Often, I try not to write articles on the same topic for two days in a row…but today, I’ll make an exception by adding my two cents to the #CNNBlackmail outrage.
When I first saw the CNN article claiming they uncovered the Reddit user behind the now-infamous Trump GIF, my interest was peaked. To summarize, a Reddit user named “HanAssholeSolo” posted an edited version of a Trump and Vince McMahon fight video, in which this Reddit user placed the CNN logo over Vince’s face and called CNN the “Fraud News Network.” The video was immensely popular on Reddit and in less than a few days, Trump himself posted it on his “@RealDonaldTrump” Twitter account while retweeting it on his Presidential account, ensuring it will forever be memorialized into public record.
But while Trump’s fans laughed their butts off, CNN and its liberal allies went ballistic, first going after Trump. When that didn’t work, it seems they decided to go after the Reddit user who posted it. Ultimately, CNN was able to uncover the identity of the Reddit user through obtaining his email address (likely from leaks by Reddit staff) and tracing it to his personal Facebook account. Although he at first didn’t respond, the Reddit user immediately posted an apology for his video up on Reddit after their contact, deleted all his posts, and then issued an apology to CNN where he claimed he “didn’t mean to incite violence.” He begged CNN not to release his name publicly and they responded with the following:
“CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. “
Now I believe in personal responsibility and “HanAssholeSolo” is certainly in the wrong. After all, part of the reason he doesn’t want CNN to post his name is because of some of the particularly offensive things he posted on Reddit. He was a constant poster on some particularly racist sites and is responsible for posts that used the “N” word and some other very insensitive and vulgar commentary that no sane person would want their real name attached to. Thus, it’s no wonder he doesn’t want his name published, but I would add that he should’ve never posted those things in the first place. The internet does give many a feeling of anonymity but in reality, you are not as anonymous as you think. A good policy when commenting online is to never post something anonymously that you wouldn’t want your actual name to be attached to.
This Reddit user’s controversial posting caused him to delete his account and made him a target for the unethical media. I am not really mad at CNN for uncovering the identity of this Reddit user as they were just trying to solve a question as to who that user was, and a mystery is something no legitimate reporter could resist. But what really has got me angry is that instead of uncovering who the Reddit user was and exposing him to the public, CNN is now trying to hang their new found knowledge over his head, blackmailing him into being “civil” online.
CNN in fact boasts about these intentions in the quote I posted above, saying that they were making an example out of him and would reserve the right to release his information in the future if he continues to conduct himself in such a manner. This behavior of threatening and intimidating a member of the public for attacking their news network isn’t only just unethical, but purely diabolical. Can you imagine for a minute if Trump did the same thing to a liberal or CNN reporter, and how much outrage would erupt as a result?
I fully condemn the more pugnacious posts made by this Reddit user and in my opinion, CNN should release his name now. Yes, it will certainly hurt the user’s reputation temporarily but it will also teach him a more valuable lesson. We all think and say things we later regret and I’m sure those close to this user can eventually forgive him or see past the crude words he used. Of course, the other option is for this user to release his identity on his own, a choice I strongly recommend. By doing so, he can control the narrative and even maybe do it on a network more friendly and ethical than CNN.
But if there’s any doubt still in your mind about if CNN is really as biased and bad as people seem to say it is, this should prove it. The lengths CNN has gone to hunt this user down and threaten him into not posting anymore “ugly content” (which could easily be construed as including pro-Trump content) shows an unhealthy obsession with our President and his supporters as well as an utter disregard for the First Amendment.
Congratulations, CNN, for in a world full of ISIS terrorists, an impending G20 summit, and many other pressing national issues, you have shown what your true priorities are: undermining and ruining the Trump Administration in every way possible, all ethics and commonsense aside.
Follow Publius Tacitus on Twitter at @PCTacitus