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 Donald 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 actually 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 questions.
Conway was asked by Wallace 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 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.”
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) November 11, 2018
Conway’s defense of the video drew instant ridicule on social media, with many pointing out that speeding the clip up qualifies as “altering.”
“That’s what altered means,” tweeted author Molly Jong-Fast.
That’s what altered means. https://t.co/caYdIKJI12
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) November 11, 2018
Another Twitter user wrote, “‘Sped up’ literally means ‘altered to increase speed’. So yes, the video was altered.”
Kellyanne Conway said the Acosta footage "wasn't altered, it's sped up," which is like saying she doesn't lie, she just slows down the truth.
— Frank Lesser (@sadmonsters) November 11, 2018
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 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.
The amazing defense offered by @KellyannePolls to the doctored video sent out by @PressSec was “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.”
Was it a 1st down? Let’s speed up the video to find out!
— Bill Prady (@billprady) November 11, 2018
Is she talking about slow motion replays to see if a touchdown is scored? Kind of the exact opposite of speeding up the video. Why is this whole Trump crew not the sharpest around. ??♂️
— Mike (@MikeHirsch3) November 11, 2018
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.