We've Watched the 'Doctored' Acosta Video, and Liberals Won't Like What We Found


So our generation now has our Zapruder tape, a piece of video we can argue endlessly over. This time, there’s no “back and to the left”-style theatrics, however. It all hinges upon whether or not the White House sped up a “chop” delivered to a female White House intern who was trying to take a microphone away from him.

As readers are no doubt aware of, the Secret Service has revoked Jim Acosta’s “hard pass” to the White House after a testy exchange with the president and an altercation with a female intern who tried to take the microphone away from him after the president called on another reporter.

“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter. “We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question.”

As a personal interjection here, I don’t think this should have been the approach the White House should have taken when they suspended Acosta’s hard pass. Acosta has repeatedly turned pressers into self-aggrandizement sessions and openly sulked when he wasn’t called upon, as if the spotlight were somehow his God-given right as a human being.

In this case, he’d kept on asking questions after another reporter had been called on and then physically stopped an intern from taking the microphone away from him because he’s Jim Acosta. If the left were all about stopping entitled males, they could start far worse places than Acostaville.

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But, all right, let’s say that the physical altercation — as opposed to his behavior in toto — was the real reason Acosta got his pass revoked. There’s a new claim from the left that supposedly vindicates Acosta: that video of the incident posted by Sanders was altered by either the White House or (yep, them again) Infowars.

Now, let’s be clear on this: If the White House sent out altered clip of the incident instead of the raw video, it’s a serious lapse in judgment. If they altered the clip themselves, there are people who need to be cleaning out offices in the West Wing posthaste. However, as it relates to Acosta’s pass getting yanked, we’d argue any alteration in the video, and how it compares to the original, constitutes a distinction without a difference.

Here’s the original video the White House press secretary sent out:

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In what must be the understatement of the day, The Hill reported that “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.” The media’s latched onto the narrative in a manner that seemed almost coordinated, arguing these videos exonerate Acosta.

Here’s one of the more in-depth looks at Acostagate from Slate’s Aymann Ismail:

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This is the kind of thing you usually see on the History Channel with some crank noting talking about how frame 164-B clearly shows the presidential limo approaching Dealey Plaza at a faster speed than it does in the rest of the Zapruder film, and therefore the CIA and Sam Giancana killed Kennedy. I should be nicer, because I have some respect for Aymann Ismail’s standards, if (definitely) not his politics, but I digress.

So, what did you take away from this? My editor swears he sees several frames dropped, but after Acosta made contact. I see the “chop” happening a little faster than it did in the original, but not by much and I’m half-convinced it’s the power of suggestion. Either way, the insignificance seems overwhelming.

There are several things that aren’t in question no matter what your interpretation of the video is. Jim Acosta asked a question. It was answered, albeit testily. He then tried to ask another question. The president, who was running the press conference, had called on another reporter, as he is wont and enabled to do.

A female intern, tasked with taking the microphone away from those who weren’t following the rules, tried to do just that. Acosta, believing this was not a press conference but “The Jim Acosta Show, Live from 1600 Pennsylvania,” decided he was going to filibuster. To that end, he physically pushed the female intern — who was merely doing her job — away.

If the clip’s been changed — by the White House, Paul Joseph Watson, Bigfoot or any other entity — that doesn’t materially change the encounter. The media’s unanimous belief that this vindicates Acosta is entirely false. If you push a female intern away so that you can keep the microphone at a press conference at which you’ve been told to surrender said microphone, does it matter whether you did it faster or slower? Does it matter whether she tried to take the microphone from you before you chopped her or after? How is this debate in any way exculpatory?

If the video was changed, we should still discover who changed it and hold them extremely, extremely accountable. If it were the White House, it would be so boneheaded to defy belief — which is why I tend to think they weren’t behind it. If it was them, it’s reprehensible. As for whether it involved Alex Jones’ people — well, Infowars gonna Infowars. I can’t speak for them. If either entity (or anyone else) did it, what a waste of time. In the supposedly unaltered video, Jim Acosta still looks like he’s engaging in behavior that should get his (or anyone’s) press pass revoked. By trying to make it look “worse,” they only made a bad man look better.

Either way, this has not a whit to do with freedom of the press, and let’s please not pretend it does. If CNN cannot pick a White House correspondent who can be trusted not to behave like a minatory version of Ted Baxter at press conferences, that decision must regrettably be made for them.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture