The White House is accused of using a video of CNN’s Jim Acosta doctored by the conspiracy-theory outlet Infowars as justification for suspending the journalist’s press pass on Wednesday.
Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN, was engaged in a tense exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House when a White House intern walked up and tried to take the microphone away from him. Acosta held on to the microphone and kept trying to question Trump.
Read more: The moment a White House intern confronted CNN correspondent Jim Acosta during a tense exchange with Trump, in 3 photos
Acosta was holding the microphone in his right hand. At one point, the intern reached under Acosta’s left arm to try to grab the microphone, and he appeared to gently block her with his arm. Here is the moment as broadcast live on NBC:
A video shared on Twitter by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, makes Acosta’s movement appear more violent.
Here is the video shared by Sanders:
What appears to be the same video was shared two hours earlier by Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of Infowars.com, a far-right conspiracy outlet whose content has been barred from almost every major tech content distributor, including Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube, generally for violating their policies on hate speech.
The CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter asked Sanders for the source of the video. “Surely you don’t trust InfoWars…?” he said on Twitter.
Other Twitter users showed Sanders’ video side-by-side with the original broadcast to argue the one she posted had been doctored.
The White House suspended Acosta’s press credentials after the press conference, limiting his access to the White House grounds. Sanders said on Twitter that the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” though no video evidence has so far supported that claim.
Acosta called Sanders’ statement “a lie.”
Acosta told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that he did not “put my hands on her or touch her as they’re alleging.”
“It’s unfortunate the White House is saying this,” he said. “I think I handled myself professionally.”
At the press conference, Acosta had been repeatedly challenging the president’s characterization of a Central American migrant caravan as an invasion.
The White House Correspondents’ Association condemned the suspension of Acosta’s credentials, saying the White House should “immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.