CNN Is Now Threatening Private Citizens for Making Memes

THIS IS CNN…

CNN is determined to prove that the level of distrust Americans have in the mainstream media is more than warranted.

After the president’s Twitter account tweeted out a video clip with Trump clobbering a person with the CNN logo replacing his head (mined from his days of Trump dabbling in the wrestling entertainment arena), CNN decided this implied criticism could not stand. So they spent resources and time tracking down the person who created the video.

Read that again.

THEY TRACKED DOWN THE GUY WHO MADE A VIDEO THAT THEY DIDN’T LIKE.

And then they reported on it, proudly. The video segment explains that they worked to identify the creator, and noted that he was a user on the Reddit platform. The video goes on to say ‘If he (the president) got it from THAT source (Reddit), a whole bunch of new questions about racism, bigotry, and violence come into play.’

To explain, they then report about the Anti Defamation League surveying the user’s posts and finding ‘a consistent record of racism, antisemitism, and bigotry…this individual traffics in online hatred, and at times, violent rhetoric.’

They provide no proof of this, no examples for their audience to see to judge for themselves. We are expected to take their word for it. We are supposed to trust them.

But read further. The story takes a creepy turn to me.

CNN reports that the Reddit user was originally flattered by the president’s account tweeting his video. But then, CNN tracked him down, and he apologized and deleted all his posts on the platform. This is how they reported it:

‘The apology came after CNN’s KFile identified the man behind “HanA**holeSolo.” Using identifying information that “HanA**holeSolo” posted on Reddit, KFile was able to determine key biographical details, to find the man’s name using a Facebook search and ultimately corroborate details he had made available on Reddit.

‘On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, “HanA**holeSolo” posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.’

Then this amazing paragraph:

‘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.

‘CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.’

This news organization has been reporting this very week about how states are refusing to turn over voter data to the administration over privacy concerns, while tracking down a private citizen and threatening to publish his personal information if he doesn’t stay on the straight and narrow.  And now rumor has it that the creator might be a fifteen year old boy.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski is denying that there was a threat implied in CNN’s coverage, but the internet is not having it.  In the real world, we call that blackmail.

And that’s another thing to note. The online communities in which content like the knockout video are created are particularly sensitive to threats like CNN’s. Already the hashtag #CNNBlackmail has blasted the internet with images pushing back:

Some are posting more serious thoughts:

On a completely uunrelated note: CNN is a partner in the News Literacy Project, which sponsors a curriculum for junior high and high school students to learn how to identify good journalism and avoid fake news.

People from all over the political spectrum are taking CNN to task for attempting to police the thoughts of private citizens. In a week when we celebrate freedom, it’s a good reminder that threats to our liberties don’t come solely from government. When a corporation thinks itself righteous for threatening to dox a private citizen for something he has said, defending free expression is a job for all of us.

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