CNN is the new Gawker

This public threat issued by CNN to an anonymous meme maker marks an interesting development in so-called “professional journalism”. Since when is it the job of the news media to report, or not report, the news depending upon whether someone behaves how they want? And since when is it acceptable to blackmail a minor?

The apology came after CNN’s KFile identified the man behind “HanA**holeSolo.” Using identifying information that “HanA**holeSolo” posted on Reddit, KFile was able to determine key biographical details, to find the man’s name using a Facebook search and ultimately corroborate details he had made available on Reddit.

On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, “HanA**holeSolo” posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.

“The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation,” he wrote. “I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.”

The apology has since been taken down by the moderators of /The_Donald subreddit.

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.

If I was a CNN employee with any big secret to protect, I’d consider resigning today. I somehow doubt the channers are simply going to take this sort of thing lying down. #CNNBlackmail is already trending globally and the firing of the four members of the KFILE team has already been publicly demanded. As Mike Cernovich says, CNN is the new Gawker. And #CNNBlackmail is the new #GamerGate.

Based on what one of the KFILE employees, Andrew Kaczynski said, it appears that this CNN meme may be the real reason HanAssholeSolo was targeted.

andrew kaczynski  ?‏Verified account @KFILE  6h6 hours ago
This was someone who shared an image of CNN reporters’ face with Stars of David next them.

Oh, well, in that case, it’s totally justifiable to threaten someone with public exposure, right? And this tweet cracked me up.

CNN producer: “I’ve had the worst week!”
Van Jones: “Dude, Please!”

The memes must flow.