Posted by Curt on 9 December, 2022 at 9:53 am. 1 comment.


By Aaron Kliegman

Anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti’s 14-year prison sentence caps a stunning years-long fall from grace right before the public’s eyes. He’s hardly alone.
In recent years, the mainstream media has spent significant time doting on and promoting several high-profile Democrats and anti-Trump figures who went on to disgrace themselves, often finding themselves in serious legal trouble, or losing their luster in other ways.
These figures were heralded as “rising stars,” great statesmen, potential future presidents, and groundbreaking visionaries only to lose influence and often be accused of misconduct, if not charged with or convicted of outright crimes.
Here are seven examples of such prematurely anointed onetime media darlings:
1. Michael Avenatti
Avenatti rose to fame while representing Stormy Daniels, a porn star with whom former President Donald Trump allegedly had a liaison. An uninhibited critic of Trump, he predicted the 45th president wouldn’t “serve out his term” due to the alleged dirt he was trying to publicize.
As a result of his bold predictions and blunt attacks on Trump, the lawyer became a regular guest on both late-night and daytime shows in 2018. He was especially a fixture on CNN and MSNBC, where according to one study he made 230 combined appearances over the course of a year.
Journalists hailed Avenatti for talking tough and posing “an existential threat to the Trump presidency,” even dubbing him “the savior of the republic.”
Many media outlets — including CNNPolitico, and New York magazine, among others — pushed the idea of Avenatti running for president as a Democrat in 2020.
But then Avenatti’s actions caught up with him. in June, he was sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding Daniels, following a July 2021 prison sentence of two and a half years for attempting to extort millions from sportswear company Nike.
Separately, he pleaded guilty in June to multiple counts of wire fraud in connection with taking money from his clients. He also admitted to obstructing the IRS’ attempt to collect millions in tax revenue owed in connection with his law firm’s purchase of a coffee company. Avenatti on Monday received a 14-year prison sentence for those crimes.
2. Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried, the now-bankrupt founder and former chief executive of cryptocurrency giant FTX, has received fawning media coverage over the past two years.
Vox, for example, hailed him as “an uncannily sharp altruistic billionaire.” The New York times touted the “crypto emperor,” noting how he always wore shorts and was “studiously disheveled.” Bloomberg Markets praised the one-time billionaire him for “wanting to give his fortune away.”
Then FTX collapsed and filed for bankruptcy last month. An estimated one million FTX customers and other investors are facing combined losses worth billions of dollars due to alleged misuse of the money by company leadership. A recently filed court document showed FTX owes its 50 biggest creditors nearly $3.1 billion. The companies’ total liabilities are estimated at more than $10 billion, as against roughly $1 billion in assets, according to media reports and court documents.
Bankman-Fried is facing allegations that he secretly transferred billions of dollars from FTX to another one of his firms, Alameda Research, which also filed for bankruptcy. He hasn’t been charged with a crime but may reportedly be charged with fraud.
Amid such reports, Bankman-Fried has denied knowingly committing fraud. “I did not ever try to commit fraud on anyone,” he recently told the New York Times, adding he “didn’t knowingly commingle” FTX customer funds.
The disgraced crypto mogul also said last week on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he had no knowledge of “any improper use of customer funds” but admitted to not spending time and effort trying to manage risk on FTX.
Still, Bankman-Fried, a megadonor to Democrats, has continued to receive positive press coverage from prominent media outlets. Many observers in the crypto community have lambasted the coverage for glossing over key aspects of the FTX collapse in “puff pieces.”
3. Stacey Abrams
After Stacey Abrams lost the 2018 Georgia governor’s race and refused to concede, saying it was not “a free and fair election,” she became a star not just among fellow Democrats but also among the establishment media.
The Washington Post ran a 2020 profile describing her as a “runway supermodel … summoning her inner actress.” The story included a picture portraying Abrams as a superhero with a cape.
An article in the New York Times, meanwhile, explained how Abrams was “making politics a little less fake.”
The media was covering Abrams, a black woman, as if she was “celebrity news,” presenting her words as fact and “just seeing her as an archetype of demographics,” according to journalist Zaid Jilani.
Last month, however, Abrams once again lost — this time handily — in Georgia’s gubernatorial race. The result came after a federal judge ruled against a voting rights organization founded by Abrams, Fair Fight Action, which had filed a lawsuit to make changes to the state’s election system, arguing that it suppresses voter turnout.
“Although Georgia’s election system is not perfect, the challenged practices violate neither the constitution nor the [Voting Rights Act] VRA,” the judge wrote.
Weeks later, news reports revealed that the law firm of Abrams’ close friend and campaign chairwoman received $9.4 million from Fair Fight Action in 2019 and 2020 as part of its legal fees in pursuing litigation.
Fair Fight Action maintained the suit served an important role in drawing attention to voting inequities.
4. Andrew Cuomo
As the COVID-19 pandemic raged and lockdowns were in full force in 2020, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo became the star of the Democratic Party.
The governor’s candid daily press briefings and forceful action to shut down New York earned him national acclaim. President Biden even called him the “gold standard” for governors.
Members of the media praised Cuomo and compared him to Winston Churchill in writing. Journalists also pushed the prospect of Cuomo running for president. Some even called him the “acting president.”
Cuomo received an Emmy award “in recognition of his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.” He used the momentum to publish a book touting his “leadership” during the pandemic. The book contract gave the governor a seven-figure pay day.
Behind the scenes, however, a series of events was taking place that led Cuomo to resign from his office in disgrace.
In March 2020, Cuomo issued a directive for nursing homes to accept elderly patients with COVID-19. Thousands of people subsequently died in New York’s nursing homes.
Cuomo’s administration radically underreported the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in nursing homes. Last January, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a damning report showing the extent of the damage.
Months later, James released another report concluding that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, including current and former employees. The report also found that Cuomo oversaw a workplace culture “rife with fear and intimidation.”
Cuomo adamantly denied the allegations, saying, “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances.”
Cuomo resigned last August. On her first day as governor, Cuomo’s successor Kathy Hochul acknowledged the state had suffered nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than Cuomo told the public.
In September, Cuomo alleged James had evidence that undercut his accusers’ claims and asked the state’s Supreme Court to investigate her.

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