Someone created a GIF, which is an animated graphic that has been edited from the original content, that depicted President Donald Trump basically body slamming a person with the CNN logo as his head. This caused a virtual firestorm in the media with CNN leading the charge claiming that the GIF could incite violence against journalists. This was rich as the media has been defending portrayals of violence against President Trump from the NYC play depicting the paly Julius Caesar with the main character looking like Trump. Most people know what happened to Caesar at the end. Then there was Kathy Griffin holding the bloody, severed head of Trump in the fashion of ISIS. To CNN’s credit, they did fire her from the New Year’s Eve broadcast. Then there was the rant that Madonna gave at a rally where she stated she wanted to blow up the White House. CNN has had a history of their anchors and pundits defending violent threats from liberals while condemning even a nuanced comments as threats. But all during the Obama Administration, CNN defended the president from all criticism by labeling those critics as racist and even tried to call the TEA Party violent and anti-government which was later debunked. Leading up to the GIF and the famous tweet by President Trump, CNN had to retract several stories leading to some journalist resigning. This has prompted many to label CNN as “fake news” but that is not the end of the story.
CNN has been focused on reports, mostly anonymous sources, of the Trump campaign collusion with Russia to “steal” the election from Hillary Clinton but with a thorough FBI investigation, there has been no proof it ever happened. Still, CNN has not let it go. But enter “HanA**holeSolo” a Reddit user and creator of the GIF and suddenly the investigative arm of CNN, K-file, kicks into high gear. Andrew Kaczynski published a statement on CNN’s website to announce that they tracked the “private citizen” down and that he apologized and deleted the “offensive content” and promised not to do it again. Andrew followed up by saying that they would not reveal his identity if nothing changes. Here is the full quote from CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski. The part that is the icing on the cake is this small part, “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 changes.” (emphasis added)
It shows here that CNN is now revealing the name of the person because he is 1. A private citizen, 2. He has issued a statement of apology, 3. He will not repeat the “ugly behavior” again, 4 his statement could serve as an example, or warning, to others but here is the RICO inducing statement. CNN says they could publish his identity if any of that changes. How scary for those who dare to criticize the media! Now let’s move to the RICO act and see if there has been a violation.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act, also known as RICO, was enacted in 1970 to combat organized crime but has been used in cases of intimidation and coercion for cases related to drug trafficking and witness tampering. I believe that CNN violated this act when they tracked down the Reddit user and allegedly coerced him into not posting “ugly behavior” on social media. Once again, we must ask about free speech and what it means. We know Congress cannot pass a law limiting the freedom of speech or the press. What about the press limiting the speech of citizens? CNN used the excuse that the user posted offensive, anti-Semitic pictures on his page. They used this to try to shut down detractors by saying they supported everything he said but the problem is that free speech means you can say what you want if you are not directly threatening someone whether it is offensive or not to someone else. I don’t agree with what he said in the posts but I defend his right to say it. I don’t, however, support CNN being able to violate the law and hide behind “freedom of the press” when that freedom does not give them the right to destroy someone’s life for “offensive” GIFs. This shows that CNN is a corrupt organization that uses intimidation and coercion to force private citizens to delete “offensive” content while saying they champion free speech, this makes them a fraud as well as blackmailers.