White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is facing accusations that she shared an edited video of the exchange between CNN correspondent Jim Acosta and an administration aide at President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemonstrators gather outside White House to protest Sessions’ ouster Acosta: ‘I didn’t put my hands on’ White House intern White House doubles down on decision to pull press pass from CNN’s Acosta MORE ‘s post-midterm news conference on Wednesday.
Sanders shared the video on her official Twitter account to justify the White House’s decision to revoke Acosta’s press credentials after his tense exchange with Trump.
We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video. pic.twitter.com/T8X1Ng912y
– Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) November 8, 2018
Sanders cited Acosta’s interaction with the press aide as reason for suspending his “hard pass.”
During the press conference, the aide attempted to take a microphone away from Acosta as he questioned Trump, but he refused to let go. Video shows his arm brushing hers in the process.
“We will … never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” Sanders said in the announcement. “This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”
But dozens of social media users, including several reporters and political analysts, said that the video Sanders shared zooms in on the moment of contact, and appears to have been sped up to make the moment appear more aggressive.
Matt Dornic, CNN’s vice president of communications and digital partnerships, said it was “absolutely shameful” for Sanders to share the video.
“History will not be kind to you,” Dornic tweeted.
Absolutely shameful, @PressSec. You released a doctored video – actual fake news. History will not be kind to you. https://t.co/v1w9Lj9TlK
– Matt Dornic (@mdornic) November 8, 2018
This is a video that Infowars made. They sped it up so that it seems more violent than it is. https://t.co/FH1tsGSSaU
– Nicole Goodkind (@NicoleGoodkind) November 8, 2018
lmao they took the video the infowars guy made https://t.co/g8RN9AeCjq https://t.co/gTroL9pl5Y
– Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) November 8, 2018
The White House Press Secretary tweeted a doctored Infowars video, solidifying her position as the most dishonest Press Secretary in history. That is something. https://t.co/rQgJnGfQq1
– Elise Jordan (@Elise_Jordan) November 8, 2018
Here is Sarah Sanders’ tweet pushing the doctored video in support of her lie about @Acosta. What a profound disgrace she is for behaving like this. The logical soul-destroying conclusion to working for Trump, but nevertheless https://t.co/gOpYQVzuVt pic.twitter.com/NO4RvDgGq7
– Mark Follman (@markfollman) November 8, 2018
The White House Press Secretary posts doctored video from #InfoWars, which is banned from virtually every social media network for lying, as justification for revoking @Acosta’s credentials. The video has been sped up from how it actually happened to deceive the viewer. https://t.co/vGRwe0lH8Z
– Ray Steele (@RaySteeleRTV6) November 8, 2018
1) Took @PressSec Sarah Sanders’ video of briefing
2) Tinted red and made transparent over CSPAN video
3) Red motion is when they doctored video speed
4) Sped up to make Jim Acosta’s motion look like a chop
5) I’ve edited video for 15+ years
6) The White House doctored it pic.twitter.com/q6arkYSx0V
– Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) November 8, 2018
Many also noted that the video was first shared by an account linked to InfoWars, the website of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter pointed out this connection, asking: “Surely you don’t trust InfoWars…?”
Question for @PressSec: Where’d you obtain the distorted @Acosta video you posted? InfoWars personality @PrisonPlanet posted the same video two hours before you did. Surely you don’t trust InfoWars…?
– Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 8, 2018
Acosta, who has repeatedly clashed with Sanders and Trump, has denied the White House’s accusations, and said he thought he handled himself “professionally.” The interaction with the press aide came after a verbal clash with Trump, in which the president called Acosta “a rude, terrible person” and said that “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them.”
CNN said that Acosta’s press pass was pulled “in retaliation for his challenging questions” at the news conference.
The Hill has reached out to Sanders for comment.