On July 4, CNN released a story titled “How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF.” The article received harsh backlash on social media for one particular line.
CNN asserted that they wouldn’t publish the Reddit user’s identity because he stopped posting bigoted memes and promised to no longer continue his terrible online activity (which most definitely includes making fun of CNN). After this, the author of the piece, Andrew Kaczynski, states that “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”
This one line sparked immense outrage amongst social media users, particularly those who would call themselves right-wing. #CNNBlackmail became the number one trend in a slew of circles, with the tag eventually making it to number four trending on the global stage.
Of all those expressing outrage, none seemed as angry as the folks over in the 4chan/8chan forum known as /pol/, which stands for ‘politically incorrect.’ In a post on the forum which circulated on social media, 4chan’s /pol/ seemed to ‘declare war on CNN.’
The user called the plan “Operation: Autism Storm.” The plan included five steps to take down CNN.
That same night and early morning, members of the 8chan /pol/ community seemed to take things a bit further. In a move that was hailed as glorious among those in the Alt-Right, individuals in the forum doxed prominent CNN personalities, such as Brian Stelter, Wolf Blitzer, Daniel Merica, David Chalian, Erick Erickson (even though he’s not a CNN personality) and Don Lemon.
Their addresses, phone numbers, and emails were included in a summary of information about them. It seemed as if 8chan’s /pol/ had just upped the ante… except they didn’t.
While Alt-Righters cheered, many failed to do some basic research. The information published on the /pol/ forum was already posted on another forum, word for word, indentation by indentation, seven months ago.
It is likely that most of the information posted would be outdated at this point (such as the phone numbers and emails), and if not, it is old news.
It seems as if /pol/ has started its ‘war’ off, not with a little boy or a fat man, but with a giant dud.