The two-year feud between Donald Trump and CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta finally boiled over on Monday night. The White House indefinitely suspended Acosta’s press credential after it claimed Acosta “put his hands” on a female intern who tried to take the mic away from Acosta during a heated exchange with Trump during one of his rare press conferences.
The White House has been relentlessly pilloried for this unprecedented decision. Much of the criticism centers around what appears to be overwhelming evidence that the White House manipulated the evidence that it has used to justify this heavy-handed response–a video Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that appeared to show Acosta pushing the intern’s hand away.
However, several video experts who analyzed the video concluded that it had likely been manipulated to make Acosta’s reaction more aggressive than it really was. Even more tellingly, it looks like the video Sanders and the White House cite as “evidence” was originally created by Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars.
You know what the response was going to be from Trump diehards: “What if it had been Obama?” And like clockwork, the rabidly pro-Trump news site Conservative Tribune did just that on Friday. It claimed that Trump actually treated Acosta far more kindly than Obama treated at least two hecklers at his events.
Back in 2012, Obama was holding a press conference in the Rose Garden to announce the DACA program when Neil Munro of The Daily Caller famously interrupted him. Watch here.
Obama barely began his remarks when Munro jumped in with questions. Obama wasted little time cutting him off. To Conservative Tribune, it was rather interesting that many of the mainstream outlets who decried Trump’s treatment of Acosta derided Munro as a “heckler” six years earlier.
But Munro got off a lot better than transgender activist Jennicet Gutierrez did three years later. Gutierrez famously cut off Obama’s remarks at a dinner honoring the LGBT community’s achievements in 2014. Watch the exchange here.
When Gutierrez demanded that Obama stop deporting LGBT immigrants, Obama sharply told her, “You’re in my house,” and had her escorted out. The message from Conservative Tribune was obvious–Acosta was very lucky he wasn’t hustled out the door as well.
Apparently the folks at Conservative Tribune would like us to ignore the 500-pound gorilla in the room. Let’s say it nice and slow–the Trump White House is using a video that was almost certainly doctored in order to support yanking a reporter’s press credentials.
Abba Shapiro, a video production trainer who examined the video released by Sanders at the request of the Associated Press, concluded that the video had been deliberately manipulated. Watch his analysis here.
Shapiro did a frame-by-frame analysis of the Sanders video alongside the AP’s footage of the exchange between Trump and Acosta. He noticed that the video Sanders released appeared to have slowed down and paused before the intern reached for the mic, then sped up to make Acosta’s attempt to shield the mic look aggressive. He believed that the differences between the video released by Sanders and the AP video were “too precise to be an accident.”
Imagine if the Obama White House’s video team had used canned noise for the 2012 and 2015 incidents to make Munro and Gutierrez sound more disruptive than they really were. No matter how unwelcome the heckling may have been, Obama would have rightly been pilloried for manipulating the video in this way–just as Trump is being pilloried here.
But Conservative Tribune apparently doesn’t want us to know that. They simply couldn’t miss another chance to wail about how the big, bad fake news media is out to destroy Trump at all costs. The real problem is that Trump and his White House minions are literally using fake news to justify their continued war on the media.
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