CNN Tailspin: Network Bungles Response to Blackmail Firestorm

Cable outlet stumbles from crisis to crisis, slammed by journalism ethics experts for doxing threat

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A second sleight of hand by CNN is the claim that the Reddit user made the apology for the video before Kaczynski spoke to him. That’s true. But CNN reached out to the man on Monday, before the user scrubbed Reddit of his previous posts. In other words, the Reddit user knew CNN was on to him. The Reddit user, who has posted racist material, obviously panicked at the possibility that he was about to be ruined.

To be fair to Kaczynski, the line about “reserving the right” was an odd insertion by CNN editors and executives and did not appear in the story he originally filed, according to a late Wednesday report in Buzzfeed. As of Wednesday evening, CNN officials were still standing by their odd language.

But a fresh controversy over the story emerged, as Buzzfeed (ironically, Kaczynski’s former employer) raised questions about the claim that Trump used the exact video created by the Reddit user.

In Kaczynski’s story, he appears to admit CNN isn’t 100 percent sure the video came from Reddit first.

“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,” the story read.

Buzzfeed ultimately isn’t sure the GIF came from the Reddit area where the user posted: “Throughout all of this, we haven’t actually learned anything about where Trump and members of his inner circle are getting their memes.”[lz_pagination]

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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