Friday, July 7, 2017

Did CNN do the right thing in tracking Reddit user who put up Trump beating up CNN logo GIF? Am reminded of Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu vicious Facebook attacks on me

[Note: This post is copy-pasted from http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2017/07/did-cnn-do-right-thing-in-tracking.html on 7th July 2017.]

The CNN article, How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF, http://edition.cnn.com/2017/07/04/politics/kfile-reddit-user-trump-tweet/index.html, July 5th 2017, describes how CNN tracked the Reddit user who put up the Trump beating up CNN logo GIF, which was retweeted by USA president Trump.

After he was tracked down by CNN and attempts were made to contact him to which he did not respond, the person going by Reddit ID "HanA**holeSolo." put up an apology post on subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all his other posts some of which seem to have been racist and bigoted. CNN reports that this apology post was later deleted by the moderators of the subreddit /The_Donald.

Here's the text of his apology that is put up on the CNN article:

"First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened".."I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did."
...
"The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation" .. "I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President's Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President's feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter. I thought it was the original post that was made and that is why I took credit for it. I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news."

--- end apology text from CNN article of Reddit user "HanA**holeSolo." ---

The CNN article states that after the apology was made, Reddit user "HanA**holeSolo." contacted CNN and confirmed his identity. He requested that his name should not be revealed out of fear for his personal safety and embarrassment it would bring to his family.

Given below is an extract from the CNN article:

CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

After Trump tweeted the video on Sunday, "HanA**holeSolo" took to Reddit to say he was "honored," writing "Holy s—!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my s—post but the MAGA EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!" MAGA is an acronym for the President's campaign slogan: Make America great again."

--- end extract from CNN article ---

Here's an article that is critical of how CNN went after this Reddit user, CNN’s Threat against a Redditor, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449288/cnn-threat-reddit-journalism-today, dated 7th July 2017. Small extracts from it are given below:

What CNN has done is induce some random troll to grovel and apologize for his wrongthink.
...
That 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 the fact that 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.

--- end short extracts from nationalreview.com article ---

Ravi: So the question is, was CNN right in tracking down the Reddit user and attempting to contact him, which scared the guy into making an apology and request CNN not to name him publicly?

Well, I am reminded of how I was viciously attacked on Facebook by fake Id coward, bully and conspirator Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu. For details please see my post: Misrepresentation and fabrication by Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu against me; Beware of Arun Srinivas, alumnus of Muddenahalli school - Part 1, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/02/my-facebook-posts-related-to.html.

The misrepresentation and fabrication by Facebook fake ID Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu impacted my life in Puttaparthi then as I was painted as supporting slander in gutter language of an important person in Puttaparthi. So Facebook fake ID Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu had hurt me significantly. It took me quite a while to recover from that vicious attack. Then I wanted to bring this Facebook fake ID coward, bully & conspirator Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu to justice. The way of doing that was by finding out who he is in real life and outing him. Then the Sathya Sai fraternity would know who this nasty fellow (coward, bully and conspirator) really was. That would have been appropriate justice, I felt.

Further, I realized that anonymous Facebook IDs were encouraging Jekyll & Hyde type of behaviour. The good Dr. Jekyll while using his real ID would get transformed into the evil Mr. Hyde while using an anonymous ID as he thought he would not be caught and made accountable for his social media posts!

With help of others, one person was tracked down - a Bhaskar Iyer of Melbourne, Australia - who was either assisting OR WAS Facebook fake ID Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu. I outed Bhaskar Iyer of Melbourne, Australia then though he tried to deny that he was assisting or was Parthi Resident/Venkatesh Babu. As he got cornered by me, in our Facebook chat interactions, he stopped interacting with me and blocked me on Facebook.

So, as of now, all I can say is that Bhaskar Iyer of Melbourne, Australia either assisted OR is Facebook fake ID coward, bully and conspirator Parthi Resident/Venaktesh Babu.

I felt justified in outing Bhaskar Iyer of Melbourne, Australia as he had assisted in these vicious attacks on me on Facebook which had negatively impacted my real life in Puttaparthi. Further, I think it also may have created a deterrence for future such vicious attacks on me on Facebook. It may not deter everybody but it may deter at least some persons.

Given my own experience of anonymous Facebook attacks which impacted my real life in Puttaparthi, I think CNN is justified in taking 'outing' actions against those that incite violence against CNN. USA President Trump's words against USA news media and CNN in particular, does seem to me to have gone beyond fair criticism into intimidation and suggestions of violence against CNN reporters/staff. I am sure that many CNN reporters would now have more fear of being attacked by Trump supporters than before President Trump retweeted this Reddit user's original GIF/video (with some modifications) of Trump appearing to beat up a person whose face is replaced by CNN logo.

CNN has to protect its reporters/staff against such threats. One way of doing that was to identify this Reddit user and threaten him with outing. Outing only forces the person putting up such incitement to violence videos, to become accountable for his/her actions. Further, I think it is well within USA law (and Indian law, in my case). Therefore I think CNN did the right thing in tracking down this Reddit user and even making a threat to out him if he begins his incitement to violence and other hate speech activity again.

[I thank CNN.com and nationalreview.com, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (short extracts from nationalreview.com) from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

2 comments:

  1. Absolutely agree with you. Trolls hide behind pseudo names and put up comments without any accountability. The internet and new technology has done wonders for humanity in bringing us closer as well as making us aware of things which would have never known before. But then there's always a downside. And Trolls are one of them.

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