After CNN’s Jim Acosta put his hands on a White House intern during Wednesday’s press briefing, the mainstream press engaged in a spin campaign in an attempt to clear Acosta of his inappropriate behavior.
When Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a video from InfoWars‘ Paul Joseph Watson that zoomed in on Acosta fending off the intern, and played the exchange on a loop, the press lost its collective mind, and falsely claimed that the video was “manipulated.”
But Thursday, an independent forensic analyst from the University of California Berkeley confirmed for Motherboard, a site that is not exactly a bastion of conservatism, that the video was not doctored. That, of course, means that the press was wrong in its assertion, a position with which they are familiar.
“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,” Han Farid said, according to the report.
With that in mind, here is a roundup of the fake news perpetrators:
- CNN – “Moreover, [the video] did not accurately portray what happened — it appears to show Acosta’s arm moving in a downward motion towards the intern’s faster than it actually did,” CNN said after trashing InfoWars.
- Washington Post – “Critics said that video — which sped up the movement of Acosta’s arms in a way that dramatically changed the journalist’s response — was deceptively edited to score political points,” Jeff Bezos’ blog claimed. Of course, those “critics” remained unnamed.
- TechCrunch – “In the video Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson can be seen following the modern political disinformation playbook — avoiding personally claiming the incident constituted an assault while repeatedly showing manipulated, slowed down footage, stripped of its audio, to make it look like an assault — all the while suggestively reframing what happened to whip up hyperpartisan sentiment (‘what if this had been a conservative reporter ranting at Obama’ etc) in order to manipulate his audience to side with the president against CNN,” the outlet said.
- Vox – “Looking back at the video, it does not in fact show Acosta “placing his hands” on the woman. But about 90 minutes after she posted her string of tweets, Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson tweeted out a video of the incident that was doctored to make it look like Acosta chopped the woman’s arm with his hand,” the leftist blog said.
- New York Times – “The Trump administration relied on a misleadingly edited video from a contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars to help justify removing the credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, a striking escalation in President Trump’s broadsides against the press,” the Times falsely claimed.
- NBC – “Hours after the press conference concluded, Sanders said Acosta’s “hard pass” had been suspended as a result of the incident, saying that the journalist put “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern” — a claim that doesn’t appear to be supported by original live video of the incident,” NBC said.
Many other mainstream press outlets reported wrongly that video was doctored, including Fortune, San Francisco Chronicle, and supposed arbiter of truth Snopes.
“Other journalists sitting near where Acosta was standing denied the incident unfolded in the manner characterized by Sanders and Infowars,” Snopes said, spreading the fake news.
Big League Politics reached out to Snopes founder David Mikkelson to see if he would retract the story in the interest of the truth, and whether the site planned on “fact-checking” any of the mainstream press outlets.
Mikkelson did not immediately return a request for comment.
2:34pm ET update:
Mikkelson responded to Big League Politics’ comment request, saying, “We didn’t publish an article of the nature you describe. Perhaps you have mistaken us for some other publication that did.”
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CNN Host Admits He Was “Snookered” By Avenatti After Felony Extortion Conviction
Mainstream media outlets like CNN were instrumental in making Avenatti a political celebrity.
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin admitted he felt “snookered” by disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti after the former political celebrity’s felony conviction for extortion on Friday night.
Toobin struck a penitent tone for his own network’s role in promoting the now-convicted felon. Avenatti was a regular on liberal mainstream media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC throughout 2018, frequently boasting of outlandish lawsuits that were set to finally take down President Trump.
In hindsight, after the “creepy porn lawyer’s” dramatic rise and fall, CNN is largely left with egg on their face for ever having taken him seriously. Toobin admitted this in the segment, showing more reflection than many of his mainstream media colleagues are inclined to undergo.
“I feel kind of snookered, because I took him seriously.”
Avenatti has been convicted for a scheme to extort tens of millions of dollars from sporting company Nike. He faces up to decades in prison in upcoming sentencing proceedings, and is currently housed in solitary in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. He’s also set to face even more criminal charges in California, related to accusations he stole lawsuit rewards from his legal clients.
Avenatti’s rise and fall from cable news darling and pugnacious anti-Trump “fighter” to disgraced felon facing a possible life sentence is about as dramatic an arc one could expect to see a public figure undergo.
CNN and MSNBC now face some serious sole searching for their role in promoting the fraud, having taken his boisterous claims at face value for almost a year and even implicitly promoting his ridiculous presidential admiration. At least Toobin appears willing to admit his role in feeding the CPL’s ambitions.
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