Wednesday, July 05, 2017


I have some qualms about this:
The Reddit user who initially claimed credit for President Donald Trump's tweet that showed Trump tackling CNN issued an apology Tuesday for the video and other offensive content he posted -- one day after CNN identified the man behind the account and attempted to make contact with him....

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.

On Monday, KFile attempted to contact the man by email and phone but he did not respond. On Tuesday, "HanA**holeSolo" posted his apology on the subreddit /The_Donald and deleted all of his other posts.
I think it's your right as an American to be an anonymous sleazebag bigot online. Overt threats, even threats that you don't intend to carry out, are another matter. The HanAssholeSolo Reddit posts I examined over the weekend weren't threats. The wrestling video was mild, and wasn't much of a weapon until the White House weaponized it.

On the other hand, it's hard to feel sorry for a guy who believes that the best part of his day is when he's posting some Photoshop that portrays blacks, Muslims, and Jews as subhuman -- especially when he later insists that he was just having a bit of innocent fun.
"First of all, I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site and this sub embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened," he wrote. "I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life. I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life, I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from the subs on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts...."
No, dude, it's the not "the media" that's portraying you as a bigot. You're portraying yourself as a bigot. If you're not a bigot, don't say bigoted shit.

And this is "a controversy that should never have happened" to Reddit and /The_Donald? No, this is a controversy that absolutely should have happened. We can argue the morality of threatening to expose HanAssholeSolo's real identity -- I'm on the fence -- but the racist nature of influential Trump fan communities should be exposed. Too much of the public thinks Trump fandom is about nothing more than tragic Springsteenian despair after the factory closed.

I'd like to see CNN use these great powers of detection to take down anonymous online posters who unquestionably threaten and terrorize others. In The New York Times over the weekend, Lindy West was writing about people like Anita Sarkeesian:
At the online video conference VidCon a couple of weeks ago, the feminist cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian took the stage for a panel on women’s experiences online, only to find the first two rows of seats stacked with her online harassers, leering up at her, filming her on their phones.

Ms. Sarkeesian has been relentlessly stalked, abused and threatened since 2012, when she started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of YouTube videos critiquing the representation of women in video games.

In retaliation, men have threatened to rape and murder her, dug up and disseminated her personal contact information, called in mass shooting threats to her public events and turned their obsession with shutting her up into a competitive sport. All of this, they insist, is in defense of freedom of speech, to which Ms. Sarkeesian, with her precise, rigorously argued opinions about the relative loincloth sizes of male and female video game avatars, somehow poses a threat.

It is not an enviable position to be in.

“There are women who have said to me, or to people in my circles, that they don’t want to be me,” Ms. Sarkeesian told me. “They don’t want what happened to me to happen to them, and so they keep their head down and they stay quiet.” Absence is invisible. We don’t even know who has been lost — how many were scared away before they even started. What about their speech?
News organizations should be trying to dox online terrorists of this kind. It would be news. It would be a public service. And I wouldn't shed a tear for any such thug who was exposed.

Meanwhile, right-wingers are going all self-righteous in response to what they describe as #CNNBlackmail. Remember that these are the same people who cheer the work of James O'Keefe, even when his edited videos grossly misrepresent the people he films. I see horrified reactions to what CNN has done from the likes of Twitchy, a site founded by Michelle Malkin, who gleefully participated in the smearing of the family of Graeme Frost, a severely injured young man who spoke up on behalf of the S-CHIP child health care program.

Spare me the fauxtrage, folks. You'd have treated HanAssholeSolo far worse than CNN has if he'd been on our side.

No comments: