Dominating the news for much of the day, the story about CNN tracking down the person who created the video clip of President Trump “pummeling” a CNN logo created several conversations about media ethics and what constitutes “real” journalism.
CNN tracked down a Reddit user named /u/HanAssholeSolo as the person who created the GIF President Trump tweeted on July 2nd. CNN never revealed his identity but left open the possibility of doing so. The user issued an apology and deleted his Reddit account. Some people, mainly Trump supporters took CNN’s comments about possibly revealing his identity as a threat and started the hashtag, #CNNBlackmail.
It prompted discussions about journalistic ethics, whether CNN was right to allocate resources to it at all and if the guy deserves any anonymity for his postings, many of which are racist.
Now it turns out, while the HanAssholeSolo guy created the original GIF, it may not have been the one the president tweeted. Buzzfeed has a rundown of all the differences between what Trump tweeted and what HSA uploaded to Reddit. What they conclude is this:
Someone downloaded the GIF that HanAssholeSolo originally posted to Reddit. Then that person cropped it to better fit a video player like Facebook or YouTube. Then they went through the effort of syncing it back up with audio from the original clip. Then that person put it somewhere where Trump or one of Trump’s people could see it and download it. Then whoever found the video version had to get it to Trump’s phone.
They also say this:
There are only a few ways a video can get into an iPhone’s camera roll.
Basically, someone sent it to the president via a private messaging app like WhatsApp, iMessage, or just simple texting. Or it was emailed to him and he downloaded the video as an attachment.
It would be almost impossible on an iPhone for Trump to have seen the video and downloaded it himself.
They’re right. Somebody sent the video clip to Trump who then tweeted it out (or somebody did it for him). The question is, where did the clip with the synced up sound originate? There is almost zero likelihood the video originated from Reddit.
The other issue CNN isn’t asking is how much of a role does Dan Scavino have in all of this? He’s the one making $180,000 a year to be President Trump’s social media maven. Was their coordination with the person created the video use on Twitter? These are questions CNN should be asking the White House.