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.