White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders shared an allegedly doctored video on Twitter Wednesday while announcing the suspension of CNN's Jim Acosta over the microphone-grab incident with a White House staffer.
Between the lines: It’s possible the White House and Sanders didn’t realize it was doctored footage when sharing the video — and thought it was just edited to show the exchange in slow motion. But it's clear that the edits editorialize the incident to make Acosta look more aggressive.
Details: The White House is arguing that Acosta inappropriately placed his hand on the young woman who tried to take the microphone from him after President Trump told him to stop asking a question. The video tweeted by Sanders used an edited video, while raw video of the incident shows the intern reaching for his microphone and their arms crossing, followed by Acosta politely saying, "Pardon me ma'am."
- CNN said in a statement that the revocation of Acosta's pass "was done in retaliation for his challenging questions. ... In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened."
- Sarah Sanders tweeted on Wednesday that the White House will "never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job...The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it's an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration."
- Sanders doubled down on Thursday, saying in a statement per the White House press pool: "The question is: did the reporter make contact or not? The video is clear, he did. We stand by our statement."
Our thought bubble: It's been part of the White House’s communication strategy to bend reality when criticized. The White House and its surrogates quickly tweet out their point of view, relying on right-wing outlets and personalities to provide viral memes or video to accompany it in order to help their arguments go viral.
The raw video of the incident:
The video tweeted by Sanders:
A side-by-side comparison of the videos, via Slate's Aymann Ismail: