Kellyanne Conway doesn’t think the controversial video shared by the White House of CNN reporter Jim Acosta refusing to let go of the microphone during President Trump’s news conference last week was altered. The widely criticized clip was merely “sped up,” she said Sunday.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, the White House counselor known for coining the term “alternative facts” was trying to defend the administration’s decision to promote a video experts say was edited to make Acosta’s actions toward a White House intern seem more aggressive than they were. The video, which at first looks authentic, shows Acosta’s arm swiftly coming down on the arm of the young female aide who is trying to take the microphone from him. Missing from the seconds-long clip is Acosta saying, “Pardon me, ma’am,” as he maintains a firm grip on the microphone and continues peppering Trump with questions.
Wallace asked Conway on Sunday about the White House’s responses to what he described as the “now infamous confrontation” that disrupted Trump’s post-midterms news conference. Wallace specifically made reference to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeting the video that was “clearly altered to make it look like it was more of a physical confrontation” and the decision to yank Acosta’s White House press credentials.
Asking for clarification about what Wallace meant by “edited, or as others are saying, quote, ‘doctored’ video,” Conway said it was clear Acosta “put his hands on [the intern] and grabbed the mic back.”
Wallace, who last week slammed Acosta for his “embarrassing” behavior during the news conference, agreed with Conway that the CNN reporter did make physical contact with the intern while the pair tussled over the microphone. But Wallace continued to push Conway about the fact that experts confirmed that the clip — believed to have first been shared by a contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars — was altered.
“But by that do you mean sped up?” Conway asked in response. “Oh, well that’s not altered. That’s sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown.”
She continued: “I have to disagree with the overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else’s arm in there.”
Acosta, she said, should have apologized to the intern, adding, “as far as I know he has not.”
Conway’s defense of the video drew instant ridicule on social media, with many pointing out that speeding up the clip qualifies as “altering.”
“That’s what altered means,” tweeted author Molly Jong-Fast.
Another Twitter user wrote, “'Sped up' literally means ‘altered to increase speed’. So yes, the video *was* altered.”
Experts who analyzed the clip say the video was sped up and included repeated frames that did not exist in the original footage, reported The Post’s Drew Harwell. The repeated frames, which were seen only at the moment Acosta’s arm made contact with the intern’s, appeared to distort and exaggerate his movement, Shane Raymond, a journalist at Storyful, a global social media intelligence agency, told Harwell.
Critics also took issue with Conway’s confused claim that people in sports media speed up clips when they need to review close plays. In reality, the exact opposite is done.
Speeding up video footage, one Twitter user quipped, is only ever helpful when “showing how seeds germinate.”
But there are some instances in which sports videos are sped up. Daily Beast reporter Matt Wilstein tweeted that the editing technique comes in handy with highlight reels.
“It’s ‘sped up’ in highlight reels to make things look more dramatic and violent than they actually were,” Wilstein wrote.
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