CNN Reeling After Reddit User Threat, Blossoming Backlash Derailing Reputation

July 5, 2017 Updated: July 5, 2017

CNN is under tremendous fire from the internet-active public over its threat to the Reddit user responsible for the Donald Trump CNN bodyslam meme. After the reaction to the meme, the anonymous user felt responsible and apologized. He or she closed down the Reddit account. Then CNN responded through its KFile investigative unit, talking about how it found out the true identity of the user, and said it might reveal the identity of “HanA**holeSolo” if he strikes again.

The internet responded to the CNN threat, commonly known as doxxing, a malicious form of harassment and forcing someone to be silent by revealing their personal information.

The backlash was accompanied by an enormous deluge of new CNN meme content taking stabs at CNN from all angles. The voices of the internet increased to an uproar. It would now be impossible to tackle the enormous number of meme videos ridiculing CNN.

The controversy involving HanA**holeSolo began on July 2, after Trump tweeted out the video of body slamming WWE owner Vince McMahon during a past appearance on the wrestling show. The Reddit user who created the meme superimposed a CNN logo on Vince as he was pummeled by the president.

The war that had been brewing between the current administration and the media, particularly involving CNN, has been going on since Trump’s campaign for president. But apparently the meme was the turning point in the media affair—Trump opponents thought that the lighthearted meme constituted a call to arms against the media.

Solo issued an apology stating that the meme was satire and not a call to arms.

Apparently the apology wasn’t enough. Seeing that Trump himself wasn’t joining in on the apology, CNN went harder after Solo.

CNN wrote in an article that it had traced the video to a user on Reddit, even though the Trump administration said it hadn’t found the video on Reddit.

CNN states that the Reddit user in question called them and verified his identity. They took note, and wrote in the article that they had the right to reveal his identity if they feel he again defames CNN. The language was accusatory, bordering on bitterness, and full of straightlaced bully undertones. Reddit is an online community that thrives on memes, and its users have always had looser lips than other online communities.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted a copy of the law that CNN breaks by threatening the free speech of the Reddit user. Assange’s own battle with censorship is far from over.

As long as the #CNNBlackmail hashtag is still trending, satirical videos and criticisms of CNN on Twitter and elsewhere are all adding to CNN’s escalating image problems.