It is universally understood, at least by everyone in a world governed by facts, that video shared by the White House last week of a confrontational moment between Donald Trump and CNN journalist Jim Acosta was doctored.
The footage was altered to make it appear that Acosta was more physically aggressive than he was during a brief encounter with an unidentified White House intern who tried to take away the microphone Acosta was using while posing a question to the president.
Of course, Donald Trump and his rabid supporters do not inhabit the same plane of fact-based existence, and on Sunday, White House strategist Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox News to once again claim on behalf of the administration that the doctored video was not doctored.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Conway to comment about the White House’s decision “to tweet a video that was clearly altered to make it look like it was more of a physical confrontation than it really was.” He disclosed that he himself believed Acosta’s actions to be inappropriate.
Conway, in keeping with her usual modus operandi, took exception with absolute truth.
“Well Chris, first of all what do you mean by edited or, as others are saying, ‘doctored’ video?,” she asked. “He either put his hands on her and grabbed the mic back or he did not, and he clearly did.”
Nobody, including Acosta himself, disputes there was contact between the White House intern as she reached for the mic held by the reporter.
But the doctored video, shared by Infowars and then disseminated by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, zooms in on Acosta’s hand and then speeds up the footage to make it appear as though Acosta was hitting the staffer’s arm with force.
Wallace conveyed as much to Conway.
“No he clearly did, but the video was altered — and there are experts who have looked at it — to make it look sped up.”
“Oh, well that’s not altered, that’s sped up,” said Conway of the altered video, somehow managing to keep a straight face. The dictionary definition of the word “altered” is to be “made different in some way.”
As if her absurd distinction wasn’t farcical enough, Conway then equated the doctored clip with video replay in football.
“They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown,” she told Wallace. “I have to disagree with the overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else’s arm in there.”
Altering the speed of a video replay — in sports, filmmaking, or anywhere else — is done with precisely one purpose: to add a heightened sense of drama or excitement or tension to an otherwise fleeting moment. It is, by definition, not an accurate representation of reality.
Even her assertion that video replay in football is used to accurately determine the validity of a touchdown catch is laughable.