Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

What CNN's Threat to Dox a Redditor Tells Us About the State of Journalism

News organizations have become obsessed with fighting Donald Trump rather than covering him.

If you're going to create nasty memes to get attention, demand people give you credit for those memes and celebrate when the president of the United States shares one with his roughly 33 million followers, I have no sympathy for you. You're not a martyr for the cause of free expression. There was a time when anonymity allowed Americans with unpopular or unconventional beliefs to make their arguments without fear of retribution. Today, the internet has created an environment that incentivizes people to create detestable messages meant to troll and harass.

Then again, this story isn't really about online harassment or the Reddit user "HanA**holeSolo," who has taken credit for the creation a GIF of President Trump body-slamming a wrestler—which I feel the need to reiterate is fake violence—with a CNN logo imposed on his face. The story itself means little. This is about how places like CNN function these days: how it overreacts to everything the president does, how many of today's newsrooms give some people a pass and destroy others.

The search for HanA**holeSolo began before anyone knew he was responsible for anti-Semitic or bigoted posts. CNN tracked down his identity because he had committed thought crimes, the worst of which was mocking CNN. The story was meant to tie a Trump tweet mocking CNN to a hateful meme maker and blow up.

That's because news organizations have become obsessed with fighting Trump rather than covering him. For all the sanctimonious self-championing of the importance of journalism in the Trump era, stories like these have no real purpose. This piece didn't educate viewers on the underbelly of social media, or the habits of the president, or anything else. It wasn't an argument over ideas or policy. It wasn't entertainment. It was a story birthed from the hysterics that erupted over a silly meme Trump retweeted.

What CNN has done is induce some random troll to grovel and apologize for his wrongthink. Even if we concede that there's a good reason to track down a meme maker on Reddit, why doesn't the network run the name? Without the name, in fact, there is no real story.

CNN claims it kept the poster's anonymity to protect his safety. Is it saying that anti-Trump activists will hurt the man? Is it saying that there should be no repercussion for things we say? Is this protection afforded all Americans? Moreover, the piece itself (and the on-air personalities at CNN) disputes the idea that his name was withheld to protect safety. It is clear that if HanA**holeSolo had responded to CNN by saying, "No, I'm not sorry, losers," he would have been outed.

"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," said a CNN piece. Should HanA**holeSolo ever revert to his nefarious meme-making ways, "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change."

This is a threat. There is simply no other way for an open-minded person to comprehend the meaning of the line. I've read thousands of news stories and written a bunch of them, and I can't think of a single instance of a similar disclaimer. CNN has absolved the man of his sins—for now. I guess if HanA**holeSolo does anything it deems ugly, the network reserves the right to put him in "danger"?

In a now-deleted tweet, CNN's oft-confused Chris Cuomo asked: "Should CNN reveal name of Reddit user who made trump wrestling video? Had a lot of bigoted and hateful material on page and website."

Let's chew on this question and assertion for a moment. For one thing, although Cuomo happens to be correct in this case, I don't trust his definition of hate or bigotry. Moreover, are journalistic standards contingent upon the target's political views? If HanA**holeSolo were to have the wrong opinion on same-sex marriage or affirmative action, would that be enough to ruin his life? What if he sincerely apologized for these transgressions? Someone should ask Cuomo what the standard should be.

It's important to remember that this entire controversy sprung from the hysterics surrounding a juvenile presidential tweet. Since the tweet, I have watched many journalists act as if Trump called the Gestapo into action. This only a few weeks after an out-and-loud progressive taken in by the frenzy of the day attempted to assassinate Republican congressional leadership, a story most journalists dropped quicker than the middling Trump Twitter troll.

No, this isn't a First Amendment issue. Just because one of the nation's most powerful journalistic institutions has the power to track down and ruin the lives of random Reddit users doesn't mean it should. And just because it can coerce apologies, implicitly or explicitly, doesn't mean it should. At the very least, it's an abuse of its power and a waste of its resources.

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM

Photo Credit: zagraves/flickr

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Here's my admission. I voted for Jill Stein and I definitely screwed up. I should have voted for Dear Leader. He's a lot of fun who thinks, for example, that Obama is wiretapppping him. Now, he is President of this washed up former Great Power and the greatest friend that revolutionary anarcho-communism has had since the days of VI Lenin. Dear Leader, I support you!

  • SWeasel||

    I'll have whatever he's smoking.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's the troll formerly known as american socialist. Pay it no mind.

  • Dillinger||

    i'd skip that with concern his shit is laced.

  • BYODB||


    He's a lot of fun who thinks, for example, that Obama is wiretapppping him.

    Question, could you remind me how the whole 'Trump is a Russian stooge' meme got started? Was it not because of leaked information obtained through FISA-approved wiretaps on various Trump campaign staffers? Was Trump himself wiretapped, or was it just his campaign? We don't really know at this point, but to claim he wasn't wiretapped by the Obama administration would appear to be splitting hairs.

    Follow up question, do you think it would be ok for the Trump administration to leak information regarding foreign contacts of a Democratic candidate in the next campaign cycle? Most politicians talk to a lot of foreign people, some of whom are probably distasteful, so to say that 'there won't be anything to release' is disingenuous.

    I take it from your comment that you're absolutely fine with the Trump administration leaking this type of information during an election of a U.S. President. Nothing to see there!

  • ||

    Nice trio of morons you got going there.

  • CptNerd||

    And you fill out the quartet.

  • BYODB||

    Dibs on the cello.

  • ||

    I call violin.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well, to be fair, Obama was wiretapping everyone.

  • lap83||

    To be extra fair, we didn't deserve him and he had to do those things to remind us of how disappointing we all were.

  • dpbisme||

    I am pretty sure "Dear Leader" was the last guy.... His supporters were a cult and they saw him as the Second Coming of Christ. Not that Trump does not have some rabid supporters but for the most part most of them laugh along with the joke, mostly because they are tired of the pompous elite that have been running things and put us where we are today. I mean, look at the Democrats and their Anti-Business policies... Do you really think these people are so stupid as to mot know who creates jobs and wealth? They have no problem with people getting rich as long it is them and people they can control. That is why they dislike the Free Market, they don't get a cut of it as big as they think they should.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Not nearly enough all caps, italics, and boldface abuse. Sad!

    If your post doesn't look like spam from a Nigerian porn site in need of financial assistance, you're just not Hihn-ing hard enough.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    See, now that's more like it!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It must be really stressful to live one's life believing that words can be "aggression." Poor Hihn.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Well, I believe in defense in depth, and the best defense is a good offense, so I strive to be deeply offensive.

  • BYODB||

    If you engage with Hihn it is by definition aggression as far as I can tell. He can not be critiqued or engaged, because if you do it means you're trying to kill him.

    At least that's been my impression after seeing his posts for the last few years. Unhinged doesn't even begin to cover Mr. Hihn.

    I suspect the reason he's fine with CNN threatening to release this guys private information is because he doesn't hide behind a mask, which is refreshing I suppose but I wonder if he would be ok with CNN releasing his address considering some of the things Hihn has said over the years.

    What do you say, Hihn? Care to post your home address?

  • BYODB||

    But what's the apartment number? At least, I assume you live in those tiny apartments on the corner there.

    I assume you don't live in the parking lot on the opposite side, but perhaps that isn't a safe assumption.

  • mortiscrum||

    .....you're proving BYOBD's point....ever heard of the expression "when you're in a hole, stop digging?"

  • pan fried wylie||

    I'd like to see what you could do with a stick and an actual ants nest.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Long story short: ants EVERYWHERE.

  • pan fried wylie||

    One time I don't want the short version, jeez.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Trust me, seeing the phrase "urethral infestation" in a medical record is an experience that stays with you.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Interest retracted. ow, something else retracted too

  • Blue Star||

    From your momma's loins.

  • Drave Robber||

    What agression? How any windows of CNN did that guy smash, and how much equipment was destroyed?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "Aggression" here means making fun of Michael Hihn, using sarcasm in replies to Michael Hihn, or generally disagreeing with Michael Hihn in any particular.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Captain HIhn-sano strikes again!

  • juris imprudent||

    Verbal aggression? Hahahahahaha

    That and quoting oneself along side Eric Hoffer is narcissism of the highest order.

  • JWatts||

    Michael Hihn your writing comes off as completely unhinged.

  • Cyto||

    I'm on the fence..... performance art or decided to discontinue medication AMA? Hard to say.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You left out "senility due to superannuation."

  • Microaggressor||

    Question: does Hihn's performance art qualify as aggression against my brain cells?

  • ThomasD||

    Consider that it was your own brain cells that made you read it.

    A Mobius strip of mental malice.

  • BYODB||

    Huh, I honestly wouldn't have thought Hihn would be ok with major media outlets tracking down regular citizens and threatening to release their personal details to 300+ million people just because the President happened to use one of their meme's in a tweet, but there you have it.

    There is no right to privacy or free speech as an individual citizen after all. The law simply doesn't apply as written. I had no idea! I suppose they'll use the Zimmerman rationale, in that if CNN reported on them they're now a public person even if they absolutely were not before CNN reported on them.

    Seems legit, although it runs contra to my understanding of Media law and what the definition of a public figure is. I'm sure they got a waiver from this individual to release his information too, right?

  • Rebel Scum||

    grovel and apologize

    He was made to grovel. Read his apology. It's straight out of a commie dictatorship. Oh, wait, this is Hihn. So he'll be a disingenuous windbag.

  • The Elite Elite||

    Hey Hihn, since you're here can I ask a favor? Could you post that list of yours from a while back of all us aggressive commenters? I was trying to remember which of us were the worst of the worst in our horrible aggression towards you.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    Hope I made top 3--it's the least he could do in gratitude for me putting that tumor in his head.

  • Blue Star||

    Pretty much. Harsanyi is a cock holster for Drumpf. Hoping to get noticed

  • SQRLSY One||

    OK, I admit that I kinda skim-read...

    But, am I to understand that CNN (and buddy-Os) bent over backwards to go and find the identity of this thought-crime violator, just so that they could keep it secret? Kinda like in "Dr. Strangelove"? Should I be telling CNN what the real identity of "SQRLSY One" is, so that they can help me keep the secret?

    WTF?!?!?!

  • Overt||

    I think they were pissed off at the guy for making them look bad, and then they decided he had value as an unsavory racist that they could pin to Trump. ("See! Trump throws in with this hateful bigot"). And while they were at it, they engaged in what liberal SJWs normally do, they threaten to punish you severely for your wrong think- just as they have shut down pizza joints, gotten people fired, and otherwise made life miserable for people who don't hold their views.

    Why did they keep his name secret? Because he apologized. That isn't uncommon. Look at how school professors and celebrities apologize to quickly diffuse an SJW conflagration. It usually works, assuming they don't accidentally perform another action of wrong-think later.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    BY SLAMMING THEM TO THE GROUND.

    Who slammed who to the ground?

  • damikesc||

    Sorry, I have total sympathy for him. He is a troll and he enjoyed seeing the President use his meme --- but he did not ASK to be put in the spotlight. It was thrust upon him. The constant "yeah, but" in defending him is abhorrent.

    Let's pretend he is just a hateful bigot. Does he not deserve protections regardless? Protections are useless if only "good" people get them. We're all "bigots" to the Left anyway. David, do you think leftist activists view you ANY differently than they view that kid --- and, mind you, evidence exists that his meme wasn't the one used.

    Is it saying that there should be no repercussion for things we say?

    What repurcussions should he suffer? NATIONAL attacks? For what is pretty obvious trolling? He didn't physically attack anybody. Antifa goons do that and, wow, their identity always seems safe.

    Mind you, the "reporter" already ruined Justine Sacco (sad that we know her name, ain't it?) over a fucking joke she tweeted that he got his panties in a bunch over.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Funny how that works, ain't it?

  • Rhywun||

    Let's pretend he is just a hateful bigot.

    I'm still waiting for the evidence on this. Apparently, what he has said is too vile for the world's tender ears and eyes.

  • Kivlor||

    Among other things, the one that upset all the journalists and made him worthy of their morning 10 minutes hate was a picture of just how many Jews work for CNN...

  • Rhywun||

    Oh right, I heard about that one. My, how terrible.

  • Kivlor||

    He made the mistake of disliking both Jews and Muslims, 2 protected classes. Particularly, it is unlawful to hate Jews unless you are a Muslim, therefore, he deserved to be doxxed, or something like that.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    So he is a hateful bigot.

  • BYODB||

    Yeah, pretty much. The way he talks about Jews is pretty distasteful, but it's not like he was threatening violence. I don't like defending people like this, but it's protected speech as far as I can tell.

    The only disturbing thing to me is how they're trying to redefine the notion of a public figure.

  • Cyto||

    Interestingly, Adam Sandler had a hit comedy bit with his Happy Hanuka song listing prominent Jews.

    But he was lauding the greatness of his fellows, so I suppose that makes it entirely different. Plus, he's funny.

    Also - disclaimer - I haven't bothered to look up what he posted. 'Cause I don't care and it doesn't interest me. If Hitler himself came up with a joke that Jimmy Fallon repeated on the Tonight Show, my only criterion would be "was it funny?". Who the original writer was is not particularly relevant.

  • ||

    I does actually make a difference who says something.

    There was a bad remake of Heaven Can Wait within the last 10-15 years that had Chris Rock in it, reincarnated in the body of a 50-something white man.

    The only vaguely interesting scene in the movie is where he does his normal Chris Rock routine in a small comedy venue, but oddly enough the same jokes coming out of the mouth of a middle-aged white man just aren't as funny.

  • BYODB||

    If you are part of the group being mocked, it's generally considered 'ok'.

    If you are not part of the group being mocked, it's generally up to the content or the group you're mocking to decide if it's 'ok' or not.

    That isn't to say that those assertions of it being 'ok' or not are valid or invalid as a general rule, but rather this is the perception. It's the difference between self-depreciating humor and humor at the expense of others. The former is generally more acceptable than the latter in most peoples minds.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I'm not arguing that a picture pointing out all the Jews who work for CNN isn't bigoted...but I DO wonder what the difference between this, and the 750 million memes every day making fun of basically any institution in America that is over 80% white.

    You know what I'm talking about - a picture of some Congressman's staff or editorial board, and they're all white, and the caption will say something about thinking mayonnaise is spicy, and having sex through Mormon underwear.

    Major media outlets post shit like that all. the. time. Is that not also horrifically,violently racist?

  • BYODB||

    Apparently white people have the most open sense of humor out of any other racial demographic? That might be the takeaway.

    Notably, John Cleese is white. Coincidence?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    He was quite liberal with the use of "nigger," called for all Muslims to die, that sort of thing. On the other hand, almost all of those posts appear to be in the "I'm Going To Hell For This" reddit, which as I understand it is about being as inflammatory as possible.

    Still, law of goatfuckers and all that.

  • damikesc||

    I'm still waiting for the evidence on this.

    I am as well. I differentiate trolling from hate. He seems like a troll, which is fine with me. Measures less offensive than an antifa goon.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I differentiate trolling from hate.

    There is know difference. Someone who knowingly says racist things with the specific intent of upsetting people isn't just pretending to be a bigot; they are a bigot. If you think there's a distinction, I suspect you're just trying to rationalize your own bad behavior by compartmentalizing it.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>There is know difference.

    I'll rail on NOW all day but I love women

  • Microaggressor||

    Sorry stormy, but I don't think you understand how trolling works.

    But I'm not going to try to explain it because you have already impugned my motives, and I suspect you are immune to logic that contradicts the gospel of social justice.

  • Dillinger||

    South Park explained it well enough ... troll for the lolz

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    I do neither trolling nor bigotry, but I DO think there is a distinction - because there is, factually, beyond any rational dispute, a fundamental distinction. Definitionally.

    Both actions might make you a hateful asshole, but this does not itself demonstrate bigotry.

    Words have meanings.

  • Ron||

    I love trolling both Atheist and religious freaks what does that make me. it makes me "the devils advocate" but it does not make me the devil. thats the difference between trolling and bigotry one person debates the other hates

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    The constant "yeah, but" in defending him is abhorrent.

    Let's pretend he is just a hateful bigot. Does he not deserve protections regardless? Protections are useless if only "good" people get them. We're all "bigots" to the Left anyway. David, do you think leftist activists view you ANY differently than they view that kid --- and, mind you, evidence exists that his meme wasn't the one used.

    What do you think the "yeah, but" people are saying?

  • damikesc||

    What do you think the "yeah, but" people are saying?

    "He's an awful person, but..."

    The first part is irrelevant. What they did to him is wrong, period. Nothing about him is remotely relevant and is only uttered to virtue signal that they know he's a "Really bad guy" anyway.

    As was pointed out elsewhere, few people say "Yeah, Miranda was the scum of the Earth, but..." when discussing Miranda rights.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    So the "yeah, but" people are saying the exact thing you lectured them about, that protections apply to even the "bad" people.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Apparently it is "abhorrent" to ever state your personal feeling or judgments about someone or something, even as you are steadfast in supporting their rights.

    Unless I happen to share that judgment, in which case it embiggens the whole point and you're totally radical for expressing it!

  • BYODB||

    While most might hate on Robby for his virtue signaling, there are other's who hate him for his shoddy approach to journalism and his lack of research on topics outside of college rape stories.

  • chemjeff||

    Yeah the virtue signaling charge is ridonkulous in most cases. What exactly is so terrible in saying "I defend your right to do X even if I do not agree with your decision to engage in X"? Without the disclaimer, quite a few people with axes to grind will deliberately conflate "right to do X" with "agreement with X" as an attempt to slander the speaker. It's important particularly for liberty-minded people to stand up for the right to do something, and that this defense of a person's rights is not at all an endorsement of the action in question.

  • Bronson, Missouri||

    The CNN part is getting all the focus, but how about the backdrop? It's just assumed that this guy would have his life ruined by leftist maniacs for supporting the president and creating a dumb meme.

    Even if there was no racist stuff - If CNN dropped this guys name, he would be bombarded with threats, possibly lose his job, his family would be in danger. All that stuff is acknowledged by anybody discussing this issue, but also just accepted. It really should not be accepted. It's f'ing insane. The left has an army of potentially violent maniacs waiting to do their bidding. And they're happy to jump into action at the smallest perceived slight.

  • SlyJeff||

    They didn't threaten doxxing. Putting it in your headline ruins credibility.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    I read the article. It might be a thinly veiled threat, but it's unambiguous.

    CNN is ruining their credibility by pretending it isn't a threat, or would be if they had any credibility remaining.

  • SlyJeff||

    Let me be clear: doxxing is releasing address and/or other personal information about an individual. Revealing a name is not normally how the term is used or understood.

    It may have been wrong to threaten to release a name, but CNN is not threatening to give the individual's home address or something else of that level. To headline this is to spread false information that weakens the case against CNN.

    Be accurate.

  • JWatts||

    Doxxing definition - search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.

    Publishing the real name of someone who wants to keep their identity hidden would qualify as doxxing.

  • JWatts||

    Indeed, the original use of doxing was about revealing someone's real identity.

    From Wiki:

    "The term dox derives from the slang "dropping dox", which, according to Wired writer Mat Honan, was "an old-school revenge tactic that emerged from hacker culture in 1990s". Hackers operating outside the law in that era used the breach of an opponent's anonymity as a means to expose opponents to harassment or legal repercussions."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxing

  • SlyJeff||

    In common usage, it means more that just a name. So when Felicia Day was doxxed, it wasn't a simple matter of releasing her name. Everyone already knows her name.

    Whatever it has meant in origination (which I still argue implies more than a name), usage of this in the title of this article implies that CNN threatened to publish a lot of personal details about someone, and they did not. As someone who respects this particular news source more than most, I think this weakens Reason's journalism. I would never link this article because of the overreach.

  • Berserkerscientist||

    He already has a name: HanA**holeSolo. Revealing anything else is doxing.

  • JWatts||

    "In common usage, it means more that just a name."

    You are mistaking how you and your circle uses the term versus how it's actually defined. IE You are living in a bubble and assuming that it's representative of the entire world.

    "Doxxing, by way of "name-dropping," is document (doxx) dropping. It's publicly exposing someone's real name or address on the Internet who has taken pains to keep them secret. Also spelled "doxing.""

    http://www.urbandictionary.com.....rm=doxxing

  • SlyJeff||

    Fair enough. I can admit that just because I've never heard it used that way doesn't mean it's wrong. And I can see the difference between revealing a name someone intends to keep hidden vs an already known name.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    What the fuck?

    This is the internet, you don't just incorporate new evidence into your fact set - if the evidence provided counters your current viewpoint, you dig in further on your viewpoint, cast aspersions on the source of any contrary evidence, and brag about how you dominated the bitch who tried to hate on you.

    There are rules to Internetting, friend.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This. I've never read or understood that doxxing specifically referred to a street address. It's like PHI in healthcare, if you have one piece, you can then derive others. If my real full name became known my address would be painfully easy to find.

  • Larrybud||

    But of course the release of the name would in turn reveal other information about him, otherwise why even mention his name, except to "out" the actual individual?

  • Rhywun||

    Yes, getting an address from a real name takes about 30 seconds of work these days.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    If you insist on being pedantic, "doxxing" doesn't mean anything at all. Imageboards used "dox" as a noun to refer to the personal information itself, not as a verb for releasing it. Nobody used "doxxing" until the media coined it and it fed back through noobs who learned it from the media. Also, stop verbing nouns.

    I think the veiled threat is obvious, they just phrased it that way for the veneer of deniability for their fans to latch on to. If they have his name and have spend time and money digging up dirt on him, they probably have his dox as well. It's not like the address and such would stay hidden for a day once they sic the mob on him by his real name, and they know it, and they know we know it, and they know you'll pretend not to know it.

    Given the modern track record of the legacy media engineering witch hunts for fun and profit, I'm not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt here. But thanks for sharing.

  • Rhywun||

    stop verbing nouns

    No. English has been verbing nouns for a thousand years and there's no reason to stop now.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    I got caught verbing nouns once, but they forgot to Mirandize me.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    No matter how much verbing weirds language!

  • Drave Robber||

    Actually, style books of British newspapers tend to have 'this is not a verb' chapters.

  • Rhywun||

    They do like to pretend that the evolution of the language should have ended with Shakespeare. That man probably verbed more nouns than anyone.

  • ||

    And none of you are going to point out that he's verbing the noun "verb" in his exhortation to not verb nouns?

    I expect better pedantry from you people.

    smdh

  • BYODB||

    To borrow from Calvin & Hobbes, verbing weirds language.

  • BYODB||

    Damn it Citizen X! *shakes fist, then puts him down*

  • SlyJeff||

    I'm not being pendantic at all. My whole point is that anyone I know who knows what doxxing is would immediately dismiss this article and its source as overreach and biased. It makes it seem like Reason is out to get CNN by using amped up language rather than what is simple and clear.

    All they had to do was write "threaten to reveal the name" and it would be a lot better article.

  • Rhywun||

    Revealing the name is the same as revealing an address to anyone that has the internet skills of a five-year-old.

  • SlyJeff||

    So then why was releasing Felicia Day's address online a big deal?

  • kinghiram91||

    If you're 4chan you don't even need a name.

    4chan is the best at this sort of thing. They used their brand of weaponized autism to find Shia LeBeouf's "He Will Not Divide Us" art piece. They broke the poor man.

    W E A P O N I Z E D A U T I S M
    E
    A
    P
    O
    N
    I
    Z
    E
    D

    A
    U
    T
    I
    S
    M

  • XenoZooValentine||

    If you interpret it literally, I could see that. But if a local "businessman" with a reputation for violence says "nice store you got there, shame if anything were to happen to it" I get the threat loud and clear.

    What CNN did with that stilted, meandering bullshit about a straightforward question is to say "nice name you got there..." without actually saying what they meant. It's not a stretch to read it that way.

  • ||

    Either way CNN acted like dickheads because they're pretending to be sensitive sallies and are dickheads.

    How in the world this is even fucking news is retarded and points directly to the retardation that runs that organization and the retards who watch it.

    Move on.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>Also, stop verbing nouns.

    I'm nevering that.

  • kinghiram91||

    If I were to learn your real name, it would then take me 30 seconds to find your address, your employer, your known associates, etc.

    There was actually a tumblr page devoted to this, called "Getting Racists Fired". It was run by a group of Social Justice Warriors who made it their mission in life to find and report anyone they viewed as "racist" (read: guilty of wrongthink) to the "racist's" employer.

  • damikesc||

    They didn't threaten doxxing.

    If you mean that they DID it and only threatened to release the info, then you might have an argument.

    Otherwise, what they did is no different than the old "Nice store you have here. Shame if something bad happened" cliché.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    "Someone should ask Cuomo what the standard should be."

    OMG! David Harsanyi is inciting targeted horsemint! The worst kind of horsemint!

  • XenoZooValentine||

    HanAssholeSolo is probably the second most clever Star Wars screen name I've ever seen, the best being ObiWanCanBlowMe.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't get it.

  • pan fried wylie||

    ObiWan:Ken,BlowMe

  • Crusty Juggler > You||

    What the frick is going on?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  • chemjeff||

    There is no right to *anonymous* free speech. In my mind, whether a speaker's anonymity should be respected depends on the nature of the speech. Deliberately trolling speech, especially in as vile of a manner as "HanSolo" used here - not just the wrestling GIF, but also his other blatantly racist and anti-Semitic stuff - hardly constitutes a message that really deserves anonymity.

  • Rhywun||

    hardly constitutes a message that really deserves anonymity

    Anyone who wants anonymity "deserves" it. Any other response is totalitarian BS. Who is going to decide who "deserves" it, you?

  • chemjeff||

    "Anyone who wants anonymity "deserves" it. "

    Really? Okay let's consider a hypothetical case: I'm an anonymous Internet stalker sending harassing messages to my victim. Should my anonymity be respected? Do I "deserve" it?

  • Rhywun||

    In that case you're committing a crime. I would not have expected to have to qualify my statement to exclude criminal behavior, but if you want to be pedantic about it, so be it.

  • chemjeff||

    But in order to know if a crime actually was committed, then my anonymity has to be exposed. And a jury may well find that no crime was committed. Maybe my victim was just a hypersensitive snowflake? So this seems like a chicken-and-egg problem: I deserve anonymity, unless I commit a crime. But in order to know if I committed a crime, I can't be anonymous anymore.

  • pan fried wylie||

    But in order to know if a crime actually was committed, then my anonymity has to be exposed

    No, to prosecute a crime, the identity of the criminal must be established. To identify a crime requires only a victim.

  • chemjeff||

    Okay, fair enough. But the presence of a victim is not enough to establish that a crime has in fact been committed, that can only happen via a prosecution, and in so doing the identity of the alleged perpetrator must be revealed.

  • pan fried wylie||

    But the presence of a victim is not enough to establish that a crime has in fact been committed

    Foundation for that assertion would be appreciated.

  • chemjeff||

    Okay, I am using the terms a little sloppily I confess.

    My intended meaning is closer to this: If a person suffers a loss of some sort, then that person may or may not be the victim of a crime. Simply stating that something bad happened to you does not necessarily mean that you are the victim of a crime. But if you do believe that you are the victim of a crime, and you seek to prosecute whom you believe to be guilty of that crime, then the investigators would have to know the identity of the person alleged to have committed the crime, even if no crime actually occurred. So it is possible, nay even likely, for no crime to have been committed yet the veil of anonymity to have been lifted nonetheless.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    Okay, I am using the terms a little sloppily I confess.

    That's generally the giveaway that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

    Too bad RC Dean isn't here to point out your incompetence in 5 simple sentences. Snark will have ti do until a wiser person shows up that wants to waste 20 minutes responding to your diarrhea at the keyboard.

  • kinghiram91||

    "But the presence of a victim is not enough to establish that a crime has in fact been committed."

    Not if Frederick Bastiat has anything to say about it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    But in order to know if a crime actually was committed, then my anonymity has to be exposed.

    This doesn't make sense. If I commit a criminal act, my identity doesn't change that fact.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Against my better judgement, I'll point out that chemjeff's example could work if, say, the "victim" had a restraining/no-contact order against her former spouse.

    But that's a really, really rare case. And it certainly wouldn't require publishing the identity of the messager to determine whether it was the person subject to the court order.

  • Woodchippin' 4 Jesus||

    Yes.

    Tell the victim to file a police report and the police can get a warrant.

  • damikesc||

    Really? Okay let's consider a hypothetical case: I'm an anonymous Internet stalker sending harassing messages to my victim. Should my anonymity be respected? Do I "deserve" it?

    You send money to the NAACP in 1957.

    You live in Alabama.

    Do you deserve anonymity?

  • chemjeff||

    That is up to the NAACP. If they have a policy of publishing a list of their donors' names, then no I don't. If they don't, then yes I do. The state should not compel the NAACP to reveal its list of donor names against its wishes. But here is the key point: If I demand that my donation be kept confidential but the NAACP refuses to agree to my demand, I have no legitimate basis to then turn around and complain. Would you disagree?

  • damikesc||

    If I demand that my donation be kept confidential but the NAACP refuses to agree to my demand, I have no legitimate basis to then turn around and complain. Would you disagree?

    And if they accept your demand and then later change their mind?

  • damikesc||

    Deliberately trolling speech, especially in as vile of a manner as "HanSolo" used here - not just the wrestling GIF, but also his other blatantly racist and anti-Semitic stuff - hardly constitutes a message that really deserves anonymity.

    So, speech you support should be kept confidential, but if you don't like it, then it does not?

    Consistent standards, there.

    Unoffensive speech needs no protections, you realize.

  • chemjeff||

    I don't claim it is an objective standard. It is not. It is subjective. Personally I don't think it is possible to write an objective standard for when speech ought to remain anonymous in the most general sense.

    And no one is claiming that HanSolo doesn't have the right to say what he did. He does, and I support his right to do so. The only question is whether he should have the privilege of saying what he said *anonymously*.

    Another way to say it is that if you claim that all speech should remain confidential if so requested by the speaker, then that is equivalent to saying that no speech should be subject to any consequences at all. And I don't mean legal consequences - but social consequences.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I think this whole argument got off on the wrong foot when you brought in deserts.

  • chemjeff||

    Even the just deserts?

  • Cyto||

    Question for discussion: Beyond "government control"... if you have the right not to be arrested for your speech, but you can be run out of business, ostracized and chased out of the country because a powerful group disagrees with what you said and makes it their business to harass you because of your speech, do you really have the right to speak freely on this subject?

    Is it OK if the offender is a holocaust denier and the ADL is doing the "policing"?

    What if the offender is a men's rights activist who is questioning the fairness of divorce decrees and the feminist movement latches on to him as a symbol of the patriarchy?

    Or what if the offender is a prominent executive who is an immigrant and is speaking anonymously in support of illegal immigrant citizenship and the populist right is the thought police?

    Is the whole thing dependent on who is the majority, who is offended and who is doing the harassing?

  • Cyto||

    So let's imagine that you were a pretty important guy at General Electric back in the 1950's. And a closeted gay man.

    And let's suppose that you were a pretty persuasive writer. So you wrote some anonymous pamphlet pieces that strongly argued that the state was wrong, even evil to criminalize homosexuality. Let's say your arguments were wildly out of step with the times, so that you were even strongly arguing for marriage equality.

    And the writing was good. Really good. Good enough that some young people were starting to notice.

    And the New York Times, being the most important news organization of the time and at the center of the nation's consciousness, decided to report on your work. So they sent a couple of reporters to go look for you. And they found you. And they ran a front page piece showing your house, your job at GE, your kids, your secret boyfriend. etc.

    And this being the 50's, you lose your job. Of course. And you'll never get another one. Nor will you get a contract running your own business, because nobody will want to work with your company.

    And this being the 50's, you are not only divorced with no custody, the judge revokes all parental rights and bars you from ever seeing the kids again. You lose everything.

    But the government didn't arrest you for your speech.

    So .... don't be a pussy when people don't like you?

  • Cyto||

    The thought exercise is to explore the edge of free speech and where it comes in conflict with other rights, such as freedom of association. And an exploration of "what is right", as opposed to what is legal, or what should be illegal.

    There is no right answer. The majority shouting down dissent is obviously a bad outcome. Particularly if "shouting down" includes "harassing until you leave town". And double-particularly if the dissent is valid.

    But forcing everyone to do business with the grand wizard of the Klan is also pretty bad.

    Baking gay wedding cakes comes up somewhere along this spectrum as well.

    There's lots of interesting little eddies in the mixing of various ideas about rights and privileges.

  • BYODB||

    I note that you had to use the 1950's as an example because it was literally before the Civil Rights Act, and before that act applied to sexual discrimination as well.

    In other words, shitty example because it literally doesn't apply to today.

  • Cyto||

    Actually, I picked the 50's due to wide-spread and deeply held views that homosexuality was morally wrong. In order to effectively organize a campaign of hate that is powerful enough to squash free speech rights, you need a wider voice. 1950's America would have given you a huge group that agree with you, should you want to squash someone for holding pro-gay rights views. compelled speech.

    It doesn't have anything to do with CRA - although that might give that specific minority some additional protections today.

    You'd need similarly widespread and deeply held views to make an obvious example. The problem with doing that with contemporary society is .... how are you going to do that without picking someone with views that are repugnant to the majority (your audience)? It would sidetrack the argument.

    And you have to stick with the US, because this is where free speech is a constitutional right and you don't want to muddy the discussion with "well, under the EU" and "Well, the Iranian..."

    Maybe you could hold up a police lieutenant who is anonymously writing for PINAC in support of reforms in police training and new accountability measures? So this guy will definitely lose his career. And you have to posit that he is very persuasive, so he has drawn particular ire from his peers. So he'd likely face serious harassment.

    Not as obvious though.

  • BYODB||


    Actually, I picked the 50's due to wide-spread and deeply held views that homosexuality was morally wrong

    Are you stupid? Being gay wasn't just morally wrong in 1950, it was illegal. A literal crime. So in your example, your 'gay' GE employee would be arrested and put into Prison for breaking the law, not for speech you imbecile.

  • Cyto||

    Oh. I'm sorry. I was confused.

    I thought we were going to have a nice discussion about an interesting conflict between competing rights. Sorry. My bad. I usually pick up on that stuff faster.

    And in case you missed it, that was the hypothetical point of the pamphlet :

    And let's suppose that you were a pretty persuasive writer. So you wrote some anonymous pamphlet pieces that strongly argued that the state was wrong, even evil to criminalize homosexuality.
  • BYODB||

    Your hypothetical is useless because, in fact, the law did actually change later on. That wouldn't have kept anyone out of jail in 1950 for an act that shouldn't have been illegal in the first place. It is what it is.

    It isn't a hypothetical when those things actually happened. What you describe is historical, not hypothetical. I'm probably just taking it too literally, but that's probably because you're talking about history and not some ambiguous 'what if'.

    It would be closer to an analogy, only it's bad one on that front too since what the meme maker did was not illegal in any way, shape, or form. The gay man in 1950 broke the law. Bad law, yes, but at the time it was clearly not assumed to be bad law. Revisionist history doesn't make a good argument to me.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Jesus you are an ass.

  • chemjeff||

    "if you have the right not to be arrested for your speech, but you can be run out of business, ostracized and chased out of the country because a powerful group disagrees with what you said and makes it their business to harass you because of your speech, do you really have the right to speak freely on this subject?"

    The right of free speech is a negative right, not a positive right. Meaning that I am only to be free of prior restrictions on my speech. I do not have a right to compel others to change how they would respond to my speech.

    I have the right to speak freely, I do not have a right to be given a platform for my speech, nor to control the reactions of my listeners.

    "Is the whole thing dependent on who is the majority, who is offended and who is doing the harassing?"

    To a large extent, yes. If I shout "the Jews should all die", then that sort of comment would get me ostracized from a meeting of the ADL, but would get me celebrated in a meeting of the NPI, because of who is in control of those organizations and the values that each one holds. And that is the way it should be, IMO. I would not want to compel ADL to have to put up with speech that they don't like *within their own organization*, nor with NPI.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Meaning that I am only to be free of prior restrictions on my speech.

    Requiring a speaker to personally identify themselves is not a restriction on their speech?

  • chemjeff||

    "Requiring a speaker to personally identify themselves is not a restriction on their speech?"

    I consider a grant of anonymity to be a privilege rather than a right. But even if that wasn't the case, a requirement that a speaker identify him/herself is not a prior restraint on the content of the speech itself.

  • GILMORE™||

    You are mostly wrong about your original claim and everything else you are saying is handwaving tangential gibberish; iow, typical jeff

    If someone posts to a message board and the owners of that board (reddit) provide the posters some reasonable expectation that their anonymity will be preserved, then yes, they can not/should not have their identities compelled to be exposed by 3rd parties simply because you or someone else doesn't like the shit they say.

    its a different matter entirely if they actually do something criminal - like make true threats, etc.

    if said person's identity can be determined by some 3rd party via non coercive means - i.e. if they can simply cross reference public information already available in other places, then there's nothing wrong with some other citizen unconditionally sharing that information publicly.

    the problem you are dancing around in this specific case is that journalists are *threatening* to release someone's identity unless they comply with demands. i.e. "blackmail".

    Its not just some random person releasing information that is the issue = its a large media organization using the threat of doing so against a citizen with zero public interest justification.

    as said elsewhere - if the identity of the GIF maker is in the public interest, then they should simply publish it. If it isn't, they have no right to.

    the question isnt about anonymity, its about a failure to apply a public-interest test

  • GILMORE™||

    *reminder

    www.mediahelpingmedia.org/trai.....journalism

    Journalists should not normally intrude into the private lives of people - but there might be a case for doing so if the person being investigated is a public figure who is behaving differently in private from what he or she is advocating in public.

    If the decision is taken to publish, it's likely to be because the story would do one of these things:

    - Correct a significant wrong.
    - Bring to light information affecting public well-being and safety.
    - Improve the public's understanding of, and participation in, the debate about a big issue of the day. (typically understood as "affecting an upcoming vote")
    - Lead to greater accountability and transparency in public life.

    unless you can explain why outing this person's identity *(rather than simply referring to them by the handle they used) is essential to one of the above goals, then there's no reason for a media org to arbitrarily expose them in the first place. Much less *threaten* to, and pretend to play internet censor/police.

  • BYODB||

    Short Politico Story on the Zimmerman vs. NBC Suit

    So, you know, there are good reasons why you might not want to become a public figure. We already know that you can't sue for defamation even when you are pretty clearly defamed, so whatev's right?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Short Politico Story on the Zimmerman vs. NBC Suit

    Wait a minute... he was NOT a public figure at the time that NBC broadcast that thing. That broadcast was what made him a public figure. So the stricter libel standards for public figures should not apply.

    Also, it's hard to believe that NBC didn't know the audio was altered when they themselves edited it!

  • BYODB||


    Wait a minute... he was NOT a public figure at the time that NBC broadcast that thing. That broadcast was what made him a public figure. So the stricter libel standards for public figures should not apply.

    Also, it's hard to believe that NBC didn't know the audio was altered when they themselves edited it!

    Exactly. This case in particular struck me as incredibly bizarre which I why I break it out every so often when media malfeasance is reported on. It sets a precedent that the Media can't be sued for libel by a regular joe because, once they are reported on by the Media they are no longer a regular joe they are a public figure. The libel standards are basically turned on the ear as anyone is automatically assumed to be public, and thus the stricter standards essentially always apply.

  • Overt||

    I find myself in agreement with both sides.

    1) There is no right to anonymity. We do have a right to property, free movement and association with other parties with the same rights- and using those rights we can attempt to secure anonymity. But to say that you have a right to anonymity is to say that you have the right to compel someone not to speak your name- interfering with their right to free speech.

    2) We do not have a right to freedom from other people reacting to you behavior in a non coercive way. Your name being known in connection with objectionable behavior might mean your employer fires you or your wife divorces you. The behavior may be being a closeted gay or may be making racist statements. Nevertheless, people have the rights to speech (condemning you), freedom of association (firing you, or boycotting their employer) and movement (staying away from you). Just as our defense of freedom of speech means defending racist douchebags, defense of other rights means defending SJW pilers on and trolls who would use twitter to hound you out of job and home. It sucks that social ostracism is everyone's right, but that's life.

    3) Nevertheless, while in their rights to doxx this guy, CNN was guilty of being total assholes. They are a big media organization whose reach is sufficient to set loose an avalanche of SJW self-righteous assholes who are happy to damage this guy's life far out of proportion to his childish behavior.

  • GILMORE™||

    positing this issue as a "rights" claim in the first place is stupid.

    its not a question of "rights". Its that CNN isn't acting in any public-interest.

    they certainly *could* publish his name and make a claim that doing so serves some important, compelling public-interest.

    but they didn't. they simply assert they have the right to publish the person's name if that person fail to conform to their blackmail demands.

    its not about any absolute right to anything. its about media acting like the mafia and threatening citizens.

  • Overt||

    ^^It is noteworthy that I am being specific to public actors who do not carry the threat of government force behind them.

    Libertarians often spend so much time talking about coercion and rights that they have trouble admitting that sometimes there is more to the society they would choose to live in than merely respecting people's rights. Our behavior helps set the fabric of our society, and we can behave in legal, right respecting ways that still make our society a miserable place to live. And social ostracism is one of the most perfect examples of this. Social ostracism helps keep people behaving properly, but it can also be a club to bludgeon people into misery.

  • chemjeff||

    "Social ostracism helps keep people behaving properly, but it can also be a club to bludgeon people into misery."

    Yes, very much this. But the flipside of this is that we NEED some level of social ostracism of truly repugnant people and ideas, because otherwise, the government WILL step in and start imposing some rules, and we won't at all like that "solution".

    One reason, I am convinced, that Twitter and other social media outlets are creating boards and panels to police its content to root out "hate speech" and the like, is that they are terrified of the government stepping in and doing it for them in one way or another.

    And I think the reason it hasn't happened yet is because the dark underbelly of social media is still really quite a small place. Once your elderly grandma is exposed to hate-filled memes on a daily basis, you can bet that she is going to be demanding some government action to put a stop to it.

  • chemjeff||

    Oh good, the Arrogant Gilmore barges in and decides to tell us all what the "REAL ISSUE" is. You know, we were having a discussion about anonymity and speech in general, not limited to this specific case. We weren't talking specifically about journalists' obligations and their particular code of ethics, only about whether *in general* claims of anonymity ought to be respected. No one in this discussion was defending specifically what CNN did, or what HanSolo did. You know, we were talking about the LARGER ISSUES AND PRINCIPLES involved. No one asked you to intrude and threadjack this discussion. Go fuck off, Gilmore.

  • pan fried wylie||

    If we've made it to the Fuck Off Stage finally, then, please, take your own advice, jeff.

    Pulling a "the adults are speaking" while you crash matchbox cars together, priceless.

  • chemjeff||

    I am just tired of Gilmore's antics. He does this quite often. He rudely barges into a conversation and proceeds to lecture everyone as to what the "CORRECT TRUTH" is.

  • GILMORE™||

    He rudely barges into a conversation

    in a public forum. sorry about that, snookums.

  • GILMORE™||

    we were having a discussion about anonymity and speech in general,

    feel free.

    My comment was clarifying that whatever you determine (or not) about "rights" has little/nothing to do with the actual subject of the article, and the specific instance of CNN's behavior.

  • chemjeff||

    "My comment was clarifying that whatever you determine (or not) about "rights" has little/nothing to do with the actual subject of the article, and the specific instance of CNN's behavior."

    That was already obvious to everyone participating in this discussion. Why you decided to come in here and repeat the utterly obvious in an insulting tone speaks more to your arrogance.

  • GILMORE™||

    well, you can carry on and ignore what i said, or continue to piss and moan about it.

  • Cyto||

    It is an internet forum. Arrogance is a trifle.

    HnR is remarkably civil, even with our sock puppets and professional trolls. Complaining that some guy's tone is arrogant is a bit silly in the context of "internet post".

    Count your blessings that he didn't use a forbidden racial epithet, threaten you with rape and then issue a bunch of death threats. Because that's where most of the internet goes pretty quickly.

  • GILMORE™||

    we were talking about the LARGER ISSUES AND PRINCIPLES involved

    My point was that if there is any "larger issue" at all its the question of "Journalism in the Public-interest" (see link above) - not some silly question of 'anonymity rights' that no one anywhere has claimed or asserted.

    actually, the only person who used the term "right" was CNN, in claiming that they reserved the right to disclose said person's name IF they violated [insert arbitrary demands]

    which many other writers have pointed out is the most disturbing aspect of this whole story.

    (see the Greenwald link below, or a half dozen other examples. if there's anything which both sides of the political spectrum seem to agree on here, is that CNN crossed an important line when they threatened a private citizen with doxxing)

    I think if people want to better understand that issue, they need to understand the whole 'public-interest' question. It last came up in the Gawker case, and i think it was actually surprising how little-understood the issue was.

  • chemjeff||

    My response is: In general, you cannot control how others will respond to you, nor should you be able to do so.

    Respecting people's free choices also means respecting their terrible choices, even while not agreeing with the choices themselves.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    if you claim that all speech should remain confidential if so requested by the speaker, then that is equivalent to saying that no speech should be subject to any consequences at all. And I don't mean legal consequences - but social consequences.

    1. There are some forms of speech which are inherently non-anonymous, such as appearing on national TV or tweeting under your real name. Obviously the speaker can't request anonymity in those circumstances.

    2. The main check against "bad" speech is criticism/refutation of the speech itself, which has the same effect whether the speech is anonymous or not.

    3. Anonymous speech is inherently given less weight by most people than speech with a name attached to it. So that is another check against hiding behind anonymity.

    4. As far as social consequences go -- I don't see how a libertarian can really value punishing people for speech even in that way. Not to say that libertarians would oppose "social consequences", just that they're not really valuable from a libertarian perspective.

  • TW||

    Anytime you speak or write, you open yourself up to criticism or repercussions for the things that you said or wrote. If you write or say hateful things under a pseudonym, you still face that risk because there is always the chance that someone can find out your true identity. Some people forget that. This may be a reminder.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    But that's the thing. One man's "troll" is another man's "person with an unpopular opinion". If you're cool with the former being punished for their speech then you are opening up the floodgates for the latter as well.

  • chemjeff||

    "If you're cool with the former being punished for their speech then you are opening up the floodgates for the latter as well."

    Well of course no one here is advocating for government punishment of speech, the only punishment of relevance here is in terms of social pressures. And in general, I believe that everyone is responsible for what they say. They aren't responsible for how others react, but they are responsible for the words that they use. So yes, non-trolls who have unpopular opinions have a higher burden to meet when uttering their views, because they are risking more than those who have popular, mainstream views, because they are risking unpleasant reactions that they have less control over. It is not fair, but I don't see any reasonable way around it. There just isn't a level playing field in terms of the range of opinions, and attempts to try to level it would IMO do more harm than good, so we are stuck with it.

    But the problem with widespread Internet anonymity is that it breaks the link between speech and responsibility. The trolls out there can say whatever they want and suffer zero consequence as a result. And so predictably we have genuinely vile trolls out there. The only way to have responsible discourse, I think, is to reforge the link between speech and responsibility. Of course not all speech HAS to be "responsible", but the less of a link between speech and responsibility there is, the more likely we are to get irresponsible speech.

  • BYODB||

    So, you admit that the wrestling meme on it's own isn't really a big deal to anyone at all but after CNN did some digging and found other meme's that could be interpreted as distasteful only then do you decide that his identity can be given up by CNN.

    Seems legit, right? Should I take this to mean that if CNN did not find other, unrelated, meme's that are distasteful that we wouldn't be having this conversation at all? Because that's the crux of the issue here. CNN went digging looking for dirt on this guy, found something they could use for an ad hominem, and then ran with it.

  • Overt||

    I think it is even beyond that. Theoretically, CNN could have set the hounds on this guy merely for the "crime" of humiliating Team Blue.

    In my mind, CNN's intransigence here is that they are helping to fuel this team Red/Blue animosity. They know that the current atmosphere is one where legions of people on both sides love nothing better than to fuck with the Target of the Day. This is a dismaying state of public discourse.

    A good behavior from CNN would be to say, "We don't think it is right for either side to single out this kid and make his life hell. And so we will be keeping his identity hidden." Instead they imply that they know what would happen if his name were released and threaten to bring down the thunder if the kid does something they don't like.

    And that is the crux of this whole ordeal, in my mind. This NY Times Magazine article is a really good analysis of how this Pepetually Outraged Pilers On phenomenon has really fucked over people's lives. And CNN is signalling that they are ok with using that as a tool to get the behavior they want, when people really ought to see that it is a terrible social trend that threatens our society. Rather than acting like the civil news crier charged with elevating the discourse of our nation, they are reveling in the mantle of mob leaders.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    This NY Times Magazine article is a really good analysis of how this Pepetually Outraged Pilers On phenomenon has really fucked over people's lives.

    And it's hardly a coincidence that Andrew Kaczyinski, the same guy who issued this veiled threat against Han, was the one who set the internet mob on Justine Sacco.

    If anyone deserves to be thrown feet-first in the ol' woodchipper, it's Andrew.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    There is no right to *anonymous* free speech.

    Depends on the reason for de-anonymizing the speech. If the speech was itself illegal (fraud, death threats) then it's legitimate in order to enforce the law. If the speech was not illegal but related to illegal activity (someone saying they witnessed a murder) then it's legitimate in order to further the investigation. If the identity of the speaker provides significant context for evaluating the speech (such as a public figure editing his own Wikipedia page under a pseudonym, or an oil company publishing a pamphlet about the dangers of windmills under a fake name) then it's legitimate too.

    But if the reason is just that you want to enable retribution against the speaker for what they said, then no, that's fucking bullshit and anti-liberty.

  • pan fried wylie||

    "If the identity of the speaker provides significant context for evaluating whether the speech constitutes actionable fraud...."

    better?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Hmmm not sure. That wasn't really what I was trying to communicate. If Hillary Clinton uses a pseudonym to delete all content about the email server scandal from her Wikipedia article, that's not really actionable fraud, but it would be legitimate for Wikipedia to out her as having done so.

  • Overt||

    There is no right to *anonymous* free speech.

    Depends on the reason for de-anonymizing the speech. If the speech was itself illegal (fraud, death threats) then it's legitimate in order to enforce the law

    I think there is a difference between *rights* and *legitimacy*. Again, a right to anonymity by definition means compelling someone not to speak your identity. Nobody has that right. They have every right to try and SECURE their anonymity- as long as they don't interfere with the rights of others (fraud, coercion, theft, etc).

    What I think is happening here is that people are confusing the right to seek and maintain one's own anonymity with a perceived moral obligation for a 3rd party to protect that anonymity- not because it is a right, but because it is helpful to a good society. I would expect that if CNN values civil discourse, a stable society free of social ostracism, etc that they would morally object to revealing the identity of someone who went through the trouble of acting anonymously. And I think it is hypocritical and destructive to just such a mission for them to threaten to out someone, with the implication that they would suddenly have their life turned upside down by the Perpetual Outrage Machine. They have every right to do so, but it isn't "fair play".

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Yeah, there's multiple questions all rolled into one.

    Should the government be able to demand a speaker's identity to be revealed to them?

    Is it moral for a private entity (e.g. CNN) to publish a speaker's identity when the speaker was clearly attempting to remain anonymous? Likewise is it moral for the intermediate entities (Reddit, Time Warner) to assist CNN in this effort by revealing their own pieces of the puzzle?

    If a private entity does publish a speaker's identity, do they become civilly liable if violent harm is done to that person in retribution for the speech?

  • chemjeff||

    I agree with your first paragraph.

    But your second:

    "But if the reason is just that you want to enable retribution against the speaker for what they said, then no, that's fucking bullshit and anti-liberty."

    I suppose it depends on what you mean more specifically by "significant context" as you posted in your first paragraph. Could an argument not be made that the demographics of individuals making horrible statements be of a certain relevant context in a certain situation?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Could an argument not be made that the demographics of individuals making horrible statements be of a certain relevant context in a certain situation?

    Perhaps you should try to make it then, since you obviously want to.

    If someone says "Visigoths are inferior to Ostrogoths", there is seems little value in determining whether it was said by a Visigoth or an Ostrogoth, other than for those who wish to employ various logical fallacies in response.

  • chemjeff||

    I'm not necessarily agreeing with that argument, but I can perhaps see the basis for it.

    For instance, using your example, if you take it as a given that there ought to be less Ostrogoth Supremacy and/or bigotry against Visigoths in society, wouldn't it be helpful to know what are the factors that lead to such beliefs?

    But I guess the part I struggle with is whether there ought to be any sort of organized effort devoted to stamping out Ostrogoth Supremacy. That easily leads to a witch hunt.

    On the other hand, if there aren't private actions devoted to stopping social ills, then the government will step in and do something about it, and whatever the government does is likely to be bad.

    So I am somewhat torn on the issue myself.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    And I should have been more specific with that remark. I was referring to situations where anonymity is clearly being used to prevent the audience from knowing something that would affect their assessment of the speech itself.

    Under no circumstances should anonymity be removed purely in order to allow members of the public to punish the speaker for the speech.

  • chemjeff||

    "Under no circumstances should anonymity be removed purely in order to allow members of the public to punish the speaker for the speech."

    Okay, here is a hypothetical situation for you.

    Suppose the CEO of Acme Corp. comes across an anonymous comment on a message board written by "AcmeEmployee12345" that says some horrible things that are not defamatory to the company, but still tarnishes the image of the company. "Death to Jews" and the like. Setting aside for the moment legal issues, would the CEO have a legitimate moral claim to have the identity of the commenter revealed so that he can fire this employee? (Assume that the commenter really is an employee.)

  • Finrod||

    So post your name, address, and phone number or else you're a slaver.

  • Dillinger||

    journalism is dead.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's important to remember that this entire controversy sprung from the hysterics surrounding a juvenile presidential tweet.

    Very important. When you totally lose your shit you make bad decisions. CNN has lost its shit and made one bad editorial decision after another. The same out-of-proportion response to the Trump presidency that ultimately scattered Hit & Run's beloved commenters to the wind is causing journalists to fall over themselves making Trump's declarations of fake news a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. And the reactions to Trump's Twitter feed have been a net gain for the president, so he ain't stopping anytime soon.

  • Crusty Juggler > You||

    I am happy that Reason has pretty much stopped publishing so many reactionary hot takes.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    At this publication, unlike other journalistic outposts, that was inevitable. Things were always going to calm the fuck down here. Everyone just went batshit.

  • Crusty Juggler > You||

    I agree completely.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, then, I disagree.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    They were warm takes, at best.

  • ||

    I thought The Glibbening was reaction to other commenters more than the writers. I might be wrong.

    In reality only a minority of the writers became unhinged. Gillespie, Welch, Sullum, Shack, and a few others while not liking Trump, have been IMO fair. poor Suderman couldn't get out of bed for a month.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    The Glibbening contains multitudes. Don't forget the mama!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That's a bit harsh. While I can see that it may not have been something the magazine's blog could or should have covered, it does seem like a type of event that gets covered here all the time. (I'd be interested if anyone was given an explanation from the editors.)

  • ||

    They were.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Bigorati gotta bigorate.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Don't talk about my mom.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The Glibbened include many who had been core commenters in the Before Times. As far as i can tell, it was due to a combination of things: what many saw as raging TDS among the writers in the run-up to the election was part of it, along with the concomitant refusal to, in their opinion, adequately cover the Clinton server scandal. Probably the bigger issue was that a particular commenter's mother was involved in a case of police brutality that Reason declined to cover, despite that same commenter's family having recently featured in a fundraising appeal for the magazine. This was taken as (because it honestly was) a dick move on KMW's part. There may be other factors that i'm leaving out because it's kind of hard to care too much.

    If people were leaving Hit'n'Run because of problems with other commenters, there'd be no one here at all. Not even Tulpa.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This was taken as (because it honestly was) a dick move on KMW's part.

    Dick move or not, it was probably a sound decision editorially. As I recall, there was no video and facts were in dispute. Publishing it would have been a risky move. Kind of like writing about a mother who died in Iraq due to Trump's travel ban when the facts may not support that narrative. You set yourself and the story's subjects up for a possible fall.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I agree it was a sound editorial decision, but (at least according to the Glibertariat) KMW wouldn't cover the story because it was "too local." I don't know if she gave other less-shitty reasons as well, but that straw right there put a lot of dromedaries in wheelchairs.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    It wasn't so much not covering one particular item as it was the reasoning (here anyway) at it came off as "we'd rather do more TDS." Sins of commission rather than sins of omission.

  • Cyto||

    Yeah, I don't think it had anything at all to do with other folks in the comments section.

    There was a massive rise in the number of comments disagreeing with the writers.

    Usually comments around here (at least by the non-trolls) are of the "Yeah, I agree, but you don't go far enough because you are not really a libertarian" variety.

    But that changed. The phrase "Trump derangement syndrome" was everywhere.

    Heck, I not only didn't support Trump, I loudly and publicly ridiculed him for being so delusional to think anyone would ever vote for him. And I really meant "even one single vote". (yeah, how'd that work out for me?). And even I felt moved to post things that began with "I can't believe you are making me defend Trump..."

    When a big chunk of your supporter's first reactions to a large portion of your articles is "Oh, come on!", something's got to give. And so it did. And a bunch of the more interesting commenters ran out and made a safe space (ironic reference intended). A bunch of the more Republican commenters went with them.

    And as to the refusal to cover that one story - the driving factor there was that you needed someone motivated enough to go out and build something. And that was the push to do that. It probably didn't motivate more than a few folks, but it provided the spark to get a destination built. And if you build it....

    And yeah, nobody leaves because of difficult commenters. Heck, there's only a half-dozen real people here anyway.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Shut up, Tulpa.

  • Cyto||

    You win the very location-specific, tiny portion of the internet. Excellent joke. Too bad only a handful of people will ever laugh at it.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I was about to leave because of the other commenters (then Dean had to steal my thunder!), and I know a few left in part because of the general mood of the commentariat; if nothing else, it was all rather boring, wasn't it?

  • Crusty Juggler > You||

    Incredibly boring.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Gillespie is one of the worst.

  • GILMORE™||

    The Glibbening was reaction to other commenters more than the writers. I might be wrong.

    i'm just one person, but my opinion is that you're right.

    its not about Reason writers or their change of editorial emphasis (tho it didn't help). it was about the comments section turning into a boring shitshow of endlessly repeated petty-squabbles. plus, the trolls.

    anyway, if you really care, then just go over there and ask. its not that hard.

  • ||

    Shhh, it's a secret!

    Some secret organization.

  • Cyto||

    Shhhh.. Don't tell them it is a secret.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

  • Cyto||

    Yeah...... I stand corrected. I had forgotten about some of that stuff. I suppose that is a chicken and the egg situation.

    Because you had an article that said Trump sux. Then someone would take umbrage. Then someone else would take offense at taking umbrage. It was stupid and circle-jerky. But that describes most partisan politics anyway.

  • GILMORE™||

    contra what i see people sometimes saying here... the people over there aren't "pro trump" in any particular way.

    its more reminiscent of that quote by hoffer =

    "The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a God or not."

    most aren't either particularly pro or con trump. and if someone says, "he's a fucking 'tard for X reason", people can talk about whether or not that's the case in a relatively sane and sober way. That wasn't possible here. Everyone would start shrieking and pretending that there's some fundamental Yokel/Cosmo divide that cannot be crossed. It was stupid and boring, so people left.

    As for Reason writers.... I think the articles here have gotten ... less bad in that regard. Even now they have to insert these standard disclaimers that everything Trump does is by-default awful, even when they're trying to cover some aspect that is modestly positive. See: the first sentence of the post here, on a topic that actually has nothing at all to do with the president. Its just... silly. and saying so isn't "pro-trump". Its just fucking bored with the knee-jerk tribal posturing so that everyone knows what 'side' you're on.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    See: the first sentence of the post here, on a topic that actually has nothing at all to do with the president.

    Did you get the links mixed up, or are you actually saying the quote that starts that post is off topic?

  • GILMORE™||

    Headline =

    "Statism Is Failing in Venezuela, North Korea, and New Jersey [Reason Podcast]"

    First sentence =

    "Donald Trump has been a vulgar shithead for as long as he has been in American public life"

    i don't think "off topic" is even the right term.

    if you want to quibble "but they say *later* that trump tweets are part of it", as though that somehow makes it all perfectly reasonable.... well, that says more about you and your own desperate need to rationalize than anything exculpatory of the magazine's absurd editorial tics.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I don't... the post is about the podcast... in which they discuss the president's tweets... and they lead off with a quote from the podcast that the post is about...

    I'm the one with the desperate rationalization here?

  • GILMORE™||

    yes.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    The topic was the latest reason podcast, and that was a quote fr

    You're right, this is pointless.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There were also at the beginning of the year technical problems at this site which went unaddressed that may have been a contributing factor.

  • GILMORE™||

    yeah, that too.

    its worth noting, Fist, that the Other Site was actually in the works for about a year+ prior. it didn't birth overnight. IOW, things like "the comment system here sux" contributed to people's migration, but not the generation of an alternative site in the first place.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    anyway, if you really care, then just go over there and ask. its not that hard.

    Being one of the reasons many left I can't very well do that, can I? And that's what she said.

  • GILMORE™||

    Being one of the reasons many left

    ?

    literally no one has ever even suggested that. unless i missed something. you remain "beloved" AFAIK

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So you people won't even let me flatter myself that I'm important enough to cause people to leave.

  • GILMORE™||

    (sigh) Ok, "you're the worst and no one likes you and you're fat and you have no friends"

    (pulls over feinting couch for sobbing Fist to fling himself upon)

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I most certainly am not fat.

  • Trigger Hippie||

    Forgive me for corpse-fucking the thread, but I can attest to this.

    I lurked/commented here for five odd years before I wandered over to Glibs a little less than a month after its inception. While I'd be lying if I said I've read every single thread since then, I can almost guaran-damn-tee you that nobody over there harbours you any ill will.

    The general consensus was that you work for the magazine/website in one fashion or the other, and felt a sense of loyalty that required you to refrain from commenting there.

    As far as I know, nobody begrudged you for that.

  • Fuck You - Cut Spending||

    Boring comment threads usually take care of themselves. Commenter John was becoming unhinged but one could skip over his posts as easily as one could skip over Tony posts.

    It really was the editorial slant becoming "anyone but Trump/socialsim-lite" when the reality is that Trump actually does have one or two libertarian ideas that he's willing to push forwards, another dozen or so that he'll give up easily on, and hundreds of bad ideas. Clinton's ideas were all bad, without exception. Which makes an "anyone but Trump" slant kinda counter-productive for trying to get a foothold for libertarian ideas. And really, Dalmia's socialism-lite articles probably turned off people even more. The mag/site was more interested in social-signaling to liberals than social signaling to conservatives. There is no good reason to signal to one and disregard the other when you claim to be able to appeal to the less-puritan members of each.

  • GILMORE™||

    i made a point in February which i think summed up some of the dissatisfaction with the editorial skew....

    Its too long to quote here (its an entire thread), but the core of it has to do with asking "what's the point?" of Reason-brand libertarianism.

    - If its to "create a bigger audience" - iow, 'enlarge the tent', and try and sell libertarian thinking to people on the margins of mainstream politics, well, its doing it wrong.

    - if its to provide a platform through which *current* identifying-as-libertarian voters express their views, well, its doing that wrong too.

    the core question revolves around "what issues do you declare a principled position which cannot be violated, and what issues do you choose to compromise on?"

    when measured on that criteria, Reason is sometimes a weird combination of "flexibility on issues they don't *need* to be flexible on (eg. free association?)", and "issues which they are inflexible on (e.g. open borders) which probably require more nuance"....

    ....which combines, in my view, to both dissatisfy existing libertarians, and also make huge swaths of *potential* libertarians instantly reject it. Not the best mix.

    And FWIW i don't think people left the comments because of this; they left because the collective bitching between different cohorts - right and left - was boring. Many/most still read the mag.

  • sparkstable||

    You put into words what I've been trying to figure out as to why Reason leaves me wanting.

    It's like they have the right ideas in all the wrong places.

  • Ride 'Em||

    Okay, in my opinion this is all a bunch of sanctimonious moaning over a silly meme. My first thought when I saw the meme was that, as pro wrestling does, a fake attack on a fake news channel. The resulting kerfuffle was also fake. Is CNN going to monitor the originator of the meme forever? Will Reddit reveal the poster if he/she ever posts another meme that attacks CNN. And apparently the originator has no balls if CNN is reporting the apology correctly.

  • Woodchippin' 4 Jesus||

    But on the bright side, Dave, German Lopez from Vox wrote the best critique against CNN I've read.

  • BYODB||

    Vox, while it tends to lean far to the left, is still one of the better outlets if you want the 'liberal leftist' take without the same degree of gibbering insanity. They genuinely still release real and powerful articles on occasion, unlike HuffPo and Slate.

  • GILMORE™||

    Vox, while it tends to lean far to the left, is still one of the better outlets if you want the 'liberal leftist' take without the same degree of gibbering insanity.

    lol, no.

    Vox publishes Dylan Matthews
    "the American Revolution was a mistake"

    Dylan Matthews.
    "The Senate is a profoundly anti-democratic body and should be abolished."

    And Dylan Matthews is not their 'lone outlier' of derp. They have many aspirants trying to take his crown
    "Democrats are the best stewards of the economy"

    they are a sewer of the worst kind of idiotic proggy idiocy. We haven't even gotten to Yglacias yet.

  • BYODB||

    Note that I didn't say that all their writers are good, merely that they're one of the better one's. Compare to the writers at HuffPo, who have literally advocated for white people to be disenfranchised, or Slate which is simply a joke to everyone, and it's not that hard to look good by comparison.

  • ||

    No.

  • GILMORE™||

    not that hard to look good by comparison.

    I think you're setting the bar so low as to be a useless distinction.

    just my opinion. Yes, occasionally they do say something 'not stupid', which is better than Salon, who never does.

    but i think 90% of their content still contributes to the active retardening of the public. Yglacias alone is like a one man fallacy-factory.

  • Cyto||

    Is New Republic still a proggy worth listening to?

    Mother Jones has some good proggy mixed in with derpy proggy, I think. Although my definition of "good" seems to be "accidentally stumbled on to the libertarian position".

    Are there any reliable sources for intelligent and thoughtful ideological commentary anymore, like we used to have with National Review and New Republic?

  • GILMORE™||

    Is New Republic still a proggy worth listening to?

    I rarely read them, so my opinion probably isn't worth anything

    Based on their credulous interview with the same Nancy MacLean who wrote the book full of lies and misrepresentations about libertarians, i would guess "no".

    Are there any reliable sources for intelligent and thoughtful ideological commentary anymore

    I think there are a couple of new magazines on the hard-left and 'classical liberal left' that are worth reading for various reasons.

    re: the former, "Current Affairs" is a highbrow new publication which attempts to be a harder-left approach to the sort of stuff New Republic did. a "less retarded Jacobin", maybe.

    re: the latter = there's this https://areomagazine.com/ They are more 'centrist liberals', albeit ones who find the current SJW/PC/anti-free speech/Regressive Left appalling. Many very interesting articles there.

  • BYODB||

    Here's an example of Vox actually putting something out that is worth reading:

    Smug American Liberalism

    Written by Emmett Rensin.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, but you sure do like making blanket assertions. I do too, so I can understand the tendency.

  • GILMORE™||

    Emmett Rensin.

    Right.

    the same Emmett Rensin.who said people should riot in response to Trump's victory, and who continues to wax-philosophical about the necessity of violence to achieve just social ends (aka "resisting fascism - aka, "anything other than beneficent progressive overlords")

    Rensin is exactly the sort of useless lefty faux-intellectual retard i never ever want to read.

  • GILMORE™||

    * but still do, mostly because i follow the "Left vs. Leftier" millenial-journalist infighting about 'what to do' in the face of the utter failure of Democrats to adequately sell progressive ideas to the unwashed rubes and deplorables who still unfortunately populate this country.

  • GILMORE™||

    btw, that Rensin piece is not bad. If nothing new.

    People have been pointing out the same thing for a long time;

    if he adds value at all, it in waking some people within the left to criticisms which people outside the left have repeatedly made for nearly a generation. It only reads like wisdom to some because its said by someone 'trusted'.

  • BYODB||

    Well, I think I got whiplash from you comments but I'm glad you agree that even a stopped watch can be right twice a day. I specifically added who wrote it because the guy is a piece of work, but that doesn't change the fact that Vox saw fit to publish what is actually an excellent piece.

    That's kind of what I'm trying to get at, in that yeah Vox is way left leaning but at least they publish good stuff on occasion so I find it difficult to write them off completely as an outlet. I don't have any problem writing off HuffPo and Salon, though, since after reading them for a year I realized I hadn't read anything worth reading there in the same amount of time.

  • GILMORE™||

    Vox saw fit to publish what is actually an excellent piece.

    i already said they occasionally manage to say "not stupid" things- which doesn't really make my point about Rensin any 'whiplash'. He's still bloody awful.

    And I wouldn't call Rensin's thing an 'excellent' counter-example since the core of his point - e.g. how democrats abandoned the middle class long ago, and how the left-dominated-media helps immunize them from self-criticism - has been repeatedly said by others over many many years.

    i don't think it quite counterbalances the black-hole of derp of the rest of their output represents.

    Noted = the author of this piece here (Harsanyi) wrote a pretty good piece a while back titled "How Vox Makes Us Stupid". I don't remember it in detail, but if i recall, he attacks the premise of "Explainer Journalism" itself, which is their whole raison d'etre.

    probably worth re-reading.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    News media outlets have been around in various forms since the late 17th century, but the idea that they should - or could - be impartial is younger than my grandparents, who are still alive.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    I disagree with Hunter Thompson on some things, but his take that "objective journalism" was always a scam is still relevant today.

  • Finrod||

    I disagreed with HST on numerous issues, but damn the man could write, and he was dead on regarding "objective journalism".

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    There's a happy medium between impartial and dishonest.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>detestable messages meant to troll and harass

    wah.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    For me, the two most interesting takes on this have been Popehat's (CNN, Doxing, And A Few Ways In Which We Are Full of Shit As A Political Culture) and Eugene Volkoh (Blackmail is surprisingly hard to define).

  • Cyto||

    Glenn Greenwald had a pretty interesting take too. He's pretty generous to CNN, suggesting that the language looks like it was inserted by CNN lawyers (under the assumption of "who writes like that?").

    The reality here is likely more complicated. The most offensive passage here — "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change" — sounds like classic lawyer language that executives or corporate lawyers would demand be included. It does not sound like something a typical journalist would write on their own. (CNN did not respond to The Intercept's inquiries about who inserted this language or what future behavior on the part of the user might trigger CNN's threat to expose him; we will update this article if any response is received.)

    While this is a pretty generous viewpoint of the reporter, it also puts the entire organization on the hook for the threat.

    An interesting read, being that Greenwald is the "Information wants to be free" reporter of record for wikileaking. Reading between the lines, he seems to think that outing the guy as a racist nazi is standard reporting fare - the only problem being that they threatened the guy instead of just reporting it. And that the only reason they reported on it in the first place was because they were offended by the "CNN got slammed" take of the meme.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    I believe it's been confirmed that a CNN exec inserted that language. Which makes it look more like some CNN lifer was truly butthurt by this trifle and wanted to be seen as doing the guy a kindness.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Extremely unlikely that that was inserted by a lawyer. It doesn't appear to shield them from liability at all, which is what a lawyer would insist that something be inserted. In fact, it opens them up for liability more than anything else. Any lawyer worth their salt would recognize it as implied blackmail.

    It seems more likely that it's a journalist who fancies himself a legal expert trying to use lawyer-ish language.

  • Cyto||

    If you're going to create nasty memes to get attention, ..., I have no sympathy for you.

    That's where we are going to start? Nasty? Really? Nasty!?!

    It is a silly little commentary about a stupid conflict between a politician and a news organization. It is absolutely 100% safe for elementary school kids to see.

    In no way could anyone rationally deem this little clip "nasty". It is exactly as nasty as saying "OOOOH! Burn!"

    Did this sort of "I'm on your side on this, trust me!" signalling exist in American Journalism before the advent of the Soave? I don't really remember it existing, but I'm sure it did.

    So anyway, from there we get to:

    It's important to remember that this entire controversy sprung from the hysterics surrounding a juvenile presidential tweet. Since the tweet, I have watched many journalists act as if Trump called the Gestapo into action. This only a few weeks after an out-and-loud progressive taken in by the frenzy of the day attempted to assassinate Republican congressional leadership, a story most journalists dropped quicker than the middling Trump Twitter troll.

    OK! Now there's a strong finish! And directly on-point with what is actually happening.

    Oh, one last thing... apparently the guy CNN fingered isn't the guy who made the video that Trump retweeted. Same idea, different video. Not sure exactly how that fits in your narrative, but it would seem relevant.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Did this sort of "I'm on your side on this, trust me!" signalling exist in American Journalism before the advent of the Soave?

    Robby is, like, twelve. Of course it did.

  • Cyto||

    Funny.

    That was a little bit of an in-joke side punch. In the Pre-Trump era, I just don't remember so many people prefacing everything they write with "I really hate these people, but". It sounds a lot like "some of my best friends are..."

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    The proliferation of blogs and Internet* opinion pieces have made it more common for writers to inject their personal opinions, but I think it has more to do with the current culture war going on. We're talking a lot more about free speech now, which means talking about unsavory people with unsavory opinions, and it's understandable to make clear that one's support for the right of the speaker is not support for the speaker's views. Because people are stupid and are quick to conflate the two.

    This confusion doesn't arise as often when we're talking gun rights, or the drug war, or due process, or wonky policy questions, so there's less need to clarify one's personal opinion. I don't know the kind of comments the ACLU made back during Skokie, but there's nothing wrong with prefacing with, "Now, these Nazis are awful, but..." Does anyone whine that the (false) Voltaire quote starts by disapproving of what has been said?

    *(really, am I the only one left capitalizing Internet?)

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    Inspiring the hate of Reasoniods is a low bar.

  • Cyto||

    Ugh.. I hate those obvious jokes.

  • lap83||

    Wait, Robby is cytotoxic? Mind blown.

  • Fairbanks||

    The nasty reference was about the guy's other memes.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Except they're not what he got in trouble for. If it hadn't been for the wrestling GIF, CNN would never have given a damn about him.

    It's like the "Innocence of Muslims" video guy -- the feds wanted to punish him for that, so they tracked him down and got lucky when it turned out he was in violation of parole and they could send him to jail for facially legitimate reasons. But make no mistake, he was only put in jail because of that video.

  • Devastator||

    Yeah I've seen much worse in political cartoons on CNN and other mainstream sites that I trust.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It wasn't entertainment.

    I disagree. That was the only thing the story was.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Politics is entertainment and media is entertainment, Donald Trump is a longtime media entertainer who switched to being a political entertainer, and the fact that the meme in question involves professional wrestling is an unintentional bit of delicious appropriateness.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It wasn't intended that way.

    They were trying to scare their critics by making an example of somebody.

    The video Trump tweeted was entertaining.

  • croaker||

    At least CNN didn't get a subpoena rubner-stamped...

  • Ken Shultz||

    It should probably be noted that CNN was already on the defensive--having fired a whole crew of reporters for reporting stories on Trump aids that appeared to be both libelous and made up on their face.

    Trump's post was, apparently, in celebration of the fact that CNN had been caught--in fact-- fabricating fake news against his administration.

    CNN did the right thing in firing that crew. But they thought that was all water under the bridge. We're back to being respectable news agency--can't you tell? We fired a bad apple and everything!

    News media is a weird business because although it is subject to the same market discipline as other industries, it pays returns to its owners in ways that are hard to quantify, too.

    Warren Buffet gets great coverage in the news media, in part, because he owns a third of it. His acolyte, Bill Gates, bought into NBC and launched MSNBC in the wake of the antitrust suit against Microsoft. He's enjoyed pretty good press ever since, too.

    Trump should have bought into some media properties before he launched his campaign. They owe him nothing, and they have no reason to fear him.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Think of it this way . . .

    When you're a reporter on TV, consumer may have a lot of options, but there are only a handful of employers who dominate those options.

    You can work for Comcast, you can work for Disney, or you can work for 21st Century Fox, you can work for Viacom CBS.

    If you're working for Fox, and you might need to get a job from one of the others someday, you better watch what you say about the people who own those other companies.

    If Trump had a substantial stake in any of those companies, the coverage would have been different.

  • Devastator||

    Warren Buffet gets great coverage because he's smart and weighs what he says. His ideology is also of the moderate to liberal bent which agrees with the ideology of most mainstream reporters. He also doesn't spend billions of dollars like the Koch Brothers and Soros in an attempt to buy off politicians and low information voters.

  • n00bdragon||

    This piece has a very odd vibe for a libertarian publication. The cornerstone of libertarianism is that the government shouldn't have the right or the power to harm people at its whim. The whole point of free speech is that it can't fall to the powerful (or anyone really) to decide what is and what isn't allowed to be said.

    But regulations aren't born for the sake of malice and evil, they're generally born out of good intentions and the desire to protect (they just invariably end up being abused for malice and evil for the desire of destruction). So what is Mr. Harsanyi asking for here, exactly? CNN is a big jerk. Obviously. So what? Should we regulate the speech of "Big Media" to protect the "Common Man"? How about roping in unrelated third parties like Google and pushing for those "right to be forgotten" laws that are gaining popularity around the world?

    Yes, we get it. X is terrible. So what? If anyone at Reason tries advocating doing something about it then its transformation to the dark side will be complete.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    X is terrible

    Hey!

  • Curt||

    I can't decide if you're disagreeing or applauding the shout-out.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'm just wondering how n00bdragon was able to get in touch with my wife, parents, and coworkers.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    He saw them on CNN.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Actually, the standard libertarian take is that we generally don't need regulation (however well intended) because consumers are perfectly capable of punishing bad actors.

    One way to understand that is that the kind of criticism Harsanyi is leveling at CNN is the perfectly appropriate libertarian response.

    Because there shouldn't be regulation doesn't mean there shouldn't be criticism--although that seems to be what people assume these days. Because I think CNN sucks doesn't mean I think the government should do anything about it.

    Companies don't like having their reputation tarnished--especially if we're talking about the quality of the product they're selling. In fact, CNN selling its reputation short has an impact on their bottom line. Advertisers pay CNN to run ads based on the number of people watching their network, the demographics who watch, etc.

    There's noting unlibertarian about criticizing CNN for their misbehavior. Back when this site was libertarian, that was one of the great things about it--you could come here and talk to other libertarians about things like how crappy CNN is without anyone automatically assuming you meant that you wanted the government to do something about it.

  • Curt||

    This!

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Yes, we get it. X is terrible. So what? If anyone at Reason tries advocating doing something about it then its transformation to the dark side will be complete.

    So long as the "doing something" isn't coercive, there is no libertarian problem with it. Criticism is fine, boycotts are fine, refusal of association is fine.

    Or are you implying that people who disagree with speech don't have their own first amendment rights?

  • Devastator||

    This article is fine. It's calling out CNN for being an asshole, it didn't say they shouldn't be able to do it. However I don't see as many hate articles against Breitbart here, and they obviously stretch the news and belief far more than CNN ever has.

  • Curt||

    The very first words of the article... "If you're going to create nasty memes to get attention, demand people give you credit for those memes and celebrate when the president of the United States shares one with his roughly 33 million followers". WTF?!?!

    This implies that the wrestling meme was a "nasty meme". There is absolutely nothing nasty about it. I agree he made others that were inappropriate, but there was nothing nasty about the wrestling. And it's reflected in Bok's Friday Funny this week. The wrestling meme is completely f'ing benign. If anything, I think it's actually (probably unintentionally) fairly smart and appropriate.

  • Curt||

    If CNN had enough resources, they could go through everything he has ever said or tweeted and focus on the material that was borrowed from others. Then, they could dive into the detail of the original creators and find tons more examples. I'm sure that Trump has quoted some slave-owning founding father at some point. I'm sure he's done a campaign event that featured music from some musician that did something taboo. I'm sure he has websites that includes pictures or paintings from some artist that has a skeleton in his closet. But, it's just comparatively easy to root out wrongthought among people who create internet content.

    And all of this is f'ing irrelevant. Trump re-posted a meme that was (at least marginally) funny and appropriate to the situation. Expecting that he (his staff) will go through and vet the content/thought history of anyone whose words/art/thoughts he borrows is ridiculous.

  • ||

    Quelling speech by other means.

    Just nag and act hostile and eventually people will kneel is their thinking.

    Well, I'm here to say CNN and it's merry band of buffoons playing the parts of pseudo-intellectuals and journalists can....hm....I'm stumped. They can go eat shit. Always go with a classic when it comes to insults.

  • Ken Shultz||

    You seem to have skipped over the word "if".

    "If you're going to create nasty memes . . .

    People often miss the word "if" around here. It's an easy thing to do. I miss it myself sometimes.

    That's why I usually capitalize it, when I use the word, and I use it three times.

    For example, "Even IF IF IF gun control meant less violent crime, . . . "

    If I didn't add the "IF IF IF", without exception someone would respond, "But it doesn't lead to less violent crime, so you're wrong!"

    Actually, I'm not. I wrote "if". IF IF IF is a qualifier with a meaning, and it doesn't mean "[Because] you created a nasty meme". It means IF IF IF.

  • Curt||

    Yes and no. In the context, I read it as a statement directed towards Hanassholesolo. Basically saying: if you're going to do what you did, then take credit. In that way, I didn't read it as a hypothetical "if".

    But, it could also be read as a more general, hypothetical statement to the world. In that context, I agree.

    It's like the difference between "if I had a million dollars, I would buy you a house" and "if you post something with slightly ambiguous grammar, it may lead to confusion."

  • Cyto||

    Yeah, that doesn't really apply to this structure though.

    He is clearly stating that "people who create nasty internet memes do not evoke his sympathy" if something bad happens to them. And this guy is one of those people.

    Otherwise, it makes no sense. IF you created a meme... I wouldn't have sympathy for you. But maybe you didn't?

    Nah.

    And he's not saying "even if the guy did happen to create a nasty internet meme"...

    He's clearly saying "this guy did something I don't approve of, so I don't have any sympathy for him. But, CNN is still full of crap. And reporters acting as though this tweet is the march of the brownshirts is stupid."

    Which is a perfectly valid take. It is just my personal opinion that you shouldn't lead with a signal that says "I too find this repugnant", when there is nothing even a little bit offensive about the wrestling CNN face joke. It is precisely as offensive as sticking out your tongue. Maybe a little less offensive than that.

    That being said, you are 100% right about the net effect of ignoring the IF. People do it all the time so they can beat the crap out of that straw man in their head.

  • Curt||

    Yeah, I think your version of "he's clearly saying..." sounds about right. But, the more I read it, the more I think it's possible that he was saying "people who create nasty internet memes do not evoke his sympathy", but still didn't intend to include the wrestling one in that category. He may have just unintentionally combined "this guy makes nasty memes" and "Trump shared one of his memes" in a way that implied the shared meme was nasty.

    It just screwed up the entire mindset of reading the article for me when the first seven words made me want to yell BullShit!

    Otherwise, yes... Amen re: effect of people ignoring IF.

  • Fairbanks||

    The nasty reference was about the guy's other memes.

  • Curt||

    I hesitated and considered that after my initial reaction to the statement. But, then I noticed, "the president of the United States shares one with his roughly 33 million followers". This implies that the meme shared by Trump (the wrestling meme) is one of the nasty memes.

    But, it may also be possible the Harsanyi just mangled the wording in an attempt to say "the president shared one of his memes" and that "he created nasty memes", but not necessarily that the shared meme was nasty.

  • ||

    This quote seems appropriate:

    "I am entirely persuaded that the American public is more reasonable, restrained and mature than most of the broadcast industry's planners believe. Their fear of controversy is not warranted by the evidence."

    Edward R. Murrrow.

  • ||

    You think it's bad now. Wait until millennials take over at CNN!

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    CNN is going to be much less influential by that point, even if it exists at all. They're pretty much into MSNBC territory already, and that market is not big enough for two channels.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Just going to post this as a general comment, because I'm beginning to have trouble keeping up with all the missed-point posts.

    The point isn't whether some asswipe deserves anonymity and privacy on the internet, the point is the tactics that CNN, supposedly a major journalistic enterprise that-- one would think lives by some manner of ethical standards, decided to trace down the creator of a LOLVideo and openly threaten him-- and keep that threat active forever and ever, amen. That behavior by CNN is just pretty damned gross.

  • Dillinger||

    yes.

  • GILMORE™||

    exactly.

    the gibberish side-conversation about "is anonymity really a right?" above is a complete distraction from the core point that what CNN is doing...which is an absurd violation of even the most limited notion of "professional ethics" applied to journalism.

  • lap83||

    My theory is the redditor isn't stereotypical. They're a handicapped black little old lady. Not good for the narrative, so CNN gives that empty threat and lets people assume they are an unsympathetic white male. If they really were, wouldn't CNN want to remove all doubt?

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    I dunno bout that. If it was a middle-aged white male, and they did give the name out and then the person was violently attacked, which is almost certain to happen, they would have just handed the conservatives and Trumpists a bloody shirt to wave. They're better off not doxxing the person, while just threatening to do so, regardless of who it is.

  • Cyto||

    Well, one might suppose.

    But I will point you to immediate history: When the Bernie supporter tried to assassinate the Republican congressmen, the official media position was that there was no way to prove that there was any violent rhetoric on the left that ever in a million years could have incited someone to take such actions.... and there is no proof at all that there was any political motivation here at all... But Republicans should really tone down their dangerous rhetoric. I mean, look at all of the fascist stuff Trump is saying! Oh.... and Democrats could maybe tone it down a bit too.

    They really do like having their cake and eating it too.

  • Devastator||

    I think it was an empty threat. With the Antifa extremists that are starting to pop up everywhere here just like the far right militias started in the 90s here in America they know better than to name drop someone who will then get attacked by the antifa factions, and in turn sue them for millions of dollars.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    There was a time when anonymity allowed Americans with unpopular or unconventional beliefs to make their arguments without fear of retribution. Today, the internet has created an environment that incentivizes people to create detestable messages meant to troll and harass.

    And who determines the difference between "making arguments for unpopular and unconventional beliefs" and "detestable messages meant to troll and harrass"? In this case in particular it looks like there's a lot of overlap. From here it just looks like CNN can't take a joke.

  • Rebel Scum||

    You're not a martyr for the cause of free expression.

    You are if a major news corporation threatens to ruin your life when you were deliberately post anonymously as opposed to putting your name to a statement. It is on the level of making a personal decision to not give a speech because intolerant people will act out irrationally. It is a chilling effect on expression.

    CNN claims it kept the poster's anonymity to protect his safety.

    And to wield leverage. They're acting like the mafia.

    No, this isn't a First Amendment issue.

    Correct. But it still serves to chill speech.

  • Thomas||

    Agreed. With regards to HanAssholeSolo's "anti-semitic and bigoted posts," hate speech is still free speech, and just because we may not agree with the message doesn't mean that an attempt to silence the speaker should be taken any less seriously.
    Frankly, the whole situation is just sad. I don't like Trump, and I think it was unprofessional for him to tweet it, but I thought the GIF was funny (perhaps even satirical, in a different context). Then the media makes it out to be a way bigger deal than it was (some even claiming that it promotes violence toward journalists), and CNN writes an article channeling a petty child.

  • Ron||

    "it's an abuse of its power"

    thats the scary part that we've given journalist power and they know it and are now useing it against anyone they dislike. its not the first time in history but they can now do it at a much fast pace than Hearst ever dreamed of

  • Barry Gold||

    While I agree with Harsanyi about thought crime, there's also an issue of misuse of CNN's trademarked logo. I think they would have a right to tell him to cease and desist.

  • Cyto||

    This is way, way over in the "fair use" protected area. Not even close.

  • Mark22||

    Today, the internet has created an environment that incentivizes people to create detestable messages meant to troll and harass.

    Seriously? A harmless animated GIF of Trump at a wrestling match is a "detestable message meant to troll and harasss"?

    I'm not even going to bother reading the rest of your bullshit.

  • Empress Trudy||

    The idea that the press exists because sources, all sources can and should remain protected is THE idea that a free press rests on. CNN can of course bully, threaten, coerce whoever they like for whatever reason they like. But sources and potential sources are now on alert. CNN reserves the 'right', the power and the unilateral authority to toss them under the bus at any time. The warning is clear. Play by CNN's rules. Period. Share information that CNN wants and you'll be fine but deviate from that, if you refuse to bend to their requests you do so at your own peril. CNN has now created a climate that their own sources will pre emptively spin their information to align with CNN's world view.

  • Strumpet101||

    Surely the thing we should be focusing on here is that a NEWS ORGANISATION has decided to put someone 'on notice' for their views.

    Will they be checking my Twitter and my blog to see if I should take down my views also?

  • geo||

    I'm afraid that this article is yet another example of the sad state of journalism.

    " Even if we concede that there's a good reason to track down a meme maker on Reddit, why doesn't the network run the name? Without the name, in fact, there is no real story."

    What possible good reason could there be to track down the source? In fact, CNN got the wrong source. Hans was not the one who created it. Probably the reason CNN did not run the name is because their own lawyers prevailed over the hysteria and wanted to prevent them from a multimillion dollar lawsuit. If they had released the name there is no doubt they would have been sued. Try to concentrate on the fact that there is no real story except that CNN has lost all credibility as a journalistic enterprise.

  • Meerkatx||

    The reason they didn't use anyone's name is because CNN didn't feel there was a need to.
    It was in fact likely lawyers who caused the issue by having legalize inserted into the statement.

  • Meerkatx||

    There was no threat to dox him. All that this tells me is that you like so many did literally zero research into what actually happened.

  • Devastator||

    It tells us what they have always done, report the news. I certainly don't agree with what CNN did, but I don't feel sorry for the guy either. He made lots of racist, anti-Semitic comments in his comment history. If you want anonymity do your research and learn. It's exceedingly easy on reddit. The 1st amendment never guaranteed being anonymous, that's up to you. Still CNN should be just as ashamed for threatening someone with their corporate resources, rather than spending them keeping the circus that is the Trump regime under the public eye, that's their role, not trying to destroy a reddit troll.

  • Bra Ket||

    "The story was meant to tie a Trump tweet mocking CNN to a hateful meme maker and blow up."

    You forgot to put quotes around "hateful". Or have we entered the age of the SJW consensus?

  • Blue Star||

    It tells me that David Harsanyi is a cock holster for Drumpf.

  • Red Rocks Baiting n Inciting||

    How long did it take for you to extract yourself from the fetal position when Hillary lost? Did you cry into your Cankles waifu?

  • Blue Star||

    Then again, this story isn't really about online harassment or the Reddit user "HanA**holeSolo," who has taken credit for the creation a GIF of President Drumpf body-slamming a wrestler—which I feel the need to reiterate is fake violence—with a CNN logo imposed on his face

    Whereas what Kathy Griffin did, was real violence. Suck it hard, David.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Gosh! Just think, without the looter media occasionally using Reason to fart in our general direction, we might never have gotten wind of this peeing match between some loudmouthed fool, and another and another. Is this a great country or what?

  • swampwiz||

    I don't see a problem with CNN's actions. If someone is stupid enough to leave his calling card, he deserves whatever happens.

  • Eman||

    That trump/cnn video is fake fake violence. Anyhow...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online