Crit­ics: Video of Acosta edited to be de­cep­tive

The Fresno Bee - - News - 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.

The video has high­lighted how video con­tent has be­come as vul­ner­a­ble to po­lit­i­cal dis­tor­tion as any­thing else.

Al­bright said videos like this pose an even greater risk of per­pet­u­at­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion than com­pletely faked news videos, be­cause they con­tain a grain of truth and will likely be given the as­sump­tion of ac­cu­racy.

Matt Dor­nic, a CNN com­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­ec­u­tive, tweeted that Sanders’ shar­ing of the video was “ab­so­lutely shame­ful.” “You re­leased a doc­tored video – ac­tual fake news. His­tory will not be kind to you,” he wrote.

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