White House spox Sarah Sanders shared video proof of Jim Acosta’s aggression with intern at press conference. The problem? The video was doctored. USA TODAY
The White House promoted an edited video on Wednesday to justify revoking Jim Acosta’s press badge following the CNN reporter’s questioning of President Donald Trump earlier that day. The video was earlier shared by the editor of InfoWars, whose founder has pushed conspiracy theories that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting never occurred.
The video was tweeted Wednesday night by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, claiming that Acosta’s “inappropriate behavior” is “clearly documented in this video.”
As controversy stirred over the video, Sanders on Thursday continued her defense.
“The question is: did the reporter make contact or not? The video is clear, he did. We stand by our statement,” she said.
The video from Sanders’ tweet purports to show a moment from a Wednesday exchange between Acosta and Trump, in which Acosta persisted in asking the president about the ongoing Russia investigation amid Trump’s repeated refusals to answer.
More: CNN’s Jim Acosta has White House press badge revoked after Trump called him ‘terrible’
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In footage of the incident earlier published by NBC and others, a White House intern attempts to take the microphone out of Acosta’s right hand, during which Acosta appears to lower his left hand to block the woman while apologizing, “Pardon me, ma’am.”
But in the video posted by Sanders, Acosta’s arm movement is sped up, making his apparent block appear more aggressive —– a fact noted by many respondents to Sanders’ tweet.
Within hours, videos comparing earlier footage and the video from Sanders’ tweet showed a discrepancy when those moments of the White House-released video failed to match up to original footage.
“The clip being shared by the WH Press Secretary and Infowars has been slowed down then sped up to create the illusion of a karate chop,” said Aymann Ismail, a video producer for Slate, in a series of tweets, adding that the “the intern’s reach for the mic is slowed down, and the ‘chop’ motion is accelerated.
Paul Joseph Watson, the InfoWars editor who shared the video before Sanders did, later argued that he did not “speed up” the video but “merely zoomed in.”
Media from InfoWars has previously been banned from Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify after being classified as hate speech.
Despite Watson’s claim, an in-depth analysis of the footage from Tom Richell, a video producer at The Independent, reports the precise frames where the video was edited.
“We know the video has been edited in some way,” he said. “There’s a very slight pause … Who made that edit, though, and for what reason — that’s what we don’t know.”
Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner
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