Crit­ics: Video of Acosta edited to be de­cep­tive

The Beaufort Gazette - - Stay Connected - BY DREW HAR­WELL

White House press sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders on Wed­nes­day night shared a video of CNN re­porter Jim Acosta that ap­peared to have been al­tered to make his ac­tions at a news con­fer­ence look more ag­gres­sive to­ward a White House in­tern.

The edited video looks au­then­tic: Acosta ap­peared to swiftly chop down on the arm of an aide as he held onto a mi­cro­phone while ques­tion­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. But in the orig­i­nal video, Acosta’s arm ap­pears to move only as a re­sponse to a tus­sle for the mi­cro­phone. His state­ment, “Par­don me, ma’am,” is not in­cluded in the video San­ders shared.

Crit­ics said that video – which sped up the move­ment of Acosta’s arms in a way that dra­mat­i­cally changed the jour­nal­ist’s re­sponse – was de­cep­tively edited to score po­lit­i­cal points. That edited video was first shared by Paul Joseph Wat­son, known for his con­spir­acy-the­ory videos on the far-right web­site In­fowars.

Wat­son said he did not change the speed of the video and that claims he had al­tered it were a “brazen lie.” But side-by-side com­par­isons sup­port claims from fact-check­ers and ex­perts such as Jonathan Al­bright, re­search di­rec­tor of the Tow Cen­ter for Dig­i­tal Jour­nal­ism at Columbia Univer­sity, who ar­gued that cru­cial parts of the video ap­pear to have been sped up or al­tered so as to dis­tort the ac­tion.

The video has quickly be­come a flash­point in the bat­tle over vi­ral mis­in­for­ma­tion, turn­ing a live in­ter­ac­tion watched by thou­sands in real-time into just an­other ide­o­log­i­cal tug-of-war. But it has also high­lighted how video con­tent has be­come as vul­ner­a­ble to po­lit­i­cal dis­tor­tion as any­thing else.


A White House staff mem­ber, left, tries to take away the mi­cro­phone from CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wed­nes­day.

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