She touched him: Jim Acosta row engulfs social media

\She touched him\: Jim Acosta row engulfs social media
White House suspends press pass of CNNs Jim Acosta after his testy exchange with Trump
The move to punish Acosta by removing his access to the White House is believed to be unprecedented. The Trump administration barred another CNN reporter from attending an open media event in July but until now has not gone as far as removing a credential, known as a “hard pass,” which enables a journalist to enter the White House grounds.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders cited Acosta’s brief physical confrontation with a White House press aide during Trump’s midday news conference as the reason for suspending his press pass “until further notice.”

WASHINGTON — The dramatic White House expulsion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be getting all the attention, but there was another one that some consider just as important: the banning of journalist Jim Acosta.

Video: Trump calls reporters question racist

During the 90-minute session at the White House, Trump snapped at Acosta after the reporter asked whether the president had “demonized immigrants” by calling a caravan of Central American migrants “an invasion.” After a lengthy and tense back-and-forth, a female White House intern tried to take the microphone from Acosta.

The dramatic White House expulsion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be getting all the attention, but there was another one that some consider just as important: the banning of journalist Jim Acosta.

Acosta held onto it and raised an arm to shield it, in the process making contact with the aide. “Pardon me, ma’am,” he told the woman.

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders claims he put his hands on a young intern as he tried to prevent her from taking back the microphone, an assertion Acosta calls a “lie.”

Video: Diamond & Silk: CNNs Jim Acosta is the enemy of the people

After their exchange, Trump told Acosta: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”

Reporters don’t get routine access to the Prime Minister’s Office, but media credentials to access Parliament Hill are managed by the National Press Gallery, not the PMO.

On Wednesday night, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” and said it was on those grounds that Acosta’s press pass was being suspended.

With Jim Acosta Tape, the White House Turns Gaslighting into an Art

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” Sanders said in a statement. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question.”

Video of the exchange showed otherwise. On Twitter, Acosta responded to the press secretary’s statement with, simply: “This is a lie.”

President Donald Trump came out with guns blazing in a post-midterms press conference on Wednesday, lambasting reporters for asking basic questions and threatening Democrats after they won a majority in the House. Trump accused a black reporter of asking a “racist question” and had a heated argument with CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The president also said hed take a “war-like posture” if Democrats attempt to open new investigations into his administration. President Donald Trump came out with guns blazing in a post-midterms press conference on Wednesday, lambasting reporters for asking basic questions and threatening Democrats after they won a majority in the House.

White House suspends CNNs Acosta after Trump confrontation

The White House Correspondents’ Association called the White House’s reaction “out of line to the purported offense” and urged that Acosta’s press pass be restored.

“I love our country. I do. You have nationalists. You have globalists. I also love the world. And I dont mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first,” Trump added. “We have a lot of problems. But to say that, what you say is so insulting to me. Its a very terrible thing that you said.”

Appearing on CNN, Acosta told host Anderson Cooper on Wednesday evening that he was “just trying to ask a question of the president.”

Trump also sparred with CNN reporter Jim Acosta after he asked the president about immigration and other issues, referring to him as the “enemy of the people.” The president told Acosta that CNN should be ashamed to have him in its employ.

White House shares manipulated Infowars video to justify CNN press ban

He added: “I didn’t put my hands on her or touch her, as the White House is alleging. I do think, Anderson, that this is a test for all of us. I think they’re trying to shut us down. I think they’re trying to send a message to my colleagues.”

PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked if Trumps recent embrace of the term “nationalist” could be seen as encouraging to far-right groups. Trump responded, “Thats such a racist question … Let me tell you, its a racist question.”

Acosta said he learned that his access was denied from a text message he received on his phone. When he went to the White House for “one last live shot,” he said a security officer prevented him from passing through an entrance he has used for the past five years.

At another point during Wednesdays press conference, Trump warned Democrats against opening new investigations into his administration now that they have control of the House of Representatives.

I never thought that in this country I wouldn't be able to cover the president of the United States just for asking a question

Trump accused a black reporter of asking a “racist” question when she inquired as to whether he thought his rhetoric had emboldened white supremacists.

Video: White House revokes CNN correspondents credentials

“I never thought that in this country I wouldn’t be able to cover the president of the United States just for asking a question,” he said.

The ad is the loudest in a series of racist dog whistles by the president in the closing weeks of the midterm election cycle. Last month, Trump explained that his campaign talking points would focus on Kavanaugh; the caravan; law and order; and common sense. But as Republican odds of holding onto the House have slipped, the president refined his message to focus on the most xenophobic elements animating the conservative base. In recent days, he ordered thousands of troops to defend the southern border, provoking accusations that he is using the U.S. military as a political prop. (Increasing troops for a nonexistent crisis is a racist ploy and an irresponsible waste of resources, Shaw Drake, policy counsel for the A.C.L.U., told The Guardian.) On Tuesday, Axios published an interview in which Trump discussed repealing birthright citizenship, a right enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which legal experts say would be impossible. The following day, pouring conspiratorial accelerant on the fire, he told reporters he wouldnt be surprised if billionaire George Soros—a Jewish philanthropist who is an obsession of anti-Semites and was recently the target of a mail-bomb plot—was secretly funding the caravan. Throughout, his Twitter feed has remained a reliable dumping ground for random musings about the very bad thugs and gang members, as well as the criminals and unknown Middle Easterners, he claims are interspersed throughout the caravan.)

In a statement Wednesday night, CNN accused the White House of retaliating against Acosta because of his questions.

Earlier this week, completely out of nowhere and unrelated to the midterm elections at all, reports began to surface that Donald Trump—who on Monday was ready to slap tariffs on every single Chinese import—had suddenly reached some kind of breakthrough with Beijing. On Thursday, the president tweeted that hed had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping, with a heavy emphasis on trade, and indicated things were moving along nicely. Later that night, articles appeared claiming Trump wants to reach an agreement on trade with Xi when they meet at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, and that hed asked key U.S. officials to begin drafting potential terms, according to four people familiar with the matter, and on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported that Trump had changed his travel plans to accomodate a meeting plus dinner with Xi, a sign, according to one source, that he was keen to reach a deal. All of this would obviously be very good, nay, great news given that markets are increasingly worried about a full-blown trade war and that, so far, the outcome of Trumps tariffs-spree has involved layoffs for American workers, U.S. companies shifting production abroad, bailout-necessitating losses for farmers in Trump country, and the potential for thousands of new jobs in China.

“In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied,” the network stated. “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.”

It is too early to tell whether Khashoggis murder has brought the U.S. establishment to a tipping point. Over the past weeks, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have voiced frustration with Saudi Arabia, its war in Yemen, and the Saudi regimes apparent disregard for Americas multi-billion-dollar patronage. But Washington is also awash in Saudi money, which funds dozens of think tanks, P.R. and consulting firms, and provides sinecures for all manner of Swamp creatures. The Trump administration, certainly, has yet to telegraph any interest in altering its relationship with Riyadh, let alone with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has a close personal connection with Jared Kushner. If there was a window for Trump to exert his leverage over Saudi Arabia—a desert economy with a singular, but depleting, natural resource—he missed the opportunity. Nor did he bother to engage with the European Union or NATO allies, as past administrations likely would have done, signaling the extent to which America First has also come to mean America Alone. Meanwhile, Juul lamented, the Saudis are very much all in on Trump. Theyre trying to see what they can get away with in however long hes in office. Theyre trying to run the table.

Sanders later tweeted a short clip of the interaction, writing: “We stand by our decision.”

On Tuesday, Donald Trump, along with Melania, Ivanka, and Jared, traveled to Pittsburgh following Saturdays mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. A visit by a sitting president in the wake of a devastating event is, of course, fairly standard and often welcomed—Barack Obama, for example, spoke at a vigil in Newtown, Connecticut, two days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school, comforting the families that had just suffered an unthinkable tragedy. In this case, however, things were a little different! On Monday, Mayor Bill Peduto said he had tried to get a message out to the White House that it would be better if the president stayed in Washington, while thousands of people signed signed a letter written by a Jewish group based in Pittsburgh telling Trump he wasnt welcome. That probably had something to do with the fact that the president blamed the victims following the attack, insisting that the shooting had nothing to do with gun laws and that If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple maybe it could have been a very much different situation. That the president has refused to disavow white nationalist and anti-Semites, and, some say, emboldenedthem, may also have been a contributing factor.

Jim Acosta and CNN Accuse Sarah Sanders Of Lying About White House “Retaliation”

Matt Dornic, CNN’s vice president of communications, responded by sharing a fuller video clip, writing: “You manipulated this video. The lies never end.”

Inside Washington, foreign-policy experts hoping for a reset swiftly downgraded their expectations. And as the Khashoggi affair has played out, disappointment has morphed to cynicism within the diplomatic community. Its fairly clear that this administration is hoping this will blow over in some respect or another, Peter Juul, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, sighed in an interview. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had made a perfunctory concession to critics by revoking the visas for some of the Saudi officials linked to Khashoggis death. But it was largely an empty gesture—18 of the 21 Saudi suspects were already under arrest, and likely fated to die in a Saudi prison. (At least one of the men involved in the hit team had already [died in a mysterious traffic accident upon returning to Riyadh.) This was a perfect moment for Trump to step out and say, We Americans reject this, because we believe in what we believe, former U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns, said, incensed. He missed it, because he doesnt think about these things . . . I think were seeing the hollowness of his presidency. Truly. Theres no moral center to it.

We stand by our decision to revoke this individuals hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y

Despite video, right-wing personalities continued to spread online the false allegation that Acosta had been seen “pushing and shoving a female White House aide.” A HuffPost reporter noted that the brief video shared by Sanders was made by an editor from Infowars, the site led by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

From a forgiving perspective, the footage is a prime example of two political factions seeing what they want to see, perhaps twisting the evidence to better fit their viewpoint (“So the Acosta thing is turning into the ideological partisan version of the blue and black dress,” Commentary’s John Podhoretz joked). But the implications of the White House’s Orwellian ruling are much more alarming. Even before the midterms, the administration had a habit of stretching the truth to the breaking point, once attempting to convince a cadre of reporters that the sun was not, in fact, in the sky. After Tuesday’s electoral defeats, Trump’s sense that his back is against the wall only seems to have increased, with a source telling my colleague Gabriel Sherman that he is “very upset” and “very depressed.” What comes of this foul mood? For one, the immediate firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which has widely been read as an attack on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. For another, a prolonged smear campaign against one of Trump’s least favorite reporters, whom he seemingly delights in sparring against. And as the spin machine dials up, it pushes the factions of the country further and further apart. “What is the point. Seriously,” asked columnist Dan Hodges. “What are we all doing here. If we can’t actually agree on the evidence of our own eyes, what is the point of even attempting to engage.”

Watch: Trump takes victory lap at White House even as Dems win House majority

Acosta has been one of the most outspoken reporters covering the White House over the last two years, in which he has become a favorite target of insults lobbed by Trump’s supporters, particularly at the president’s raucous rallies.

From a forgiving perspective, the footage is a prime example of two political factions seeing what they want to see, perhaps twisting the evidence to better fit their viewpoint (“So the Acosta thing is turning into the ideological partisan version of the blue and black dress,” Commentary’s John Podhoretz joked). But the implications of the White House’s Orwellian ruling are much more alarming. Even before the midterms, the administration had a habit of stretching the truth to the breaking point, once attempting to convince a cadre of reporters that the sun was not, in fact, in the sky. After Tuesday’s electoral defeats, Trump’s sense that his back is against the wall only seems to have increased, with a source telling my colleague Gabriel Sherman that he is “very upset” and “very depressed.” What comes of this foul mood? For one, the immediate firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which has widely been read as an attack on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. For another, a prolonged smear campaign against one of Trump’s least favorite reporters, whom he seemingly delights in sparring against. And as the spin machine dials up, it pushes the factions of the country further and further apart. “What is the point. Seriously,” asked columnist Dan Hodges. “What are we all doing here. If we can’t actually agree on the evidence of our own eyes, what is the point of even attempting to engage.”

“I think I’m just covering a story, honestly,” Acosta said in a 2017 interview with The Post about his reporting style. “When the president of the United States calls the press ‘fake news’ and ‘the enemy of the American people,’ ” he added, “I think that’s when you have to get tough and ask the hard questions.”

The ad is the loudest in a series of racist dog whistles by the president in the closing weeks of the midterm election cycle. Last month, Trump explained that his campaign talking points would focus on Kavanaugh; the caravan; law and order; and common sense. But as Republican odds of holding onto the House have slipped, the president refined his message to focus on the most xenophobic elements animating the conservative base. In recent days, he ordered thousands of troops to defend the southern border, provoking accusations that he is using the U.S. military as a political prop. (Increasing troops for a nonexistent crisis is a racist ploy and an irresponsible waste of resources, Shaw Drake, policy counsel for the A.C.L.U., told The Guardian.) On Tuesday, Axios published an interview in which Trump discussed repealing birthright citizenship, a right enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which legal experts say would be impossible. The following day, pouring conspiratorial accelerant on the fire, he told reporters he wouldnt be surprised if billionaire George Soros—a Jewish philanthropist who is an obsession of anti-Semites and was recently the target of a mail-bomb plot—was secretly funding the caravan. Throughout, his Twitter feed has remained a reliable dumping ground for random musings about the very bad thugs and gang members, as well as the criminals and unknown Middle Easterners, he claims are interspersed throughout the caravan.)

After news of Acosta’s press pass suspension broke, numerous journalists came to his defense. Jeff Mason, the former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said he was seated next to Acosta at the news conference and that Sanders’s characterization of what happened was false.

Earlier this week, completely out of nowhere and unrelated to the midterm elections at all, reports began to surface that Donald Trump—who on Monday was ready to slap tariffs on every single Chinese import—had suddenly reached some kind of breakthrough with Beijing. On Thursday, the president tweeted that hed had a long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping, with a heavy emphasis on trade, and indicated things were moving along nicely. Later that night, articles appeared claiming Trump wants to reach an agreement on trade with Xi when they meet at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, and that hed asked key U.S. officials to begin drafting potential terms, according to four people familiar with the matter, and on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported that Trump had changed his travel plans to accomodate a meeting plus dinner with Xi, a sign, according to one source, that he was keen to reach a deal. All of this would obviously be very good, nay, great news given that markets are increasingly worried about a full-blown trade war and that, so far, the outcome of Trumps tariffs-spree has involved layoffs for American workers, U.S. companies shifting production abroad, bailout-necessitating losses for farmers in Trump country, and the potential for thousands of new jobs in China.

“(I) did not witness him ‘placing his hands’ on the young intern, as the White House alleges,” Mason tweeted. “He held on to the microphone as she reached for it.”

Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement condemning the attacks and thanking the Secret Service, which Trump later quote-tweeted, adding, I agree wholeheartedly! Among his supporters on the right, however, suspicion quickly turned to whether the bombs were a false flag, or an attempt by the left to smear Republicans ahead of the midterms. Investigators need to look at the left, right, center, and non-political, Cardillo wrote on Twitter, after deleting his initial post. However, strategically speaking, there is no political upside for the right here. Jack Posobiec, a right-wing commentator who previously pushed the Pizzagate hoax, urged both sides to dial down the rhetoric—Its not funny, and you arent edgy. Take the pledge to always support peace—before wondering, an hour later, How did they get all the bombs to arrive at the same time? The answers bubbling up from the MAGA fever swamps, in this case, ranged from PSYOPS to #Alinskytactics to a mainstream-media hoax. They had it all with them all along. When their synchronized alarms beeped? It was time to call the authorities, suggested one of Posobiecs followers. (The Soros package and the CNN package were both delivered by hand, and were packaged to appear as if they were sent through the mail.)

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.

Donald Trumps election has created a mass audience for this model, as Pod Save America has proved. Hundreds and even thousands of aggrieved liberals routinely pack theaters across the country for live recordings of the hit podcast series hosted by Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, helping to generate millions in revenue for their company, Crooked Media. Whether similarly enthusiastic crowds will turn up for the Clintons remains to be seen. Bills legacy turned sour after #MeToo forced a re-examination of his history of inappropriate sexual relations, made worse by his own sputtering defenses. (This was litigated 20 years ago. . . . Two-thirds of the American people sided with me, he vented to an NBC reporter in June, while acknowledging that he had never personally apologized to Monica Lewinsky.) Hillarys has likewise suffered following reports that she covered for a campaign staffer accused of repeated sexual harassment. Her memoir, What Happened, was generally well-received but also highlighted many of her blind spots regarding the Trump phenomenon. Unlike her husband, Hillarys attempts to transition from politician back to human have proceeded with fits and starts. The muscle memory one builds from so many years in the media spotlight is hard to unclench.

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 U.S. 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.

What you need to know about the Jim Acosta video shared by Sarah Huckabee Sanders

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.

The White House did not respond to a VICE News request for comment. Watson, whose outlet, InfoWars, was banned from several social media sites for spreading false information, denies the video was edited. In an interview with BuzzFeed, Watson claimed the only difference to the video was a zoom and posited that any speeding-up effect was caused by digitally processing the clip into a GIF.

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 speeded up or altered so as to distort the action.

The doctored clip appears to be sped up to make it look like Acosta forcefully raised his hand at the intern, bringing it down on the crook of her arm as she tried to physically take away the microphone he was holding. In reality, network video from the press conference shows Acosta already had his arm in the air, pointing at the president, when the intern lunged at him to grab his mic.

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 — long seen as an unassailable verification tool for truth and confirmation — has become as vulnerable to political distortion as anything else.

The doctored clip appears to be sped up to make it look like Acosta forcefully raised his hand at the intern, bringing it down on the crook of her arm as she tried to physically take away the microphone he was holding. In reality, network video from the press conference shows Acosta already had his arm in the air, pointing at the president, when the intern lunged at him to grab his mic.

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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.

“The most dangerous type of fake news and reporting and evidence is when you get into the fine details, the nuanced things that are shaped to present a certain viewpoint or decision or news a certain way,” he said. “It’s not Ai-generated or completely false. It’s something that’s real but has been literally stretched . . . and moulded into weaponized evidence.”

Sanders’ tweet of the edited video, in which she said the White House would “not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented in this video,” has at least 20,000 retweets and more than 2 million views. Watson’s video, posted two hours before, has been seen at least 740,000 times.

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

The White House Correspondents Association released a statement Wednesday saying it “strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use U.S. Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship. Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offence and is unacceptable.”

During the White House news conference, Acosta and Trump sparred over a question of whether Trump had “demonized immigrants” by calling a caravan of Central American migrants “an invasion.” Following a lengthy back-and-forth, a White House intern tried to take the microphone from Acosta, who held onto it. “Pardon me, ma’am,” Acosta said in the original video, though the audio was stripped from the edited version.

“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American,” CNN tweeted after the exchange. “While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”

On Wednesday night, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” and said his press credentials would be suspended “until further notice.” Press advocates called the move an unprecedented retaliation against a journalist.

“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American,” CNN tweeted after the exchange. “While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”

The seconds-long interaction has been analyzed in excruciating detail and likened to a 21st-century “Zapruder film,” the closely scrutinized amateur video of late President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. On social media, it has quickly become an object of massive ideological division, in which the same scene is open to very different interpretations.

“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them,” the president said to Acosta. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. The way you treat Sarah Sanders is horrible. The way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”

CNN Reporter Jim Acostas White House Press Pass Suspended After Argument With Trump

Watson wrote on Infowars that Acosta “clearly uses his left arm to physically resist/restrain the woman,” and that he “overpowered her.” Infowars, whose bizarre conspiracy theories include the baseless claim that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, was banned this year by Facebook, Google and Twitter for sharing offensive or threatening content.

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In another video of the encounter tweeted by Sarah Burris, an editor at the left-leaning political blog Raw Story, the footage has been slowed down and annotated to show the four times the White House intern touches Acosta while trying to take the microphone. It has been viewed more than 1 million times.

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 U.S. 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.

The White House Correspondents' Association is denouncing the decision to bar Acosta, calling it unacceptable and disproportionate to the purported offence.

Jim Acosta row: White House shared manipulated footage of CNN altercation and heres the proof

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 speeded up or altered so as to distort the action.

Trump war on media takes tense turn with CNN reporter banned

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 — long seen as an unassailable verification tool for truth and confirmation — has become as vulnerable to political distortion as anything else.

The CNN reporter's credentials were pulled Wednesday after his testy news-conference exchange with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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.

In the video Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson can be seen following the modern political disinformation playbook — avoiding personally claiming the incident constituted an assault while repeatedly showing manipulated, slowed down footage, stripped of its audio, to make it look like an assault — all the while suggestively reframing what happened to whip up hyperpartisan sentiment (‘what if this had been a conservative reporter ranting at Obama’ etc) in order to manipulate his audience to side with the president against CNN. 

“The most dangerous type of fake news and reporting and evidence is when you get into the fine details, the nuanced things that are shaped to present a certain viewpoint or decision or news a certain way,” he said. “It’s not Ai-generated or completely false. It’s something that’s real but has been literally stretched . . . and moulded into weaponized evidence.”

But what is new is that three hours after Sanders issued her series of tweets accusing Acosta of inappropriately placing his hands on a young woman, the White House press secretary tweeted again — this time appearing to share the exact same doctored video that had been shared earlier by Watson, as he worked to put the Infowars’ divisive alternative spin on reality.

Sarah Sanders shares fake Infowars video to justify banning CNNs Jim Acosta

Sanders’ tweet of the edited video, in which she said the White House would “not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented in this video,” has at least 20,000 retweets and more than 2 million views. Watson’s video, posted two hours before, has been seen at least 740,000 times.

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

During the White House news conference, Acosta and Trump sparred over a question of whether Trump had “demonized immigrants” by calling a caravan of Central American migrants “an invasion.” Following a lengthy back-and-forth, a White House intern tried to take the microphone from Acosta, who held onto it. “Pardon me, ma’am,” Acosta said in the original video, though the audio was stripped from the edited version.

On Wednesday night, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” and said his press credentials would be suspended “until further notice.” Press advocates called the move an unprecedented retaliation against a journalist.

The journalist dodged and then blocked several attempts to take the microphone by using his arm and the side of his hand against the intern’s arm, addressing her with “pardon me ma’am” as he did so, and indicating that he was trying to ask Trump another question.

The seconds-long interaction has been analyzed in excruciating detail and likened to a 21st-century “Zapruder film,” the closely scrutinized amateur video of late President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. On social media, it has quickly become an object of massive ideological division, in which the same scene is open to very different interpretations.

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Watson wrote on Infowars that Acosta “clearly uses his left arm to physically resist/restrain the woman,” and that he “overpowered her.” Infowars, whose bizarre conspiracy theories include the baseless claim that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, was banned this year by Facebook, Google and Twitter for sharing offensive or threatening content.

In another video of the encounter tweeted by Sarah Burris, an editor at the left-leaning political blog Raw Story, the footage has been slowed down and annotated to show the four times the White House intern touches Acosta while trying to take the microphone. It has been viewed more than 1 million times.