A video distributed by the Trump administration to support its argument for banning CNN reporter Jim Acosta from the White House appears to have been doctored to make Acosta look more aggressive than he was during an exchange with a White House intern, an independent expert said Thursday.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted the video, which shows Acosta asking President Donald Trump a question on Wednesday as the intern tries to take his microphone away. 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 alteration is "too precise to be an accident," said Shapiro, who trains instructors to use video editing software.
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.
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."
CNN has labeled Sanders' characterization of Acosta's exchange with the intern as a lie. Its position has been supported by witnesses including Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who was next to Acosta during the news conference and tweeted that he did not see Acosta place his hands on the White House employee. Rather, he said he saw him holding on to the microphone as she reached for it.
"The irony of this White House video involving Jim Acosta is that if it is found to be doctored, it will show the administration to be doing what it accuses the news media of doing — engaging in fake information," said Aly Colon, a professor in journalism ethics at Washington & Lee University.
Several journalists and organizations — including the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Online News Association — demanded Acosta's press pass be reinstated.
"It is the essential function of a free press in every democracy to independently gather and report information in the public interest, a right that is enshrined in the First Amendment," said Julie Pace, AP's Washington bureau chief. "We strongly reject the idea that any administration would block a journalist's access to the White House."
The New York Times editorialized in favor of restoring Acosta's pass, saying it signaled Trump's view that asking hard questions disqualifies reporters from attending briefings. The newspaper said that if Sanders was so offended by physical contact, "what did she have to say when her boss praised as 'my kind of guy' Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, who was sentenced to anger management classes and community service for body-slamming a Guardian reporter last spring?"
CNN has been a frequent target of the president, who has characterized journalists as enemies of the people and who routinely accuses the mainstream media of spreading "fake news." And Acosta has been one of the more visible thorns in the side of the White House. During their verbal altercation on Wednesday, Trump called Acosta a "terrible person."
Still, it's rare for the White House to pull the so-called hard passes from journalists.
During Lyndon Johnson's presidency, the Secret Service denied clearance to Robert Sherrill, a reporter for The Nation who had gotten into physical fights with government officials. During the George W. Bush presidency, Trude Feldman, who worked for various news outlets, was suspended for 90 days after security cameras recorded her looking through a press aide's desk late one night. In the 1970s, President Nixon tried to get Washington Post reporters banned from the White House.
Despite losing his White House pass, Acosta is expected to travel to Paris this weekend to cover Trump's trip to meet with world leaders.
Calvin Woodward reported from Washington. Associated Press journalists Jill Colvin, Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller, Tami Abdollah, Padmananda Rama and Deb Reichmann contributed from Washington.
Director ‘an idiot’ for flashing at stars including Cameron Diaz
Green Book director Peter Farrelly has apologised and called himself an “idiot” after a story emerge..
Green Book director Peter Farrelly has apologised and called himself an "idiot" after a story emerged in which stars told how he liked to flash his genitals as a joke.
New York Magazine's The Cut published excerpts of a story which ran in Newsweek in 1998, which said Farrelly and his brother and frequent film-making partner Bobby Farrelly would "prank" colleagues.
The Farrelly brothers are best known for comedies including Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal, Kingpin and There's Something About Mary.
Those who spoke to Newsweek about being tricked included film executive Tom Rothman and actress Cameron Diaz, who was starring in There's Something About Mary at the time.
Both treated the incidents as a prank, The Cut article notes.
Peter Farrelly has had something of a reinvention with last year's Green Book, a comedy-drama about racism set in the Deep South in the 1960s, which he directed on his own.
The film stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen as a black concert pianist and his Italian-American driver who become unlikely friends, and won a Golden Globe at the weekend for best musical or comedy film, as well as the awards for best supporting actor for Ali and best screenplay.
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Following The Cut's article, Farrelly issued a statement through his publicists saying the stories were true.
"I was an idiot," he said. "I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I'm embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I'm deeply sorry."(more…)
Gary Oldman surprises fans as he narrates David Bowie app on late singers birthday
He was good friends with the late singer so it only makes sense that Gary Oldman features on the new David Bowie app.
To coincide with what would have been Bowies 72nd birthday and third death anniversary, the David Bowie Is app arrived earlier this week giving fans an interactive exhibition into the life and stellar career of the iconic British singer, who died on 10 January 2016.
Fans can navigate their way through hundreds of Bowies earliest stage outfits, videos, handwritten lyrics and diary entries in 360-degree detail. Its a digital adaptation of the critically-acclaimed V&A Museum exhibition, which launched in 2013 and toured around the world before closing last summer.
But perhaps one of the top highlights is Oldman narrating a visual of Bowies 1974 Diamond Dogs Tour. In his voiceover, the Oscar-winning actor says the tour featured contemporary music and theatre several years ahead of its time and a stellar lineup of theatrical collaborators quite unlike that of any previous rock tour.
The historic tour boasted a dystopian cityscape theme, inspired by George Orwells classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
On his involvement with the project, Oldman said in a statement: This brings the amazing David Bowie Is exhibition to a wider audience. Its great that his fans get to experience it. It was a privilege to be involved.
Oldman, 60, was known to have an especially close friendship with Bowie and made a cameo in the late singers 2013 music video for The Next Day. The pair also starred together in the 1996 movie Basquiat. (more…)
As Lady Gaga apologises for working with R Kelly, all the stars who have spoken out against him
The allegations of sexual abuse against R Kelly have been brought into the spotlight again by the Li..
The allegations of sexual abuse against R Kelly have been brought into the spotlight again by the Lifetime docu-series Surviving R Kelly.
Fresh investigations into the Ignition singer have been launched in Chicago and Atlanta into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against him by a number of women.
The 52-year-old is accused of holding five women in a sex cult, as well as having sexual contact with girls as young as 14. R Kelly has strongly denied these allegations.
While the attention on the allegations has ramped up since the airing of Surviving R Kelly, rumours have been rampant since the 90s, when the singer allegedly married Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was 27.
In light of the documentary, Lady Gaga – who collaborated with R Kelly on the 2013 song Do What You Want – has apologised for working with the R&B star.
In a note on social media, Gaga wrote: As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made both the song and the video at a dark time in my life, my intention was to create something extremely defiant and provocative because I was angry and still hadnt processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life.
The song is called “Do What U Want (With My Body),” I think its clear how explicitly twisted my thinking was at the time. If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self Id tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in—or if therapy was not available to me or anyone in my situation—to seek help, and speak as openly and honestly as possible about what weve been through.
I cant go back but I can go forward and continue to support women, men and people of all seuxal identities and of all races who are victims of sexual assault. I have demonstrated my stance on this issue and others many times throughout my career. (more…)
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