Reddit is the well-known “front page of the internet.” It is full of memes, videos, news links, and — generally — liberals. Ironically, Donald Trump‘s online army also makes its home at /r/The_Donald. And the two sides don’t often get along.
So say what you will about CNN being divisive, their latest news story has brought Reddit together like the current president never will. They’ve attacked the internet!
Here’s the scoop.
CNN posted an article on July 4 about a Reddit user and a wrestling GIF he created that was shared by President Trump on Twitter. As most of you know, the GIF showed the president attacking a man with a CNN logo for a head.
CNN’s article seemed like a fairly standard investigation. It described how it discovered the identity of Reddit user “HanA**holeSolo.” The Reddit user in question has a history of attacking CNN personalities with racist and anti-Semitic messages.
The article stated that CNN would not publish “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because:
“[H]e 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.
CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
The message from CNN is clear: We will “out” your identity if we deem your conduct contrary to what WE want.
The threat took off on social media and was quickly hashtagged #CNNBlackmail.
CNN defended its response with the following statement:
“CNN decided not to publish the name of the Reddit user out of concern for his safety. Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false. The user, who is an adult male, not a 15-year-old boy, apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking with our reporter.”
The statement continued, “CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user. In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user’s identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange quickly engaged, saying CNN committed a crime of extortion against an amateur satirist:
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) July 5, 2017
What brings Redditors of any political affiliation together is the common belief that news organizations, or organizations that used to engage in news content and not biased opinion, shouldn’t be in the business of threatening Reddit users or any other person who posts anonymously online.
Media outlets should hold themselves to higher standards. They should not be publishing anonymously sourced articles and threatening private citizens.
A threat to The_Donald, is a threat to all, many have said.
Other members of the press and some politicians have weighed in as well. German Lopez, a reporter for the far-left website Vox noted:
Even if you think this jerk deserves it, think about all the other people it would affect — his family, friends, etc. Just awful.
— German Lopez (@germanrlopez) July 5, 2017
Even Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz got into the act, tweeting:
(1/2) Troubling. I assume CNN's lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion. If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker's IP… https://t.co/ChxqocuDgc
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 5, 2017
(2/2) it's a GA crime if they threatened to "Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule…." https://t.co/ChxqocuDgc
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 5, 2017
#CNNBlackmail could spell the end for the powers that be at the “world’s most trusted name in news.”