CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers declared Thursday that private citizens do not have a “right” to remain anonymous so they can spew “racist, misogynist, homophobic garbage.”
Ms. Powers fired off a series of tweets Thursday defending her network’s decision to threaten to expose the anonymous Reddit user behind the now-famous President Trump-CNN wrestling meme.
“People do not have a ‘right’ to stay anonymous so they can spew their racist, misogynist, homophobic garbage,” she wrote, adding, “I would have released his name and picture,” The Hill first reported.
The same person who allegedly created the meme, tweeted by the president himself, is also reportedly behind multiple racial and anti-Semitic comments online. CNN was widely criticized after tracking down the meme creator, who subsequently apologized, and then threatening to expose his identity if he continued to post offensive content in the future.
“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,” the network said. “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
Ms. Powers said CNN showed “restraint” in this instance.
“[H]ow did someone who posts anti-semitic, racist & anti-gay content become a victim for ppl to rally around?” she asked. “Look how fast he apologized when he thought he’d be public. Why protect these ppl?”
“Racism and misogyny is not an ‘opinion,'” she hit back at critics. “Calling ppl the N word is not an ‘opinion.'”
“Don’t lecture me on free speech. I wrote a book abt it. CNN cannot infringe on 1st amendment …only govt can,” wrote Ms. Powers, author of “The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech.”
“This person was targeting CNN reporters, in particular Jewish reporters. CNN does have an interest in the safety of their reporters,” she said. “I defend ppl’s right to use offensive speech. I don’t defend the imaginary right to never be held accountable for what you say.”
Meanwhile, media ethicists, politicians and pundits have criticized CNN’s peculiar wording in what many people have interpreted as a threat. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said the Atlanta-based company may have broken a Georgia law prohibiting extortion.
In a statement Wednesday, CNN said any “assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false.”
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