The hashtag #CNNBlackmail is some high-level internet, some third-degree online hoodoo. In order to understand it, you have to know, first, that an anonymous Reddit user named HanAssholeSolo made a video by superimposing the CNN logo on old Wrestlemania footage of Donald Trump tackling Vince McMahon. That’s called satire. Repurposing pop culture with comically amateur video editing is internet degree one. The second degree happened when the president retweeted the video to his 33.3 million Twitter followers, prompting the commentariat to disgorge a clutch of takes. It also prompted CNN to go looking for the real person behind the Reddit presence named, I reiterate, HanAssholeSolo.
They found him. They elected to preserve his anonymity, though, after he issued a written apology and promised not to make any more trouble. Judging by this passage in their own report, CNN reserved the right to out him if he messes with them again:
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.
Emphasis added, naturally. The third degree of internet set in when Trump supporters interpreted that last sentence as a threat and coined the hashtag #CNNBlackmail. Let no one call me a Trump supporter, but I kind of have to agree with them. What CNN did strongly resembles blackmail. Consideration after the jump.