Did the White House Share a Doctored Video From Infowars of Jim Acosta Allegedly Karate-Chopping an Intern?
Some say video of the encounter between the CNN reporter and the intern appears to have been sped up to seem more aggressive.
Acosta, who's a frequent target of the president, had his press pass revoked late Wednesday after being accused of "placing his hands" on an intern who was trying to take a microphone away from him. The reporter was in the midst of a terse back-and-forth with Trump, whom he was trying to ask a question about a migrant caravan heading for the U.S.
"Pardon me, ma'am," Acosta tells the intern as she reaches for the mic, shifting to keep it out of her hands.
Some say video shared by press secretary Sarah Sanders on Twitter as justification for revoking Acosta's pass appeared to have been slightly altered when compared the original footage as posted by other news organizations.
The differences are subtle but impactful: In the version shared by Sanders, Acosta's arm motion as he tries to keep the microphone away from the intern seems slightly sped up, making his motion appear more aggressive, almost as though he is karate-chopping her. In footage posted by other news organizations, Acosta can be seen coming into contact with the intern, but the motion is less forceful.
The version shared by Sanders also omits Acosta's "Pardon me, ma'am."
Complicating matters, it appears the altered video comes from the right-wing conspiracy website Infowars, which has been banned from multiple social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, for spreading fake news. Infowars denies it doctored the video.
Acosta learned his pass had been revoked as he attempted to enter White House grounds for a live broadcast on Wednesday evening. When he realized what was happening, he began filming as the members of the Secret Service took the pass.
"I am now giving my hard pass to the Secret Service," he says in the video posted to Twitter.
In response to Sanders' statement about why his pass had been revoked, Acosta tweeted simply, "This is a lie."
Many reporters who witnessed the encounter in person came to Acosta's defense, saying he was just trying to hold onto the microphone. But others say the CNN reporter should have just handed it over.
"If a conservative journalist behaved as this one did today, wrestling back a microphone from a [press] aide, making it all about himself, the collective media outrage would be loud," Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted.
But CNN is standing by their man.
"In an explanation, ... Sanders lied," the network said in a statement. "She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better.
"Jim Acosta has our full support."
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