How CNN Lost the First Great Meme War

| JUL 6, 2017 | 5:38 PM


This week, in a journalistic first, a major news network declared a war on memes.

Specifically, CNN led a witch hunt against a Reddit user who created the original meme of Donald Trump body-slamming CNN, which the president tweeted this weekend. The creator apologized for making the meme and for other questionable online content, according to CNN.

In a bizarre move, the network seemingly threatened to out the meme creator's identity if he did not stay on his best behavior. Just read this language:

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. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

The move was called a “disturbing new precedent” by the right and “self-evidently creepy, bullying, and heavy-handed” by the left.

But that was only the beginning of the problems with the CNN doxxing report. To date, the report has faced these criticisms:

1. It has been called illegal blackmail against a private citizen. CNN denies this. 

2. The timeline of the threats and apology by the meme maker contradicts CNN's official story. 

3. CNN seems to have identified and targeted the wrong meme creator.

4. Roughly everyone on the internet thinks this is a childish, bully tactic by a major news network.

5. It has given Donald Trump Jr. ample trolling material. 

However, CNN's biggest lapse in judgement may have been ignoring the laws of thermodynamics of the internet:

For every reaction, there is an equal and much more overblown reaction.

Across the web, message boards filled up with anti-CNN vitriol. The powerful sub-Reddit group The_Donald was packed with savage CNN memes Wednesday night, with its more powerful users declaring war on the network.

Most importantly and predictably, the scare tactics CNN leveraged against the original meme creator only inspired thousands more Trump vs. CNN memes to be made. Across almost every social platform on the web, videos of Trump pummeling, pounding, KO-ing, and Hulk-smashing CNN can be found.

You can watch a compilation above.


It's hard to pick a fight against the internet. It's impossible to win. It is wise not to forget what Obi-Wan Kenobi told Darth Vader in their final lightsaber duel:

“You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

The internet, it kinda works like that.

Good luck, CNN.

Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.