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The edited video looks authentic: Acosta appeared to swiftly chop
down on the arm of an aide as he held onto a microphone while
questioning President Trump. But in the original video, Acosta's arm
appears to move only as a response to a tussle for the microphone. His
statement, "Pardon me, ma'am," is not included in the video Sanders
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. That edited video was
first shared by Paul Joseph Watson, known for his conspiracy theory
videos on the far right website Infowars.
Watson said he did not change the speed of the video and that claims
he had altered it were a "brazen lie." Watson, who did not immediately
respond to requests for comment, told BuzzFeed he created the video by
downloading an animated image from conservative news site Daily Wire,
zooming in and saving it as a video a conversion he says could have
made it "look a tiny bit different."
Side by side comparisons support claims from fact checkers and
experts such as Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center
for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, who argued that crucial
parts of the video appear to have been altered so as to distort the
A frame by frame breakdown by Storyful, a social media intelligence
firm that verifies media content, found that the edited video included
repeated frames that did not appear in the original footage. The
repeated frames were shown only at the moment of contact and made
Acosta's arm movement look more exaggerated, said Shane Raymond, a
journalist at Storyful.