NN was facing almost universal backlash on Wednesday after running an article on the Reddit user who made an anti-CNN, wrestling-themed GIF tweeted by President Trump over the weekend – and seeming to imply the network would reveal the person’s identity if he reneged on an apology. Andrew Kaczynski, the senior editor and founding member of the cable network’s KFile investigative team, tweeted several defenses of the article, saying parts were “being misinterpreted.” But #CNNBlackmail was a top trend on Twitter Wednesday morning, as numerous media figures spoke out against the move.
The Reddit user was behind the controversial GIF that Trump tweeted out Sunday — and that showed Trump wrestling an opponent (from his pre-politician days) with a CNN logo plastered over his face. The KFile group found the creator — user name “HanA**holeSolo” — by comparing information posted on Reddit to Facebook profiles. While CNN decided against publishing the user’s real name, the network appeared to attach a caveat to that decision.
“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.” Further, CNN’s initial Tuesday tweet about the article implied the Reddit user only apologized once he was contacted by the KFile. “Exclusive: CNN tracked down the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF. Now he’s apologizing,” the tweet said.