WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now calling out CNN for breaking the law, after the mainstream media network bragged about coercing a Reddit user into silence by threatening to use the public revelation of his identity against him.
It all started on Sunday when Trump Tweeted a short WWE video of him body-slamming a man to the ground. However, in this version, the man’s face was covered by a “CNN” logo, and the Tweet was accompanied by the caption “#FraudNewsCNN.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
Instead of focusing on the fact that Trump’s video was arguably posted as a distraction to take attention away from the United States bombing Somalia, or escalating tensions with China, CNN went on a witch hunt to find the source of the WWE video.
In an urgent report titled, “How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF,” the MSM outlet went into detail about how its employees scoured the internet, and then successfully “identified the man behind the account and attempted to make contact with him.”
“Reddit user “HanA**holeSolo” first shared the GIF last Wednesday of Trump pummeling a wrestler with CNN’s logo imposed on his face. CNN could find no earlier instance of the GIF. The GIF was later edited into a video with sound and tweeted by the President on Sunday. On Reddit, “HanA**holeSolo” took credit for inspiring the tweet. Soon after, “HanA**holeSolo’s” other posts on Reddit, some of which included racist and anti-Semitic imagery, quickly circulated on social media.”
CNN then bragged about its ability to find the Reddit user, and to convince him to submit, noting that he expressed remorse, both on Reddit and “in an interview with CNN for other posts he made that were racist and anti-Semitic.”
In order to track down the man referred to as “HanAssholeSolo,” CNN claimed it followed “identifying information” that the user posted on Reddit, in order to “determine key biographical details, to find the man’s name using a Facebook search and ultimately corroborate details he had made available on Reddit.”
However, CNN then went too far by claiming that while it does not plan to release the true identity of “HanA**holeSolo” right now, it “reserves the right to publish his identity” if he does not continue to show the level of remorse that the outlet has deemed acceptable, in order to keep his name private.
“In the interview, “HanA**holeSolo” sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family. 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.”
Assange then chimed in on Twitter, and pointed out that CNN’s actions are in direct violation of § 135.60 of the New York criminal code, which dictates the standards for “coercion in the second degree.”
The law states that a person is guilty of coercion in the second degree if he or she threatens to “cause physical injury to a person,” “expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule,” or “perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm another person materially with respect to his or her health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.”
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) July 5, 2017
Assange then went on to note that CNN’s actions are bigger than just the jurisdiction in the state of New York, and are also arguably a violation of federal law, which could be considered a felony conspiracy against civil rights under 18 U.S. Code § 241.
The law states that “if two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same … they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned.”
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) July 5, 2017
It is no secret that Trump appears to have a direct disdain for CNN, above all other mainstream media outlets—despite the fact that all funding is the same—but the most obvious red flag from the encounter comes from CNN’s response.
If the network truly wanted to expose the Trump Administration, and to “get back” at Trump for all of the times he has referred to CNN as “fake news,” it would do so by giving the public honest coverage of the administration’s unconstitutional acts and inflammatory foreign policy decisions. However, because the network chooses to focus on going after the Reddit user who inspired Trump’s latest scandalous Tweet, it serves as a reminder that in order to expose the Trump administration, CNN would also have to expose the mainstream media’s role in distracting the American public, and enabling the current political climate.