On Tuesday, CNN threatened to release the identity of a Reddit user who created a meme showing President Trump clotheslining a man with a CNN logo for a head. Trump tweeted out that meme on Sunday. CNN then dug up as much dirt as it could find — not on Trump or the media team that goes trolling Reddit and 4chan for material, but on the Reddit user who came up with the gif. Finally, CNN threatened to reveal the personal information of the Reddit user if he reneged on an apology or created any more memes CNN deemed unworthy.
CNN denied that last charge — they said no threat was issued or taken as such by the Reddit user, despite CNN’s own reporting to the contrary.
Then, on Wednesday, CNN’s Chris Cuomo let the cat out of the bag with regard to CNN’s true reason for withholding the identity of that Reddit user.
Cuomo later deleted the tweet, and explained:
If CNN becomes the arbiter of whom to out not based on newsworthiness but based on material they consider “bigoted and hateful” — or based on whether the person being investigated shows the proper degree of remorse — what separates them from the Michaelangelo Signorile wing of the left, which outs people who do not hold sufficiently leftist views on LGBT rights, for example? Wouldn’t this just make CNN a bullying advocacy outfit, rather than a journalistic institution?
The answer: it would.
But Cuomo didn’t stop digging there. He followed up with this doozy:
Now, recall that CNN has used anonymous sources for dozens of pieces on Trump-Russia alleged collusion and investigations into it. CNN isn’t opposed to anonymity generally — only anonymity for those with whom it disagrees.
I’ve spent much of the last two years being targeted by anonymous online trolls. They’re awful people, and they engage in awful behavior. But that doesn’t make anonymity itself valueless, or does it justify me threatening a troll for posting a non-violent, non-anti-Semitic, non-racist meme I don’t like. But that’s just what CNN did here, then used a Reddit user’s other nasty material as an excuse to go after him.
Each new day seems to usher in another round of the Olympics of Self-Beclowning. For now, CNN is in the lead. By a long shot.