Journalists were gobsmacked to discover that Trump tweeted an animated GIF of him from his wrestling days knocking out someone with the CNN logo superimposed over his head. Among the scandalized were the “targets” of the tweet – CNN itself.
And so, CNN did what any reasonable, sensible, and journalistic operation would do: they sought out the person who originally made the GIF on Reddit.
EXCLUSIVE: CNN tracked down the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF. Now he’s apologizing. https://t.co/elrluxS5dm
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 5, 2017
Reddit user”HanA**holeSolo” first shared the GIF last Wednesday of Trump pummeling a wrestler with CNN’s logo imposed on his face. CNN could find no earlier instance of the GIF. The GIF was later edited into a video with sound and tweeted by the President on Sunday.
On Reddit, “HanA**holeSolo” took credit for inspiring the tweet. Soon after, “HanA**holeSolo’s” other posts on Reddit, some of which included racist and anti-Semitic imagery, quickly circulated on social media.
Oh good. Glad to know CNN is pursuing the most important news of the day.
Why on EARTH is this a story that needed to be told? Are we going to seek out the creators of every meme, Photoshop, and video posted by every politician now? Or just the ones we disagree with? Or just Trump? How is this going to work? If something contains a news organization’s logo, is it the responsibility of that organization to seek out the maker of the file?
This is an absolutely absurd piece of journalism – the type of thing I’d expect a blogger with an ideological vendetta to pull. Not something CNN attaches its name to… or, at least something I wouldn’t have expected of them prior to 2017.
But, the title of this post mentions “VENGEANCE!” and this is what made me think some of that was involved:
After posting his apology, “HanA**holeSolo” called CNN’s KFile and confirmed his identity. In the interview, “HanA**holeSolo” sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family.
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.
That last line (emphasis mine) seems a whole lot like a threat, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s not meant to be, but at the same time, it sounds an awful lot like a warning shot. “Hey, you do this again, and we’re blowing the whistle.”
This is just stupid, and it does absolutely nothing for CNN. People who hate Trump will be happy one of his “supporters” got put in his/her place. People who love Trump will see this as an attempt by a biased media to fight back against Trump.
It’s like these people have never dealt with the Internet before. People make things – stupid things and lots of them – on the Internet all the time. It’s not journalism to find out who these people are. It’s dumb.
UPDATE: For what it’s worth, both Andrew Kaczynski (who wrote the story) and the Reddit user say that there is no threat, implied or otherwise.