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CNN has a credibility problem and they seem to be the only ones who don’t recognize it. As a result, they have been a frequent target for President Donald Trump’s campaign against fake news that included this tweet earlier this week.

The Reddit user who created the GIF that was the source of the video that President Trump tweeted was tracked down by CNN. Andrew Kaczynski reported yesterday:

The Reddit user who initially claimed credit for President Donald Trump’s tweet that showed Trump tackling CNN issued an apology Tuesday for the video and other offensive content he posted — one day after CNN identified the man behind the account and attempted to make contact with him.

Reddit user “HanA**holeSolo” first shared the GIF last Wednesday of Trump pummeling a wrestler with CNN’s logo imposed on his face. CNN could find no earlier instance of the GIF. The GIF was later edited into a video with sound and tweeted by the President on Sunday.

Apparently, the Reddit user’s posts also include some racists and anti-Semitic posts.

Kacynski reported that they were able to identify Reddit user and that he apologized.

“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.

So they are threatening to release the identity of this guy (“doxing”) should he retract his apology or put up his offending posts? That’s blackmail, plain and simple, and the ONLY reason they pursued this is due to the silly GIF he created involving them. I am not going to condone racist posts, or Trump’s tweeting this particular GIF (though it was certainly better than other things he has tweeted), but I actually found the GIF itself funny.

CNN’s actions are chilling, and, frankly, ironic for an organization that should be championing free speech. Apparently, free speech only matters when it is their speech.

The claim that this silly GIF promotes violence against journalists is lame and CNN’s actions have backfired. #CNNBlackMail is now trending on Twitter where you can find some gems like these:

https://twitter.com/KimDotcom/status/882502701564665856

https://twitter.com/peddoc63/status/882551835747287040

https://twitter.com/MarkDice/status/882467101663002625

https://twitter.com/SouthernKeeks/status/882427168797728768

https://twitter.com/bethanyshondark/status/882423123001446400

These tweets don’t even include photoshop masterpieces like the one I saw on Facebook below.

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