Instead of leaving well enough alone by having Trump coming off as nothing more than a high profile troll, CNN ended up stepping on the proverbial rake.
CNN and reporter Andrew Kaczynski are being accused of "blackmailing" the man who created a GIF showing President Donald Trump "attacking" the news network.
On Sunday, the president tweeted a GIF of himself wrestling and punching a man with the CNN logo superimposed over his head.
In an article Tuesday, Kaczynski wrote that he uncovered the identity of the Reddit user who created the GIF - user name “HanA**holeSolo” - by comparing information posted on Reddit to Facebook profiles.
Kaczynski said that the man sounded nervous about his identity being revealed, and he apologized.
Personally, I have no problem with this particular aspect of the story. CNN looked to track down and seek comment from the person responsible for the online creation used by a sitting President. And since Reddit and Facebook are public forums, Kaczynski used the tools which are at the disposal of literally millions of people.
That said, CNN's statement regarding its decision to not reveal the actual identity of "HanA**holeSolo" opened up the network to accusations of blackmail.
“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,” the article stated. “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
Translation: We'll keep your name a secret unless you publish content which we, the moral arbiters at CNN, deem offensive.
It's obvious that CNN has had an adversarial relationship with Trump since before he was inaugurated. And since they've conceded that they're unable to inflict damage on their most high profile provocateur (i.e. admission of the Russia-Trump collusion cratering), why not go after those who they believe enable Trump's behavior?
With all the legitimate fodder the President hands these media outlets, they constantly overplay their hands and come off looking even more buffoonish than Trump. It's a vicious cycle.