A Declaration of War: The Internet vs. CNN

I have been developing this new blog concept for a while now, and I can’t think of a better topic for an inaugural post. “Abandon the Echo Chamber” is a call to bypass the state and special interests run propaganda machines also known as the Mainstream Media. I have my biases. Everybody does. But I assure you that nobody owns me. All of the views and opinions expressed here are my own. My only loyalty is to the truth. – An American Citizen

Regardless of what you may think of Donald Trump or his politics, he has already accomplished something that I consider to be nothing short of heroic: He has unmasked the media like nobody else ever has in the history of the Republic. Donald Trump has led a blue collar army of “deplorables” into battle against the big time special interests that have been directing this political theatre for far too long… and he may very well destroy them in the end. These spin rooms have been masquerading for years as a watchdog for the American public, and it is about time the masses become aware of their deceptions. This is absolutely a David vs. Goliath kind of story. The common man rebelling against the big dollars of the media elites. If this all goes as I expect it might, this may be a turning point in American Politics.

TRUMP vs. CNN

CNN has been getting a lot of heat recently for their questionable reporting thinly backed by questionable sources. This gave President Trump an opportunity to score political points against his adversarial press, which he continues to jab through his preferred medium of communication: Twitter. The tweeting has led to a back and forth between the network and the President that has led CNN spiraling down a rabbit hole they will likely regret traversing.

If that weren’t enough to damage the reputation of CNN, it became infinitely worse when a series of damning videos hit the internet from Project Veritas’s undercover reporting of conversations with CNN producers and talking heads. The videos expose CNN to be at best a desperate, “do anything for ratings” organization. Basically, CNN was taking massive leaps in their reporting of the whole Trump and Russia collusion narrative in order to stoke the flames of #TheResistance in an effort to boost their TV ratings. They even had to retract stories because their sources were garbage, and the stories could not hold up to respectable journalistic standards. It is the kind of media that the upset liberal faction of society wanted to consume, but it was incredibly irresponsible for a “news” organization to distribute such fabrications through the echo chamber.

Once heads started to roll at CNN for their actions, a reddit user (which I have read to be 15 years old… but I have also have read to be a “middle aged man.” Nobody knows because the identity has not been made public) allegedly created a short video known as a GIF, and he released it on the internet. The video was an old clip of Donald Trump’s appearance at a WWE (professional wrestling) event. The anonymous reddit user simply replaced the face of the individual who appeared to get beaten up by Trump at this staged WWE event with a CNN graphic. It was obviously a joke. The message was that in this battle between CNN, who has been pushing a “nothing burger” Russian collusion story, and Donald Trump, Donald Trump was winning. It was amusing. To claim that this video was “inciting violence” is a joke. The video was clearly nothing more than an innocent jab at CNN, which unfortunately for them, got tweeted by Donald Trump. That’s when this whole thing caught fire, and CNN’s response to the now viral meme likely sealed their fate.

CNN dug through the internet to find out who was responsible for creating the meme, and then threatened to “dox” him. Doxxing is internet slang meaning to reveal the identity of an individual who had previously been anonymous online. Doxxing could have serious real world consequences. It could get you fired from your job (if he is in fact a middle aged man), it could bring humiliation to an individual and that individual’s family, and it could even lead to retaliation or harassment by other people out there who have a problem with what the individual may have posted in the past.

The internet responded to what they interpreted as an attack on free speech, or blackmail against this reddit user: They declared war. An online community known as /pol/ (Politically Incorrect) on a medium known as “4chan” has openly declared war against CNN. From light research I have discovered that the code name for this online conflict has been established as “Operation Autism Storm.” I assume the name is a reflection of the dark sense of humor of the individuals who participate in this community… Many would be offended by the content that appears on their website… but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily wrong when it comes to this particular conflict.   Well, because CNN threatened to dox a meme maker, this online army will likely turn the tables on CNN.

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A new meme depicting CNN as a tyrannical force.

The first step in this “meme war” is a flooding of the internet with anti-CNN memes. You have probably seen many of them already. A simple search of the hashtag “#CNNBlackmail” on twitter will show you the extent of the rage that exists out there. This will significantly damage CNN’s image in the public eye. As of the time of the writing of this article, they had ruined CNN’s mobile app rating to 1 star in the itunes appstore. They will also likely target the advertisers of CNN in an attempt to cost the organization millions of dollars in ad revenues. They may go so far as to contact any content providers that host CNN. While they are doing all of that, they could possibly begin doxxing CNN employees, and reveal anything that could destroy their reputations online as well… just as CNN threatened to do to the reddit user. They ultimately feel justified in their actions because they believe that CNN has intentionally used their power and platform to threaten free speech on the internet. When these internet people are pissed off, they have demonstrated in the past an ability to ruin the reputation of their targets, and cost them millions of dollars in ad revenue.

Analysis: Why would CNN do what they did?

The reddit user has been accused of being a racist for previous posts he has made online. I don’t follow reddit, I don’t fully understand the meme universe, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. I’m not here to defend any content previously created by this reddit user, or any other users for that matter. This individual may be a terrible human being, for argument’s sake, let’s assume he/she is. It still doesn’t explain why CNN would go out of their way to do what they did. By doing this, they brought more attention to a stupid meme that most of America had not seen.

Why is CNN willing to destroy an anonymous internet troll’s life over a fairly innocent joke video? The reddit user would not be ruined by this CNN clip, the doxing threat would be intimidating because of whatever else he has put out there for the internet to see. The only thing I can think of that would justify an over the top reaction by CNN is to make a conscious effort to depict Trump’s supporters who make these kinds of joke memes as racists. That would allow them to continue their narrative that Trump is un-Presidential, that he re-tweets fringe racist internet content, and that his supporters are racists. That narrative would give #TheResistance a new focal story to keep their anti-Trump rage burning. After all, the sudden collapse of the “nothing burger” Russian collusion narrative they had been pushing meant they had to find a new story. If they couldn’t do that, then they risked a major ratings drop at the network.

What does it tell us about CNN when that they are willing to do oppo research on little internet trolls like this? I’ve read that the individual blackmailed by CNN may not even be the original creator of the video, and CNN may have known this. This individual may just so happened to have been a person who re-posted a meme that Trump eventually tweeted, and was threatened by CNN to take the fall so they could sculpt a new narrative. Whether or not the individual created the CNN meme is irrelevant because the reddit user may have posted other reputation destroying content online, which would make the threat of doxxing terrifying. CNN wanted to paint their network’s opponents as fringe racists because this one reddit user posted racist memes online. If true, this means CNN simply used this individual as a means to try and escape the downward public trust spiral that they are currently in. It appears to be a hail marry attempt to turn the attention away from their journalistic disgraces, and refocus it back onto the “deplorable” narrative. How desperate must they be?

I believe their actions reveal they are in trouble. Cable News had been in steady decline for quite some time up until their savior, Donald Trump, came riding in on a white horse. He has been as good as gold for the cable news cycles. Ratings have been considerably higher since he began his presidential campaign. Reality TV at it’s finest. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that you have been drawn into this nightly dumpster fire. You all have been played like a fiddle. But those ratings were never sustainable. Eventually, the “nothing burger” would be discovered by even the most hopelessly entrenched members of #TheResistance. You can only march so many weekends before you forget what you are even mad about. The anti-Trump narrative has been seeing diminishing returns, and that is a problem when there is a big merger deal potentially in the works. AT&T is currently in the midst of a 85.4 Billion dollar acquisition of Time Warner (owners of CNN). Do you think all of this may be of interest to AT&T? What if the internet army turns their meme guns on AT&T? It is something they must be talking about at the highest levels.

The internet is the future for media distribution (hell it may even be the present). If the major networks do not adapt to this reality, they are likely going to go to the graveyard along with the print media. It is a terrible idea to start a war with the internet given this fundamental truth. The competition for ratings is cut-throat. An organization like CNN cannot survive a PR disaster like that which is currently unfolding before your eyes. There is blood in the water, and CNN’s competitors are going to pounce. Donald Trump and his “deplorable” allies have successfully unmasked CNN. With the development of social media, a large portion of the world now receives their news away from the print and cable news outlets. There is a balance of power shift taking place in American politics. This is the headline that has yet to hit the airwaves. It means that illegitimate journalism can be outed at any time with ease. CNN is going to learn this lesson the hard way. We should officially put the network on ratings suicide watch. This may be the end.

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Final Thoughts

There is one last thing that may come out of this CNN fiasco that should be of concern to the internet army. If the internet threatens the hegemony of the special interests groups in agenda setting in Washington, there may be a counter revolution against free speech online. Some may say that this war has already begun with the whole net neutrality showdown and the rise of the surveillance state. I wouldn’t disagree. But if you think the #CNNBlackmail against this reddit user is a big deal, just imagine what happens after Donald Trump leaves office… Do you think there may be a state interest in suppressing free speech online? I don’t care what you think of this whole story, understand that this freedom of speech war is coming. It will start on social media. Facebook is already beginning censorship, and Google will follow. Access to information online is essential to maintaining a free society at this point in time. Who decides what is and is not news? Freedom of speech must be defended at all costs.

 

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