The New York Times wrote in an article entitled How a CNN Investigation Set Off an Internet Meme War:
|“|| The Reddit forum r/CNNmemes, a self-described outpost for “memes of CNN or other failing MSM networks,” began to fill with user-generated images. One user pasted CNN’s logo into a still image from what appeared to be an ISIS hostage video, implying that the network had coerced the Reddit user behind the pro-Trump meme into making an apology. Another user superimposed CNN’s logo onto the face of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator...
The first shock came on Sunday morning, when President Trump tweeted a video that depicted him in a professional wrestling arena attacking a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head. The meme, or one very similar to it, had been created by a user on Reddit, the popular internet forum, and posted days earlier on /r/The_Donald, an active pro-Trump forum there, before making its way to the wider internet and, finally, to the 33.3 million Twitter followers of the leader of the free world...
On Monday, a CNN reporter tracked down the identity of the user, who quickly deleted his posts, renounced his meme-creating ways, and apologized in a long, seemingly sincere post to /r/The_Donald. CNN declined to name the user, but said, somewhat mysteriously, that it “reserves the right” to publish his identity in the future if he continued to create offensive content.
To many on the right, that caveat felt like a threat issued by a powerful news organization to a private citizen: Fall in line, or we’ll expose you...
To understand how Reddit memes could ignite a national controversy and put a multibillion-dollar media company on its heels, it helps to know that right-wing meme-makers are a particularly prolific and vocal internet subcommunity. They gather in clusters on Reddit, and similar sites like 4chan and Discord, in order to trade images and strategize about disseminating them to wide audiences.
- How a CNN Investigation Set Off an Internet Meme War, New York Times, 2017