‘No­body ma­nip­u­lated it’

Trump claims video distributed by White House wasn’t al­tered

Journal Pioneer - - WORLD -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump claimed on Fri­day that a White House-re­leased video de­pict­ing con­tact be­tween a staffer and a CNN re­porter wasn’t al­tered, and he seem­ingly threat­ened to re­voke the White House press cre­den­tials of more re­porters. Trump in­sisted that the video distributed by White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders was sim­ply a “close-up” and “was not doc­tored.” “No­body ma­nip­u­lated it. All that is is a close-up,” said the pres­i­dent, who then at­tacked the re­porter for ask­ing the ques­tion and called him “dis­hon­est.” A frame-by-frame com­par­i­son with an As­so­ci­ated Press video of the same in­ci­dent from Trump’s post­elec­tion news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day shows that the video tweeted by San­ders ap­pears to speed up CNN re­porter Jim Acosta’s arm move­ment when he makes con­tact with a White House in­tern who was try­ing to take away Acosta’s mi­cro­phone. The speedup ap­pears to make the ges­ture more threat­en­ing. Trump, in re­marks Fri­day, also did not back off his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to sus­pend Acosta’s press cre­den­tial, which al­lows the CNN cor­re­spon­dent ac­cess to the White House grounds.

“He’s a very un­pro­fes­sional guy. I don’t think he’s a smart per­son but he has a loud voice,” Trump told re­porters in a testy 20-plus-minute ex­change be­fore he left for Paris and a World War I com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony. “You have to treat the White House with re­spect. You have to treat the pres­i­dency with re­spect.”

The pres­i­dent said he had not de­cided if Acosta’s pass would be re­in­stated and he sug­gested there “could be oth­ers” who lose their cre­den­tials.

He be­lit­tled sev­eral of the re­porters gath­ered around him. He said one had asked “a stupid ques­tion,” and he sin­gled out April Ryan, a cor­re­spon­dent for Ur­ban Ra­dio Net­works, call­ing her “very nasty” and “a loser.” Ryan, who is also a CNN con­trib­u­tor, tweeted in re­sponse: “I love this coun­try and have the most re­spect for the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent. I will con­tinue to ask the ques­tions that af­fect Amer­ica, all of Amer­ica.” Trump’s lat­est at­tacks on the me­dia came in the wake of his free-wheel­ing and con­tentious news con­fer­ence two days ear­lier, and fol­lowed de­mands by sev­eral jour­nal­ists and or­ga­ni­za­tions - in­clud­ing the Amer­i­can So­ci­ety of News Ed­i­tors, the As­so­ci­ated Press Me­dia Ed­i­tors and the White House Cor­re­spon­dents As­so­ci­a­tion - that Acosta’s press pass be re­in­stated.

“It is the es­sen­tial func­tion of a free press in ev­ery democ­racy to in­de­pen­dently gather and re­port in­for­ma­tion in the pub­lic in­ter­est, a right that is en­shrined in the First Amend­ment,” said Julie Pace, AP’s Wash­ing­ton bureau chief.

“We strongly re­ject the idea that any ad­min­is­tra­tion would block a jour­nal­ist’s ac­cess to the White House.”

The New York Times ed­i­to­ri­al­ized in favour of restor­ing Acosta’s pass, say­ing it sig­nalled Trump’s view that ask­ing hard ques­tions dis­qual­i­fies re­porters from at­tend­ing brief­ings. The news­pa­per said that if San­ders was so of­fended by phys­i­cal con­tact, “what did she have to say when her boss praised as ‘my kind of guy’ Rep. Greg Gian­forte of Mon­tana, who was sen­tenced to anger man­age­ment classes and com­mu­nity ser­vice for body-slam­ming a Guardian re­porter last spring?”

It’s rare for the White House to pull the me­dia cre­den­tials.

AP PHOTO

As Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump watches, a White House aide takes the mi­cro­phone from CNN’s Jim Acosta, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in the East Room of the White House, Wed­nes­day.

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