The White House is spreading fake news.
On Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out an apparently doctored video of a testy interchange between President Trump and CNN reporter Jim Acosta during a post-election press conference. The video she tweeted originated from an editor at InfoWars, Alex Jones’ much-maligned far-right publication known for trading in outlandish conspiracy theories and outright lies.
Sanders shared the video late Wednesday night in an attempt to justify the White House’s decision to revoke CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials after he sparred with Trump. It purportedly shows the moment a White House intern attempted to take a microphone from Acosta during a heated exchange with the president. Sanders alleged that the video showed Acosta acting in an “unacceptable” manner toward the young woman.
Crucially, however the video appears to have been doctored. Some frames look to be sped up and others slowed down to make Acosta’s physical actions seem far more aggressive than they were in reality — as can be seen in numerous videos captured by the news outlets in the room.
The video shared by the White House to justify banning Jim @Acosta appears to be a doctored video created by an Infowars editor.
The video slows down the intern’s approach/speeds up Acosta’s arm movement, making it appear more violent.https://t.co/FEyHtNQxG6
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) November 8, 2018
Yes, the White House press office is sharing a manipulated video that makes it appear that Acosta was menacing the intern when he was not and did not. The intern reached over Acosta to grab the microphone while he was trying to ask another q and Acosta tried to pull away. https://t.co/2cqjHSYmr4
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 8, 2018
This subtle edit of the Acosta video – his arm sped up ever so slightly, to amp up the conflict – now has thousands of retweets and hundreds of thousands of views. Video, once the end-all central validator, is becoming as vulnerable to politicized distortion as everything else https://t.co/rsYkn6u8pz
— Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) November 8, 2018
Twitter users broke down the clip Sanders shared, comparing it with other clips of the incident captured by news cameras, turning it into something akin to 2018’s Zapruder film.
Acosta steadfastly refuted Sanders’ accusation, which she made via Tweetstorm, calling it “a lie.”
In the wake of the incident, CNN also stood with Acosta as did many of Acosta’s peers in the press.
I was seated next to @Acosta at today’s press conference and did not witness him “placing his hands” on the young intern, as the White House alleges. He held on to the microphone as she reached for it. The @Reuters pictures below depict what happened accurately. pic.twitter.com/nO68Hf4eQM
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) November 8, 2018
The White House pulling @Acosta’s press pass is also a joke considering Brietbart, a propaganda shop that produces absolutely no journalism, gets a press pass there and at the Pentagon. I am a co-founder and original VP of the Pentagon Press Association. I stand with Jim.
— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) November 8, 2018
Mashable has reached out to the White House for comment on the allegations surrounding the video Sanders shared.