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he Reddit user behind Trump’s CNN meme apologized. But #CNNBlackmail is the story taking hold.

The Reddit user said he never intended his anti-CNN meme — you know, the one tweeted by President Trump in which the now-president beats up CNN in a wrestling match — to become a call for violence against journalists.

“I am not the person that the media portrays me to be in real life,” user HanA‑‑holeSolo wrote in an apology, posted to the popular pro-Trump r/The_Donald subreddit  Tuesday. “I was trolling and posting things to get a reaction … and never meant any of the hateful things I said in those posts.”

The apology, which has since been deleted along with the user’s entire Reddit account, ended with a call for peace: “This is one individual that you will not see posting hurtful or hateful things in jest online. This is my last post from this account and I wanted to do it on a positive note and hopefully it will heal the controversy that this all caused.”

It didn’t.  

#CNNBlackmail was the top trending Twitter topic  Wednesday morning, thanks to the efforts of a furious Trump Internet, who had concluded that the user’s apology was forced by a “threat” from CNN. Their evidence? A story CNN itself published, detailing its attempts to contact and identify the anonymous Reddit user ahead of their apology, whose offensive posting history suddenly became part of a national news story.

The part of the article that infuriated the Trump Internet — and people on both sides of the political spectrum, who questioned the ethical standards of the network’s decision — had to do with how CNN described its reasoning for not identifying the Redditor by name. Reporter Andrew Kaczynski wrote that CNN had spoken with the person behind the account, and would not identify the user because “he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology,” who had promised not to continue flooding the Internet with offensive memes.

But, he wrote


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