Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News Sunday this morning with more of her patented alternative facts. This time, the White House aide was discussing video the administration shared of the interaction between CNN reporter Jim Acosta and a White House press intern who tried to take a mic away from him during a combative exchange with the president, footage experts have confirmed was altered to speed up the motion of Acosta’s arm.
Host Chris Wallace broached the subject of the now-infamous confrontation first: “I want to ask you about two responses by the White House. First, to tweet a video that was clearly altered to make it look like it was more of a physical confrontation that it really was… And second, to pull Acosta’s pass to get into the White House and to threaten to do that to other reporters.”
“Well, Chris, first of all,” Conway responded, “What do you mean by edited, or as others are saying, ‘doctored video?’ He either put his hands on her and grabbed the mic back or he did not, and he clearly did.”
“The video was altered, and there are experts who have looked at it,” Wallace said.
This is where Conway went into ultimate spin mode.
“By that do you mean sped up? Oh, well that’s not altered, that’s sped up,” she said. “They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown, so I have to disagree with the, I think, overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else’s arm in there.”
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) November 11, 2018
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, let’s consult the dictionary for a definition of “altered.” To alter something means “to make different in some particular, as size, style, course, or the like; modify.” Speeding up a video sure seems to fall under that definition.
Second, sports. It’s blatantly untrue that sports broadcasters speed up footage to show where the ball should be marked or a touchdown. If anything they slow the footage to see it more clearly. But, apparently, in Kellyanne’s world, where up is down, black is white and cats and dogs are besties, sports broadcasts actually speed up plays that they are trying to analyze.
Third, no one is saying they “put somebody else’s arm” in the video. It’s a strawman argument, one of Conway’s favorite tactics.
The exchange between Acosta and the intern, fueled by the White Houses’s mischaracterization of the interaction, has become such a cultural talking point it was parodied on Saturday Night Live, with Cecily Strong playing the determined intern trying to take the mic from Weekend Update host Colin Jost.