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([personal profile] xtitsx 11 Jul 2017 04:37 pm)
i have six apps on my phone that deliver me news; CNN, NPR, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist and the I-Phone news app which feeds me shit from a myriad of sources like Fox News, USA Today, the Guardian and whatever the fuck Vox is.
since the PSE and i don't pay for cable TV, these six news apps are pretty much where we get our news from, except that we watch Meet The Press on the internet on Sundays.
one day last week i turned on the CNN app to scroll through the news and there at the very top, under a big, attention-grabbing banner that read “Breaking News!” was an article called How CNN Found The Reddit User Behind The Trump Wrestling GIF.
now, i could give a shit about Reddit or whatever the fuck 'wrestling GIFs' are, and it seemed shamelessly boastful that CNN was reporting about itself reporting about something but if this was Breaking News!, i guess i should be informed.
Congress was conspiring to take away my healthcare, Venezuela was in the middle of tearing itself apart and North Korea had just launched the missile that will likely end up causing World War III, but if this is the top headline of the day, it must be important.
what i found was a goddamned disgrace.

a little background:
a day or two before this Breaking News! article was published, President Trump Tweeted out a little video of himself tackling a figure that had been edited to look like an anthropomorphic CNN logo.
the video was originally footage from the President's days when he used to do guest appearances on the WWE, which i think is much more interesting then any of the rest of this.
if only Mick Foley knew that one day it was possible to grow up to be President.
now, good people can disagree about whether this Tweet was a benign skewering of the Fourth Estate with which President Trump has [and should have] a strained relationship or if it is more accurately described as childish nonsense unbecoming the office of President Of The Goddamned United States.
i tend to think it is a sign of gross mismanagement that the Leader Of The Free World has the time in his day to be dispatching Tweets no matter what the content but, again, good people can disagree.
CNN, however, decided to take the childish dig personally.
more then that, CNN decided to take the nonsense as an existential threat to journalism itself.
[largely, i suspect, because they just wanted to have something to get upset about.]
and in defense of the once-proud institution of Journalism, CNN made the odd [and foreboding] choice to take out their impotent rage on some poor jerk on the internet.

as i read in their Breaking News! article, CNN dispatched their crack team of investigative reporters to get to the bottom of just who it was who replaced Vince McMahon's face with the CNN logo.
the article details a level of investigation that can only be described as creepy, and if it were done by a private citizen, could potentially justify a restraining order.
CNN “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.”
they got the guy's phone number and address and made multiple efforts to contact him.
i don't know what kind of “key biographical details” this fellow “made available on Reddit” but the article says the guy posted under the handle 'HanAssholeSolo,' so i don't think he was eager for people to have his personal information.

you would think 'HanAssholeSolo' would be a big red flag there.
i didn't go to Journalism school, but i feel like one of the first things aspiring journalists ought to learn is that when somebody is calling himself 'HanAssholeSolo' you don't have to take them seriously.
this isn't Watergate. this isn't anybody with any significance doing anything that anybody needs to know about.
this is a guy named HanAssholeSolo who made a meme. and not a particularly inspired meme, either.
this is the kind of petty nothingness that CNN should have ignored or, if they really couldn't resist the impulse to respond, to hit back with a snarky meme of their own.
give that old queen Anderson Cooper a thimble full of gin and i'm sure he could come up with something appropriately catty.
but, having elected to not ignore the President's idiot Tweets, having decided to not be the adult in the room, CNN used their great and terrible investigatory power to reach down deep into the depths of whatever the fuck is going on at Reddit and pluck an ordinary asshole from his anonymity.
having done all that, having found HanAssholeSolo, at some point, some sober-minded editor at CNN needed to step up and say “enough” but that never happened.
apparently everybody at CNN is so drunk on trying to shit on the President that they decided to abandon any last vestige of credibility and use their position to bully and cow HanAssholeSolo into a shameful supplication.

what follows next in the Breaking News! article is a lengthy detailing about how HanAssholeSolo went back onto Reddit and posted a lengthy prostration about how CNN is good and CNN is great and he was wrong to ever think to make a meme on the internet.
the Breaking News! article How CNN Found The Reddit User Behind The Trump Wrestling GIF then concluded with the following:
“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.
CNN is blackmailing a private citizen into never doing anything online that they don't approve of.
that's a goddamned dystopia.
the whole thing is so Goliath-beats-David that you would think CNN would have the good sense to be embarrassed and pretend it never happened but here it is at the top of my CNN app, Breaking News!

broadly speaking, i understand CNN's impulse.
President Trump exhibits some alarming strongman tendencies and the liberal media feels that they are constantly having to defend the First Amendment against his perpetual war on objective reality.
very broadly speaking, the impulse is not wrong.
we need an independent and assertive free press as a bulwark of liberal democracy.
democracy thrives in the antagonism between the government and a free press, but this isn't a story about CNN going after big bad President Trump this is a story about CNN going after some guy calling himself HanAssholeSolo.
this is a story about CNN taking the position that private citizens do not have a right to remain private.
or, at least that private citizens only have a right to remain private so long as they conform themselves to CNN's expectations.
that is an unacceptable position, perhaps even more dangerous then anything President Trump stands for.

CNN may argue that their intention was to uncover some connection between President Trump and the “alt right,” the group of racists and cartoon-frog enthusiasts who are among his most ardent supporters.
but, the way i understand Tweeting and re-Tweeting to work, pressing the 're-Tweet' button on Twitter is not an endorsement of the entire political philosophy of the original poster.
President Trump didn't reTweet White-Supremacist ideology, he saw a video of himself doing something cool and got an ego boner.
the story here is that President Trump is a shameless narcissist with poor impulse control but that's not Breaking News!
President Trump may indeed hold some unseemly, largely unacceptable opinions, but there is no evidence of them inherent in this silly, stupid re-Tweet.
you're gonna have to work a little harder then that, CNN.

perhaps HanAssholeSolo is a member of the 'alt right.'
perhaps HanAssholeSolo is a racist and an anti-Semite and a misogynist and has a Pepe The Frog tattoo, but so the fuck what?
in a free society, people have a right to have idiot opinions.
and in a free society, private citizens have a right to have idiot opinions privately.
HanAssholeSolo didn't sign up to be the poster boy of the Alt Right.
he didn't even sign up to be the face of Donald Trump body-slamming anthropomorphic CNN at WrestleMania.
you can tell because he posted under the handle HanAssholeSolo.
if HanAssholeSolo wanted to express his political opinions publicly, he would have done so publicly, but he didn't. he chose to shitpost in private.
in a free society, people have a right to shitpost in private
the entire point of the First Amendment is to allow for the flourishing and dissemination of unpopular opinions.
this has been settled Constitutional law since all the way back in 1995 with McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission with Justice Stevens writing “anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.”
for CNN to use its authority to shatter that anonymity for the purposes of blackmailing some idiot into political submission is perhaps the biggest moral failure of modern journalism since the New York Times was duped into selling the Iraq War for the G.W. Bush Administration.
CNN needs to recognize that they were in the wrong, announce that they acknowledge the right of private citizens to remain private, unqualified, and issue a public apology to HanAssholeSolo.
and they need to call him by his stupid, ridiculous nom de plume when they do it.

//[ab irato ad astra]
.

September 2017

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