CNN host Michael Smerconish is doubling down on the network’s decision to publicly threaten to out an anonymous Reddit user who created a WWE-themed animated image mocking the network, a variant of which was tweeted by President Trump.
Speaking on his radio show earlier this week, Smerconish said that if he “continues to be racist, if he continues to be a bigot, if he continues to be anti-Semitic” that CNN should reveal the Reddit user’s identity.
Smerconish went on to attack internet anonymity, saying “anonymity gives people beer muscles for bad behavior.”
He also linked the newsworthiness of revealing the Reddit user’s personal information to the allegation that his animated image was tweeted by the President.
“When you promote hate in the blogosphere … you attract the president … you’re now a story, and you sacrifice any right to privacy that you otherwise would have had.”
My take on the Trump meme controversy which no one else is willing to say.
Posted by Michael Smerconish on Thursday, July 6, 2017
He did not acknowledge the fact that the version tweeted by President Trump was significantly different to the one created by the Reddit user.
And for all that, it seems like someone actually re-staged the original meme for presidential tweeting https://t.co/ktH9W2R8V0
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) July 5, 2017
“They need to be reined in” concluded Smerconish. “The hate speech, the coarse dialogue has had a disastrous impact on our political conversation, and our ability to elect individuals who are willing and able to get along and get things done.”
“It’s time to rein in the bad behavior, and nasty anonymous comments are a big part of the problem — but they’re one that we can address and one that we can solve. So, in this case, I think this individual sacrificed his right to privacy. That’s my view.”