On Sunday, President Trump tweeted the above video of himself body-slamming and wrestling WWF CEO Vince McMahon at a professional wrestling event held in 2007, the problem? The head of Vince McMahon was replaced with the CNN logo. Supporters of his were quick to defend the tweet by saying that he was “fighting back” against the mainstream media’s unfair coverage of him, while proponents of Trump called the President’s tweet hateful and inciting violence against journalists, such as CNN’s Brian Stelter, saying in response to the tweet:
“Wrestling is fake and sometimes just plain funny. But threats against journalists are terribly real…”
While moderate onlookers watch in perplexity of the arguably unpresidential actions of Trump versus the unprofessional reaction of the media, no one could predict the following calamitous actions of CNN. In an article titled “How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF”, CNN’s “KFILE” (Andrew Kaczynski) describes the trail leading to the original creator of the Trump gif.
So where is the controversy in all of this? These are the two paragraphs in the article that are stirring the public.
“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.”
When reading the article at face-value, it appears rather threatening towards the person that created the gif, that if they make one mistake, or create something that CNN disapproves of, they will have their personal information given to the general public, and their identity exposed to those who are willing to do harm. We have witnessed in the past what happens to those who have their identities leaked on the internet, hordes of death threats, hateful messages, and even swatting, the act of spoofing the targets phone number and calling emergency services in an attempt to send the police, or a swat team, to the target’s location.
Interpretations of the paragraphs vary, but the controversy this article has created is certain.