The Death of Journalism

“At worst, they blackmailed someone who used their First Amendment rights—into silence and submission.”

I hate going on Facebook anymore. There’s not one day that goes by that I am not bombarded with the most redundant and non-journalistic reporting from both the left and right media companies. Fox News and CNN at this point are just trying to outperform each other in rating and controversies. But what’s worse is that all the things we should know about are locked away in some editor’s desk for being “unclickable.”

Just more click-this-latest-thing-you-won’t-believe reporting made popular by sites like Buzzfeed and Breitbart. Both equally as biased to their particular world view; their version is the “correct view,” and if anyone tells you something different, then they’re a sheep or a snowflake.

There is no ethical, unbiased reporting anymore.

Recently, a GIF of President Trump satirically attacking CNN was posted on the official @POTUS Twitter account, sending the left-leaning media sites ablaze. They are claiming that Pres. Trump is condoning attacks against reporters and further pushing the anti-media rhetoric to unprecedented levels.

This prompted CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and his team to track down this unknown creator of the meme.

So, instead of using said team to track down real stories that affect real people, like the fact that North Korea just tested an ICBM that they claim is “capable of hitting any part of the world, along with nuclear weapons,” or the fact that Flint, MI still has undrinkable water, instead they use their investigative reporting team to track down HanA**holeSolo for making a meme.

Why? Was it really that important for them to track down this man? And then what? Make him apologize? Make him feel bad for what he did?

That’s what happened. He apologized and has since deleted his account from Reddit.

CNN even went as far as saying that it “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,” the article stated. “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

It is that last line that has CNN on the defensive. That they reserve the right to publish his name “should any of that change.” That now has the anti-right and Redditors in a “Meme War” against the company, going as far as posting a list of advertisers and the names and phone numbers of the investigative team.

According to Kaczynski, CNN is withholding the identity of HanA**holeSolo for his own protection, and CNN made no deals for his apology; he apologized before they contacted him.

CNN specifically choose not to reveal this guy’s identity and to say we threatened anyone is a total lie.https://t.co/f02hLaVRqu

— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) July 5, 2017

But, if you look at the CNN story, it clearly states that “the apology came after CNN’s KFile identified the man behind ‘HanA**holeSolo.’ Using identifying information that ‘HanA**holeSolo’ posted on Reddit, KFile was able 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.”

So, what are we the readers supposed to take away from this? Did or did they not blackmail this man into an apology?

At the very least, they are guilty of what they have already been accused by many of those on the right—being willfully loose with the ethics of journalism and creating clickable news stories that lack any truth or some shades of truth and present them as facts.

At worst, they blackmailed someone who used their First Amendment rights—even if what they produced or said is offensive, both in the past and with the anti-CNN meme he created—into silence and submission.

If that’s the case, then we have a bigger problem than a satirical meme taken out of hand. We have a failing Fourth Estate that no longer has the ethical fortitude to report truthfully and objectively, meaning this is now the last gasps of journalism.

Coy Mack

Coy Mack is an OpsLens contributor, writer, and filmmaker. Coy is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, serving in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion 7th Marines in 2008.

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