The CNN Blackmail Case

Image via Vox

CNN has had quite a year, including engaging in near criminal activity.

The Cable News Network has had quite the year. It has been called fake news, incompetent, lying, among many other things. One label that stands out is criminal. CNN recently threatened to expose a “redditor” for creating a video meme of President Trump in the WWE clothes-lining of Vince McMahon with CNN’s logo superimposed on Mr. McMahon’s face.

After President Trump re-tweeted this meme on his personal Twitter account, it garnered significant controversy, with CNN releasing a statement that strongly condemned the President’s actions. Progressives jumped on this narrative faster than they left Bernie for dead in the primaries. The chants of “Trump’s a fascist” were renewed, with just as little validity as before. However, what was particularly shocking was that the left-leaning CNN threatened to expose the creator of this meme.

The meme creator went by the username of “HanA**holeSolo,” and little more is known about the redditor. What is known, however, is that a number of his posts are blatantly racist and anti-Semitic. Solo apologized profusely once he learned that CNN had found him, though that does not excuse his hateful rhetoric. That being said, his identity should not be exposed, even if does continue to produce content that CNN and I strongly disagree with.

Before getting on to how unethical this is on the part of CNN, we should first take a look at the legality of the issue. Senator Ted Cruz recently took to Twitter to bring up the Georgia law against “Theft by Extortion” which states that CNN could be committing a crime if the companies seeks to: ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.”

What CNN is doing here is engaging in thought-policing—and not just any thought-policing, but the pettiest kind. The company turned a silly meme, that the President should perhaps, admittedly, not have shared into a national controversy. In addition, CNN’s claim that the company is not releasing the meme-maker’s name because of care for his safety is ridiculous. In the same breath, the company then said it would share his name on the network if he continued to make offensive memes.

Even if it were legal to reveal his identity, this incident demonstrates  the level CNN has stooped to in order to achieve a left-wing agenda. CNN news anchors seized the opportunity to compare President Trump to authoritarian dictators like Erdogan and Castro, which is a testament to their radically partisan “coverage” of the President. This only acts to undermine further the public’s trust in the mainstream media.

If the mainstream media wants to regain the trust of the American people, it can start by covering real issues and not getting hung up on extracting vengeance on an internet troll. People are forced into echo chambers and radicalized because of the absence of unbiased media. CNN needs to start working on covering the actions and policies of the President rather than battling him. Benjamin Rush once said, “Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge,” but that knowledge is becoming ever rarer as the news becomes far faker.

Nikhil Sridhar seeks out writers who bring important new perspectives to Merion West. He studies biology and political science at Duke University and is interested in American politics.

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