hair today. It’s bouncy and conditioned and she looks like she just walked out of a Suave commercial.
Four eyes Oliver Darcy is on the show. He’s got a thin layer of facial hair spread all over his face and he’s stumbling to explain the now infamous New York Times correction this weekend about UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s drapery.
Long story short: The NYT shit the bed by publishing a story claiming that Haley’s drapery team spent upwards of $52K on curtains, but the drapes actually came from former President Obama‘s administration. Darcy never smiles on TV — he might want to experiment with this facial movement the next time he appears on Brian’s show. Maybe nudge Brian into lightening things up.
Darcy quickly skips over conservative media making a big deal out of the NYT screwup. But he appears to know his facts.
“Where was [sic] the editors? Why did this get through?” Darcy asks. “The story itself contradicted the headline.”
But the damage was done.
“Yes, the New York Times fixed it, so good on them, but that was long after others ran with it,” Carpenter says, noting that a Democratic congressman called for hearings before and even after the story was corrected.
For much of the segment, Amanda waits patiently on a giant screen behind Brian and Darcy for the two men to stop yammering and include her in the conversation.
Brian’s next guest is one that he’s been promoting as his hot get. It’s Michael Avenatti, a seriously possible Democratic presidential hopeful and the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels. To be sure, when cable news calls, Avenatti comes running.
Except maybe he got a little ahead of himself the other night during “Tucker Carlson Tonight” over on Fox News.
Brian says Avenatti went into the “lion’s den” by going on Carlson’s program. The host simply wants to know: WHY? Why would you knowingly and foolishly walk into a lion’s den?
“Sometimes you have to go into the belly of the beast, as they say, and take on some of these individuals even if they are entirely unprofessional like Tucker Carlson,” Avenatti replied.
Avenatti, a giant man-baby, thinks he won his interview with Carlson. Which is hilarious and wrong.
“I think Tucker lost whatever modicrum [sic] of respect he had as a journalist he had left as a result of that interview,” the porn star’s lawyer said.
I’m not sure what “modicrum” means, but maybe it involves the crumby feeling Avenatti had after he appeared on Carlson’s program.
Avenatti said Tucker didn’t follow the “rules” of the show, which included not being interrupted.
Carlson is my former boss, and I’m biased. But I also have a brain and eyes. Avenatti looked like a completely humorless twig and lost that interview as he argued the “rules” of Carlson’s show while the chyron flashed “Creepy Porn Lawyer” beneath him.
Creepy seems like an apt description. At his most irate, Avenatti pounded a dirty one-liner at Carlson that Trump had sex with Stormy WITHOUT A CONDOM while 4-month-old Barron lay sleeping in his bed.
If you watch Carlson’s show even once, you know what can happen. If you think that somehow you’re going to implement “rules” on a show like Carlson’s, you’re insane. Just ask The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, who went on Carlson’s show and looked like a frightened child.
It’s not like Carlson and Avenatti were soulmates before Avenatti appeared on his program. They couldn’t stand each other. Avenatti should have had the wisdom to a) not go on the show or b) become a man who is not such a fucking baby who can laugh at himself.
Even Brian seems to think Avenatti insisting on these “prerequisite rules” is a little lame. “Hey, hold on, If you’re going to be a fighter, you’re going to have to get used to people talking over you,” Brian says.
Avenatti whines that he wasn’t given “ample time” to answer some of the “ridiculous questions” he was asked.
Someone give this guy a baby’s bonnet.
Brian then does the unthinkable: He defends The Daily Caller. WHAT?!
He asks about a defamation lawsuit Avenatti threatened against The Daily Caller and called it “Trumpian tactics.”
Brian asks, “How is that appropriate for anyone thinking of running for office?”
Avenatti whines, “I don’t believe the Daily Caller’s individuals are journalists by any stretch of the imagination.”
“That’s very Trumpy,” Brian says, interrupting him.
Avenatti says journalists are not all created equal. “When people engage in tactics and make things up, I’m going to call them out on it,” he says, not really answering the question.
Brian then questions Avenatti about his Twitter practices, which, again, make him seem like an infant.
The baby presidential hopeful says he can block and unblock whoever he wants because he’s a “private citizen.” No matter that he has been parading himself around all the shows, including ABC’s “The View” telling people he’s strongly weighing a presidential bid.
Poor Avenatti. He doesn’t like foul language or meanies like Obama’s former speechwriter Jon Favreau, who he has apparently unblocked.
“I was treated with complete disrespect and I don’t think anyone should have to deal with that,” Avenatti says of Carlson’s show.
“I don’t think you seem that creepy, but that’s just me,” Brian says, ultimately sucking up to creepy porn lawyer (CPL).
Avenatti thanked him — “Thank you, Thanks Brian,” he says all seriously. The porn star’s lawyer says he knows the other networks would never treat him like the way Carlson did the other night.
So, yes, the press whore porn star’s lawyer will continue to appear on cable news — just probably not Carlson’s show.