Sarah Huckabee Sanders promotes an altered video of CNN reporter, sparking allegations of visual propaganda

Sarah Huckabee Sanders promotes an altered video of CNN reporter, sparking allegations of visual propaganda
Expert: Acosta video distributed by White House was doctored
U.S. President Donald Trump said he might not return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s pass to get into the White House and that other journalists may lose their credentials as well, after he argued with Acosta at a post-election news conference on Wednesday.

“I haven’t made that decision, but it could be others also,” Trump said as he departed the White House on Friday for a commemoration of the end of the First World War in France. He insulted Acosta, saying “I don’t think he’s a smart person but he’s got a loud voice.”

During Lyndon Johnsons presidency, the Secret Service denied clearance to Robert Sherrill, a reporter for The Nation who had gotten into physical fights with government officials. During the George W. Bush presidency, Trude Feldman, who worked for various news outlets, was suspended for 90 days after security cameras recorded her looking through a press aides desk late one night. In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon tried to get Washington Post reporters banned from the White House.

Trump claims video distributed by White House wasnt altered

Unprompted, he brought up April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, who often asks argumentative questions of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Trump.

The New York Times editorialized in favour of restoring Acostas pass, saying it signalled Trumps 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 the same thing with April Ryan,” Trump said. “You want to talk about someone who’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise.”

Ryan said in a tweet that she has “the most respect for the Office of the President” but will “continue to ask the questions that affect America, all of America.”

The president said he had not decided if Acostas 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."

Trump’s relationship with the journalists who cover the White House fell to a new low on Wednesday after the confrontation with Acosta, who provoked the president by asking him whether he had “demonized” immigrants in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm election. After increasingly heated back-and-forth between the men, Trump told Acosta “you should let me run the country, you run CNN,” and cut off his questions.

A frame-by-frame comparison with an Associated Press video of the same incident from Trumps postelection news conference Wednesday shows that the video tweeted by Sanders appears to speed up CNN reporter Jim Acostas arm movement when he makes contact with a White House intern who was trying to take away Acostas microphone. The speedup appears to make the gesture more threatening.

When a White House intern tried to take a microphone from Acosta, he blocked her with his arm. Sanders later accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the intern and said his White House credential had been suspended “until further notice.”

Acosta responded by calling Sanders a liar. She subsequently tweeted a manipulated video clip that showed Acosta’s arm touching the intern’s arm as she tried to take the microphone. The video does not show Acosta putting his hands on the woman.

Trumps 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 Acostas press pass be reinstated.

CNN has defended Acosta and assailed the White House for taking his credential. The White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement that “revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offence and is unacceptable.”

"Hes a very unprofessional guy. I dont think hes 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."

U.S. President Donald Trump said he might not return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s pass to get into the White House and that other journalists may lose their credentials as well, after he argued with Acosta at a post-election news conference on Wednesday.

Sanders, who hasnt said where the tweeted video came from, noted that it clearly shows Acosta made contact with the intern. In her statement announcing Acostas suspension, she said the White House wont tolerate "a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job."

“I haven’t made that decision, but it could be others also,” Trump said as he departed the White House on Friday for a commemoration of the end of the First World War in France. He insulted Acosta, saying “I don’t think he’s a smart person but he’s got a loud voice.”

Unprompted, he brought up April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, who often asks argumentative questions of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Trump.

“It’s the same thing with April Ryan,” Trump said. “You want to talk about someone who’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise.”

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."

Ryan said in a tweet that she has “the most respect for the Office of the President” but will “continue to ask the questions that affect America, all of America.”

Trump’s relationship with the journalists who cover the White House fell to a new low on Wednesday after the confrontation with Acosta, who provoked the president by asking him whether he had “demonized” immigrants in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm election. After increasingly heated back-and-forth between the men, Trump told Acosta “you should let me run the country, you run CNN,” and cut off his questions.

Trump, in remarks Friday, also did not back off his administrations decision to suspend Acostas press credential, which allows the CNN correspondent access to the White House grounds.

When a White House intern tried to take a microphone from Acosta, he blocked her with his arm. Sanders later accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the intern and said his White House credential had been suspended “until further notice.”

"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."

Acosta responded by calling Sanders a liar. She subsequently tweeted a manipulated video clip that showed Acosta’s arm touching the intern’s arm as she tried to take the microphone. The video does not show Acosta putting his hands on the woman.

The White House suspended Acostas press credentials after the press conference, limiting his access to the White House grounds. Sanders said on Twitter that the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” though no video evidence has so far supported that claim.

CNN has defended Acosta and assailed the White House for taking his credential. The White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement that “revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offence and is unacceptable.”

What appears to be the same video was shared two hours earlier by Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of Infowars.com, a far-right conspiracy outlet whose content has been barred from almost every major tech content distributor, including Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube, generally for violating their policies on hate speech.

A video distributed by the Trump administration to support its argument for banning CNN reporter Jim Acosta from the White House appears to have been doctored to make Acosta look more aggressive than he was during an exchange with a White House intern, an independent expert said Thursday.

Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN, was engaged in a tense exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House when a White House intern walked up and tried to take the microphone away from him. Acosta held on to the microphone and kept trying to question Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted the video, which shows Acosta asking President Donald Trump a question on Wednesday as the intern tries to take his microphone away. But a frame-by-frame comparison with an Associated Press video of the same incident shows that the one tweeted by Sanders appears to have been altered to speed up Acostas arm movement as he touches the interns arm, according to Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer who examined the footage at APs request.

Earlier, Shapiro noticed that frames in the tweeted video were frozen to slow down the action, allowing it to run the same length as the AP one.

The White House is accused of using a video of CNNs Jim Acosta doctored by the conspiracy-theory outlet Infowars as justification for suspending the journalists press pass on Wednesday.

The alteration is too precise to be an accident, said Shapiro, who trains instructors to use video editing software.

The tweeted video also does not have any audio, which Shapiro said would make it easier to alter. Its also unlikely the differences could be explained by technical glitches or by video compression – a reduction in a videos size to enable it to play more smoothly on some sites – because the slowing of the video and the acceleration that followed are too precise to be an accident.

“The question is: did the reporter make contact or not?” Sanders said in a statement distributed to reporters. “The video is clear, he did. We stand by our statement.”

Sanders, who hasnt said where the tweeted video came from, noted that it clearly shows Acosta made contact with the intern. In her statement announcing Acostas suspension, she said the White House wont tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.

While the origin of the manipulated video is unclear, its distribution marked a new low for an administration that has been criticized for its willingness to mislead.

As visual journalists, we know that manipulating images is manipulating truth, said Whitney Shefte, the associations president. Its deceptive, dangerous and unethical. Knowingly sharing manipulated images is equally problematic, particularly when the person sharing them is a representative of our countrys highest office with vast influence over public opinion.

A video shared on Twitter by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, makes Acostas movement appear more violent.

CNN has labelled Sanders characterization of Acostas exchange with the intern as a lie. Its position has been supported by witnesses including Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who was next to Acosta during the news conference and tweeted that he did not see Acosta place his hands on the White House employee. Rather, he said he saw him holding on to the microphone as she reached for it.

Read more: The moment a White House intern confronted CNN correspondent Jim Acosta during a tense exchange with Trump, in 3 photos

The irony of this White House video involving Jim Acosta is that if it is found to be doctored, it will show the administration to be doing what it accuses the news media of doing – engaging in fake information, said Aly Colon, a professor in journalism ethics at Washington & Lee University.

Other Twitter users showed Sanders video side-by-side with the original broadcast to argue the one she posted had been doctored.

Several journalists and organizations – including the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Online News Association – demanded Acostas press pass be reinstated.

Acosta told CNNs Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that he did not “put my hands on her or touch her as theyre alleging.”

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, APs Washington bureau chief. We strongly reject the idea that any administration would block a journalists access to the White House.

“Its unfortunate the White House is saying this,” he said. “I think I handled myself professionally.”

The New York Times editorialized in favour of restoring Acostas pass, saying it signalled Trumps 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?

CNN has been a frequent target of the president, who has characterized journalists as enemies of the people and who routinely accuses the mainstream media of spreading fake news. And Acosta has been one of the more visible thorns in the side of the White House. During their verbal altercation on Wednesday, Trump called Acosta a terrible person.

During Lyndon Johnsons presidency, the Secret Service denied clearance to Robert Sherrill, a reporter for The Nation who had gotten into physical fights with government officials. During the George W. Bush presidency, Trude Feldman, who worked for various news outlets, was suspended for 90 days after security cameras recorded her looking through a press aides desk late one night. In the 1970s, President Nixon tried to get Washington Post reporters banned from the White House.

Despite losing his White House pass, Acosta is expected to travel to Paris this weekend to cover Trumps trip to meet with world leaders.

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