Over the past few weeks, CNN has been left reeling due to a series of undercover videos put out by Project Veritas. These videos have exposed CNN staff and contributors as recognizing that the Russia scandal is a “nothing burger,” and has also exposed their deep distaste for the average American and one producer even said that Kellyanne Conway “Looks like she got hit with a shovel.” These revelations are honestly not surprising to me, CNN has exhibited increasingly vile behavior since Jeff Zucker took control of the organization in 2013, though ratings have increased drastically.
President Trump did not ignore these revelations, and tweeted out a GIF of his famous 2007 WWE smack-down of Vince McMahon with a CNN logo superimposed over his opponent’s face. While this response was juvenile and probably below the office of the President of the United States, CNN took it far too seriously. CNN claimed that the GIF was inciting violence against journalists. CNN even went as far as finding the “source” of the GIF, a Reddit user who went by the name “HanA**holeSolo.” Memes that included Anti-Semitic and racist themes were also found on the user’s profile. While these kind of memes are vulgar and should not be celebrated by society, they are literally just memes. As if finding the creator of a meme’s online account wasn’t bad enough, they put their considerable research capability to work to find the user’s identity but did have not revealed it as of yet. Would CNN’s journalistic integrity remain intact because they did not out some random person on the internet? Of course not. CNN threatened “HanA**holeSolo” with an unmasking if he continued his posts. The poster gave a public and anonymous apology to CNN. It sure is convenient that this user offered up an apology only after an unmasking was threatened.
The CNN employee who led this investigation, is Andrew Kaczynski, a founding member of CNN’s KFILE, their investigative team, he joined CNN in late 2016 after working at the notoriously credible BuzzFeed. It is important to note that Kaczynski is a completely disgusting individual who misidentified Sunil Tripathi as the perpetrator of the Boston Bombing to thousands of his followers during the hours after the attack. Tripathi was a Brown University student who had dropped out due to depression and had gone missing. While it is not certain if the allegations against Tripathi led him to commit suicide, that is how his life ended in the days following the bombing. Kaczynski has never apologized for his blatantly false allegation, and deleted his tweets. Kaczynski, who has quite literally spread “fake news” that possibly led a young man to kill himself was still hired by CNN.
Many have considered this CNN operation to be blackmail. #CNNBlackmail was trending on Twitter for hours, but is now noticeably absent from the highlighted trending issues despite huge popularity, almost as if Twitter is trying to bury it. Despite the outcry from large parts of the internet, and the beginning of a coordinated effort to hit CNN where it hurts in their advertising, they have yet to issue an apology. The efforts to take down CNN on the internet have been given a breath of fresh life through both the Project Veritas videos and the blackmail threat. CNN will not be catching a break anytime soon, and extremely bad PR seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
What makes things even worse for CNN is that it appears that the GIF used by Trump might not have even been the same one. For an organization that constantly criticizes President Trump for calling them “Fake News,” they are certainly living up to that assessment.