The Truth About The Acosta Video
In an attempt to discredit Paul Joseph Watson and the Trump White House and to make themselves look like victims of Trump's war on media, journalists have discredited themselves. Of course, there will always be idiots who believe everything mainstream journalists say when they put words like expert into their headlines, but for the rest of us, mainstream journalists have obliterated whatever credibility they had left by trying to convince us that a certain video was doctored when it clearly wasn't.
Even leftist bloggers at Vice and Buzzfeed have turned to real forensic and video experts to honestly claim that there is no evidence the Jim Acosta video tweeted by Trump's press secretary was doctored. It's astonishing that anyone even had to turn to "experts" to prove what our own eyes can clearly tell us. This whole debacle reminds me of the Blue Dress and Laurel/Yanny debates, which ended up only having one right answer. Just like those absurd tricks of the eyes and ears, this whole debate has only one answer: the video is not doctored.
Unlike the Blue Dress and Laurel/Yanny debates, this whole debacle is more serious than most want to admit. We have several mainstream journalists and Trump opponents working simultaneously to mislead us.
This is serious.
But a frame-by-frame comparison with an Associated Press video of the same incident shows that the one tweeted by Sanders appears to have been altered to speed up Acosta’s arm movement as he touches the intern’s arm, according to Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer who examined the footage at AP’s request. Earlier, Shapiro noticed that frames in the tweeted video were frozen to slow down the action, allowing it to run the same length as the AP one. The tweeted video also does not have any audio, which Shapiro said would make it easier to alter. It’s also unlikely the differences could be explained by technical glitches or by video compression — a reduction in a video’s size to enable it to play more smoothly on some sites — because the slowing of the video and the acceleration that followed are “too precise to be an accident,” said Shapiro, who trains instructors to use video editing software.Sanders, who hasn’t said where the tweeted video came from, noted that it clearly shows Acosta made contact with the intern. In her statement announcing Acosta’s suspension, she said the White House won’t tolerate “a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.” While the origin of the manipulated video is unclear, its distribution marked a new low for an administration that has been criticized for its willingness to mislead. The White House News Photographers Association decried the sharing of the footage. “As visual journalists, we know that manipulating images is manipulating truth,” said Whitney Shefte, the association’s president. “It’s deceptive, dangerous and unethical. Knowingly sharing manipulated images is equally problematic, particularly when the person sharing them is a representative of our country’s highest office with vast influence over public opinion.”
But Hany Farid, who studies digital forensics, human perception, and image analysis at the University of California, Berkeley, told Motherboard that he does not think the video was doctored. Though he agreed that the entire video was, of course, slowed down and zoomed in to focus on the moment of physical contact, he does not see any evidence to suggest that it was selectively edited to exaggerate Acosta’s motion.
“From my review of the various videos of the press conference, I believe that the video tweeted by the Press Secretary is misleading but I don’t see unambiguous evidence that it has been doctored,” Farid told Motherboard via email. “A combination of a reduction in the quality of the video, a slowing-down of the video, and the particular vantage point of the CSPAN video gives the appearance that there was more contact between the reporter and the intern than there probably was. In particular, if you look at original, higher-quality videos from other vantage points you can more clearly see that while there was some contact between the reporter and intern, he did not strike her as his hand comes down.”