CNN says safety concerns led to its decision not to reveal the identity of the man behind a doctored anti-CNN video. Yet the way the decision was explained and deep distrust of the network among President Donald Trump's supporters provoked a backlash Wednesday.
The network said late Tuesday it had identified the Reddit user who originally posted an old WWE video of Trump "roughing up" pro wrestling maven Vince McMahon, superimposing the CNN logo over McMahon's face. Trump tweeted a link to the video, with some modifications, and it has become the president's most-shared social media post yet, according to Twitter.
Reporter Andrew Kaczynski said in an online story that CNN had found the Reddit user, who used the tag "HanA------Solo," and reached out to him Monday. Before returning Kaczynski's message the next day, the user posted a public apology for the Trump video — he called it a prank — and for some racist and anti-Semitic postings also made under that name. He said he was just trying to get a reaction and didn't mean what he said, and was closing his Reddit account.
CNN said online that it had decided not to publish the user's name because he is a private citizen who apologized, showed remorse and said he would not repeat his ugly behavior. "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," Kaczynski wrote.
That last sentence made CNN a target.