Ted Cruz on #CNNBlackmail controversy: CNN may have committed a crime

As we reported earlier, CNN, the anti-Trump propaganda outlet now seen by many as the least-trusted name in network news, reported that the Reddit user who created a now-viral meme of President Trump knocking down a CNN logo, apologized and said he removed the graphic.  CNN said it would not reveal the user’s identity, but added that it reserved the right to do so if the user continued to post things the network deems offensive.  This drew the ire of many, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who suggested that CNN may have violated the law.

“Troubling. I assume CNN’s lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion. If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker’s IP,” saying in another tweet that “it’s a GA crime if they threatened to ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule….'”

One person noted:


Many have said this on social media, but CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski denied the claim, saying the Reddit user is an adult.

Cruz isn’t the only one to suggest that CNN may have violated the law.  Julian Assange said he believes the network violated New York State law:

And a post at the Gateway Pundit suggested CNN may have violated federal law, citing 18 U.S. Code § 241 – Conspiracy against rights, which reads:

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

The problem, it seems, is the last line of this piece posted by CNN:

The Reddit user who initially claimed credit for President Donald Trump’s tweet that showed Trump tackling CNN issued an apology Tuesday for the video and other offensive content he posted — one day after CNN identified the man behind the account and attempted to make contact with him.

Reddit user “HanA**holeSolo” first shared the GIF last Wednesday of Trump pummeling a wrestler with CNN’s logo imposed on his face. CNN could find no earlier instance of the GIF. The GIF was later edited into a video with sound and tweeted by the President on Sunday.

On Reddit, “HanA**holeSolo” took credit for inspiring the tweet. Soon after, “HanA**holeSolo’s” other posts on Reddit, some of which included racist and anti-Semitic imagery, quickly circulated on social media.
Now the user is apologizing, writing in a lengthy post on Reddit that he does not advocate violence against the press and expressing remorse there and in an interview with CNN for other posts he made that were racist and anti-Semitic…

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.

Translated by Legal Insurrection: “Nice private life you’ve got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.”

Adding insult to injury, Newsbusters said the stunt violates the Code of Ethics of The Society for Professional Journalists:

The Society for Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (not a conservative group, but certainly one that CNN would respect) states that journalists should “minimize harm,” “[s]how compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage,” and “[w]eigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.”

Regardless of how troll-ish someone is being on the internet, threatening to expose their identity at some point in the future, only if they do something the media deem offensive, seems to violate this code. If CNN truly feels threatened by this Reddit user, they should report it to the police, not hand him over to an Internet mob.

We agree.

Exit question: Is there an Attorney General out there somewhere with the backbone to take action on this?


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Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad
Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad – Source: Author (used with permission)


Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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