For nearly 40 years, CNN has been at the forefront of covering all the breaking news events taking place across the nation, and every so often, the network itself is at the heart of the story. So it goes with CNN's troubles with the now-identified Brandon Griesemer, who was arrested after allegedly making nearly two dozen calls to CNN in January in which he threatened to gun down employees for "fake news."
Some background facts for anyone who wasn't aware of this disturbing situation: According to a federal affidavit, CNN received 22 different phone calls from Michigan native Brandon Greisemer on January 9 and 10, and four of the recorded calls contained harsh threats, including one about him going "to gun the fucking CNN cast down," along with other directly stated death threats. The calls also contained insulting language disparaging African-Americans, Jewish citizens and more.
On Friday, January 19, Brandon Greisemer was charged in a U.S. District Court with transmitting interstate communications with intent to extort and threat to injure, according to CNN. If convicted, he could face fines and up to five years in prison, and he has since been released on a $10,000 bond.
This apparently wasn't the first time that Brandon Griesemer was contacted by police over toxic phone calls like this. Back in September 2017, an Islamic center in Ann Arbor, Michigan received a phone call from someone making demeaning remarks about the mosque, as well as Muslim people in general. Griesemer was later identified by police as the caller, and according to the aforementioned affidavit, he confessed to making the call, saying he was angry at the time.
Not so coincidentally enough, the same cell number that was used in the Islamic center call was used to make some of the CNN calls. The other calls were made from another number that investigators linked to Griesemer's father. At this time, Griesemer's family has yet to comment on the situation.
CNN put out a statement on Monday as news of the phone call threats went public.
We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces, around the world, extremely seriously. This one is no exception. We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout, and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people.
It's obviously not clear if Brandon Griesemer was actually aiming to follow up on any of the threats that he made against CNN, who had just recently been gotten "recognized" by Donald Trump and his "Fake News Awards." The President has often been just as critical of CNN (and other news outlets) as they have been of him, and his rampant use of "fake news" has been a source of ire in the media at large. Hopefully this incident is an ugly anomaly, as opposed to the start of something more widespread.