The #CNNBlackmail Hashtag Really is a Nothing Burger


As you may or may not have realized by now, oftentimes some pretty ridiculous hashtags begin to trend on Twitter. Early this morning a new hashtag has been at the top of the Twitter trends chart as many people wake up a bit dazed and confused from 4th of July celebrations.

The trend, #CNNBlackmail, which conveniently started in the earlier morning hours here in the U.S. (happens to be the start of the business day in Moscow), has been at the top of Twitter’s trends for hours now.

The hashtag is being used to accuse CNN of blackmail over a very vague threat to the person who created the meme that President Trump tweeted out on Sunday. The meme depicted WWE’s Vince McMahon getting clobbered by Trump, but someone then put the CNN logo over top the face of McMahon.

The creator of the meme ended up being a Reddit user who goes by the handle, HanA**holeSolo, and it turned out that this individual had posted numerous, rather hateful, racist and bigoted messages and memes in the past. With that said, the Reddit user turned to Reddit itself to make an apology. The message has since been removed, but to summarize, he basically said that he was sorry about everything that has happened following his meme post, and that he is not a racist, bigot or bad person. He claimed to only be making such posts in order to get attention.

“As time went on it became an addiction as to how far it could go with the posts that were made. This has been an extreme wake up call to always consider how others think or feel about what is being said before clicking the submit button anywhere online that an option is allowed,” he wrote. “I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-Semitic. I am in no way this kind of person,” he continued.

Meanwhile, CNN of course was investigating the person behind the creation of this meme. After all it involved violence towards them, and was retweeted by the President himself. During their investigation, they figured out the identity of the Reddit user, HanA**holeSolo, and decided to publish an article. In the article, CNN said it would not reveal the man’s identity because he is a private citizen and had apologized for making the video and offensive comments on Reddit. Here’s the kicker though, which seems to have a majority of Twitter users (at least the ones who are online during Moscow business hours) up in arms, CNN has also stated that it “reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

Because of that simple sentence at the end of their article, CNN is now being accused of blackmail. It is their right to revealed who threatened them, even though they decided not to, instead taking the high road since the perpetrator is a minor. While I don’t want to claim that this is another orchestrated attempt to muddy the waters around the media, this certainly seems like a stretch to criticize CNN over such acts.