Last week, President Trump tweeted a short video someone made that depicts himself wrestling a person with the CNN logo overlaid on their face. It was clearly meant to be satirical.
But now CNN is the subject of controversy after they threatened to identify the Reddit user who created the video. As Reddit is a largely anonymous online platform, this is a big deal. Senator Ted Cruz (TX-R) pointed out that CNN’s bullying of the individual may constitute a criminal act. (via The Daily Caller)
A Reddit user took an old video of Trump from when he appeared in a professional wrestling match and turned it into a GIF — a short video — and imposed the CNN logo on the other wrestler’s face. The GIF is supposed to represent Trump going after CNN for engaging in fake, biased news.
On Tuesday, CNN essentially threatened to expose the identity of the Reddit user who created the GIF.
The individual issued a lengthy apology for his actions, saying he was made aware of how his online behavior may have offended and harmed others. According to Andrew Kaczynski of CNN, they decided not to expose the Reddit user, saying he, “showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all of his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again.”
However, Kaczynski made it clear that CNN “reserves the right” to reveal the Reddit user’s identity should he decide to put out anything else CNN deemed offensive. Many see this as CNN making a direct threat against the Reddit user, and possible extortion.
Sen. Cruz made the case that CNN was breaking the law in a series of tweets by quoting the New York penal law, subsection 135.60:
Essentially, CNN saying they’ll identify the Reddit user’s real name would likely expose him to negative reactions by others that could lead to his physical harm or otherwise damage his reputation. CNN is guaranteeing his compliance by what amounts to threatening him.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was highly critical of CNN’s criminal behavior, saying, “That’s essentially blackmail. That’s CNN stating that I will out the guy if he dares to defy their political perspective or offends them sufficiently. The whole story is frightening, and obviously an attempt to both nail Trump and discourage people from smacking CNN.” (via The Daily Wire)
This latest scandal is thrown onto the pile of controversies CNN has been facing recently for their blatant anti-Trump behavior. Kathy Griffin, who formerly cohosted the New Year’s Eve segment for CNN until being fired, posed with Trump’s severed head for a photo. CNN had to retract a false article and let go the three involved in its writing. Then there’s the undercover Project Veritas videos they’re fighting against.
All of this coupled with President Trump calling them out for frequently engaging in fake news, and liberal CNN — to the delight of many — is struggling to get back up from the figurative punches they’ve received in the wave of criticisms leveled against them.
It’s a scary thing when news station attempts to personally identify and bully a random individual for voicing his opinions about a TV network — this hardly justifies the threats and potential extortion CNN is using against him. It’s apparent that CNN should apologize for their unethical behavior, not the Reddit user.