I would have liked it if publications like The Hill and Huffpo didn’t use the word “accuse” in their headlines about Sarah Sanders sharing a doctored video to promote the lie about Jim Acosta “placing his hands on a young woman”. The video is definitely doctored and she definitely shared it. Since when do we say someone is “accused” of tweeting something that she tweeted?
The Washington Post has a good side-by-side so you can see how the video was altered (along with a good suggestion about how this should be handled).
And the Independent nailed it:
Many social media users accused Ms Sanders of posting footage which sped up the contact to make Mr Acosta’s movement appear more aggressive.
But according to analysis by The Independent, the video instead appears to have been doctored to freeze for three frames the moment before Mr Acosta’s hand pushes down on the aide’s arm.
Sure, they used the word “accused” but only to differentiate the assumed method by which the video was doctored with the actual method. That the video was doctored is not in question.
And The Independent’s analysis is right. If you stop the video and use your mouse to slowly slide back and fourth at around time 0:14, you will see where the frame freezes for a moment. After the frozen part there is a jump to the next frame, and there it looks like Acosta made a chopping motion when what really happened was his arm brushed against hers.
Word of this malfeasance is spreading throughout social media, but I don’t think enough people are saying “Holy Shit!”. I’m saying “Holy Shit!” for two reasons.
First, The nation’s highest office is using doctored evidence to support a lie, and using that lie to justify action against a reporter. Think about all those “lock her up” rallies and how close we are to becoming the kind of nation that locks up the political opposition. Well I think we just got a lot closer.
Second, video technology is scary. Today it’s a cheesy alteration that several entities were able to point out. Tomorrow it could be advanced computer aided editing that’s not so easily discerned.
We’re not going to be able to tell truth from fiction by ourselves. We need people who have dedicated their lives – and in many cased risked and sacrificed their lives – to bring us the truth.
We need to protect our press.