CNN caught the troll, who says he’s so so sorry

     In this Sunday, April 1, 2007, file photo, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, center, held by

    In this Sunday, April 1, 2007, file photo, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, center, held by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, prepares to have his hair cut off by Donald Trump, left, and Bobby Lashley, right, after Lashley defeated Umaga at Wrestlemania 23 at Ford Field in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

    It’s hard to know who was more pathetic on July 4 – the idiot trolls who accused NPR of tweeting “partisan” “revolution,” not realizing that NPR was tweeting the Declaration of Independence; or the idiot troll who concocted the fake video of Trump beating up CNN – and who now says he’s so so sorry about the whole thing.

    But I’ll go with the video troll.

    As you all know by now, the alleged president of the United States saw fit last Sunday to retweet a GIF that showed him pummelling a wrestler whose face had been replaced by the CNN logo. But yesterday, CNN found the guy who did the GIF, a Reddit user who calls himself “HanA**holeSolo” (I’ve edited his fake name, because this is a family blog), and naturally, he’s just another jerk drawn to the joys of online juvenilia.

    But what interested me most was his reaction to being outed:

    “I would like to apologize to the members of the reddit community for getting this site embroiled in a controversy that should never have happened. I would also like to apologize for the posts made that were racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic. I am in no way this kind of person, I love and accept people of all walks of life and have done so for my entire life…I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction from (users) on reddit and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts. I would never support any kind of violence or actions against others simply for what they believe in, their religion, or the lifestyle they choose to have. Nor would I carry out any violence against anyone based upon that or support anyone who did…

    “The meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation. I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more. What the President’s feed showed was not the original post that was posted here, but loaded up somewhere else and sound added to it then sent out on Twitter…I have the highest respect for the journalist community and they put their lives on the line every day with the jobs that they do in reporting the news.”

    Wow. Where to begin.

    See, this is the problem with Internet anonymity: it gives cowards a license to talk trash, to create alternative personalities, without taking any responsibility. This particular troll, only after being tracked down by CNN, admits that he has written “racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic” posts – but then he adds: “I am in no way this kind of person.” He “never meant any of the hateful things” that he has said. So why has he said them? If he’s really a man of peace and harmony in real life, why would he concoct, and hide behind, a hateful identity?

    Because he did it for the kicks. For the fun of it. For the sheer provocation. In his words, to simply “get a reaction.” If you’re still wondering why our civic dialogue is so degraded, this troll just told us why.

    And believe it or not, these trolls get so deep into their alt-heads that they somehow can’t imagine that their handiwork might leach into the real world. To quote HanA**holeSolo, “I had no idea anyone would take it and put sound to it and then have it put up on the President’s Twitter feed. It was a prank, nothing more.”

    He had “no idea.” Such willful naivete. GIFs like his are just pranks – until someone with serious intent takes them seriously.

    Which prompts us to wonder: Who flagged his GIF and punched it up with sound effects? Did Trump find it on his own, or did someone call it to his easily distractable attention? And why would he take time out of his supposedly busy work life to incite violence with help from an Internet bottom-feeder?

    Where’s his apology?

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    But about NPR’s tweeting of the Declaration of Independence:

    After NPR tweeted some of Thomas Jefferson’s sentences, a ticked-off right-wing troll replied, “You have never been balanced on your show.” Another said, “Are you drunk? Your silly tweets make your state of mind questionable.” I think those were my favorites.

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    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1, and on Facebook.

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