Journalistic standards

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press.

I had a full editorial about Canada Day all written up but late this evening (July 4) a story broke that I find absolutely disgusting.

On July 2, Donald Trump tweeted a video of him during a past wrestling event slamming a guy to the ground with the CNN logo superimposed over his head.

It received widespread condemnation, with some interpreting it as inciting violence against the media.

Regardless of what you think of the tweet itself, I think at this point, it would be hard to consider Trump tweeting it a surprise. In any case, it’s hardly the worst thing he’s put out there.

Trump himself didn’t make the video. The very first version of it was created by someone on the social media site Reddit.

So far, all of this is business as usual as far as I’m concerned.

However, CNN took steps to find out the identity of the creator of the original clip and said that while they’re not releasing his information at this time because the creator has shown remorse and won’t repeat his behaviour, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

On the internet, releasing someone’s personal information (i.e. identity) is called doxxing and can have dire consequences.

For example, when people’s personal information has been made available publicly online, one common consequence has been “swatting;” where people make a prank call in an attempt to get officers to show up to the swatting target’s house. In some of the worst cases, this has resulted in swat teams kicking down the door of an unsuspecting swatting victim and shooting them in the face. In other instances, doxxing has resulted in severe harassment in numerous other forms.

For a news organization such as CNN to threaten to release someone’s personal information for something as petty as the video in question is wholly unacceptable. It actually sickens me that CNN has stooped to this level. Media is supposed to be the prime advocate of free speech; it’s supposed to support dialogue, even if it’s being poked fun at; it should protect the little guy.

While it may not be fake news, it shows a complete lack of integrity on the part of CNN. If this is the level a mainstream media outlet operates at, in my opinion, calls for their demise are wholly justified. Certainly, if I started using my platform in the media to threaten people I disagree with or who make fun of me, I would hope my publisher has the courage to fire me without any hesitation.

P.S. I can’t believe Breitbart News Network is on the right side of an issue.

100 Mile House Free Press