CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers is hitting back at critics of her network's decision to warn an anonymous Reddit user he could be exposed if he resorted to "ugly behavior" on the internet again.
"People do not have a right to stay anonymous so they can spew their racist, misogynist, homophobic garbage," she argued in a series of tweets to her nearly 250,000 followers on Thursday.
People do not have a 'right' to stay anonymous so they can spew their racist, misogynist, homophobic garbage https://t.co/djPSRrqjyg— Kirsten Powers (@KirstenPowers) July 6, 2017
Powers, a longtime Fox News contributor who jumped to CNN in 2016, also wrote that anonymous people on the internet should not be protected from exposure, adding in a separate tweet she would have reported both his name and displayed his photo.
And making a user public is not 'destroying' them. Look how fast he apologized when he thought he'd be public. Why protect these ppl? 2/2 https://t.co/SrsQ2kl73c— Kirsten Powers (@KirstenPowers) July 6, 2017
I would have released his name and picture. I agree CNN was restrained. https://t.co/l9buDIoR4Q— Kirsten Powers (@KirstenPowers) July 6, 2017
Powers's perspective was quickly met with retorts from some conservative media members on Twitter.
And who decides what's racist, misogynist, homophobic, or otherwise doubleplus ungood? https://t.co/SYItIaWtyw— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) July 6, 2017
"I only burn the bad books" said every book burner in history.— neontaster (@neontaster) July 6, 2017
The only question for a news organization should have been newsworthiness https://t.co/6rvI7WjMEC— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 6, 2017
CNN faced considerable backlash after tracking down the creator of a video showing Trump tackling a man with a CNN logo superimposed over his head. In an online story, the news network appeared to suggest it would reveal the person's identity if he engaged in "ugly behavior" on social media again.
"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," the story, titled "How CNN found the Reddit user behind the Trump wrestling GIF," reads on CNN.com
"CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," it adds.
The blowback on social media against CNN resulted in #CNNBlackmail trending most of Wednesday on Twitter.
CNN in a statement to BuzzFeed said it decided not to publish the Reddit user’s name out of concern for his safety.
“Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false,” the network said.
“The user, who is an adult male, not a 15-year-old boy, apologized and deleted his account before ever speaking with our reporter. CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user,” it added after Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE Jr. had suggested the Reddit user was a 15-year-old.
“In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user’s identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal," CNN's statement read.