Setting aside the fact that CNN is the most petty organization in U.S. history, and setting aside the delicious “dish it out but can’t take it” nature of this story, the reality is that CNN’s officials may have committed multiple felonies when they coerced an apology from the redditor.
Here’s how the statutes read:
From U.S. Code:
Section 241 of Title 18 is the civil rights conspiracy statute. Section 241 makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same). Unlike most conspiracy statutes, Section 241 does not require that one of the conspirators commit an overt act prior to the conspiracy becoming a crime.
The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 241
If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…
They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
And from New York State Code:
A person is guilty of coercion in the second degree when he or she compels or induces a person to engage in conduct which the latter has a legal right to abstain from engaging in, or to abstain from engaging in conduct in which he or she has a legal right to engage, or compels or induces a person to join a group, organization or criminal enterprise which such latter person has a right to abstain from joining, by means of instilling in him or her a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will:
1. Cause physical injury to a person; or
2. Cause damage to property; or
3. Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or
4. Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against him or her; or
5. Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or
6. Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action injurious to some person’s business; except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the act or omission compelled is for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or
7. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
8. Use or abuse his or her position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his or her official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely; or
9. Perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm another person materially with respect to his or her health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.
Coercion in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Now let’s look at the pertinent quote from the story:
CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because 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. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.
And here’s Kaczynski’s tweet indicating that CNN approached the guy.
The user who claimed credit posted a lengthy apology about CNN reached out to him on Monday. https://t.co/X47X3u8CUy
— andrew kaczynski 🎃 (@KFILE) July 5, 2017
And finally, CNN realizing they need to cover their tracks, but apparently are too stupid to realize the internet is forever:
— ConspiracyMods (@_R_conspiracy) July 5, 2017
And let’s not forget, this is the same network who told us that we are BREAKING THE LAW if we even read Wikileaks:
Who does CNN think they are, ISIS?
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) July 5, 2017