Let’s go to the Replay

Welcome to a world where politics has become sports entertainment, complete with instant replays: People Are Arguing About Whether This Trump Press Conference Video Is Doctored

A viral clip showing a confrontation between CNN reporter Jim Acosta and a White House aide at a Wednesday press conference with President Trump has provided us with a handy example of the coming video manipulation dystopia.

The video, tweeted by Paul Joseph Watson, an editor of the conspiracy site Infowars, purports to show that Acosta touched the aide as she tried to take a microphone away from Acosta.

Here’s the most frustrating part:

The video clip was picked up and tweeted by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as proof that Acosta “put his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.”

Sped up in practice, even if not deliberately.

There’s no evidence that the video was deliberately sped up — the change in format, from a high-quality video to a low-quality GIF, turns the question of whether it was “doctored” into a semantic debate.

This video analysis by BuzzFeed News demonstrates what the GIF conversion process does to video. While it’s not technically “sped up” by intent, it effectively is in practice.

It is worrying to think of the coming era of video manipulation, but, whether it was sped up or not is almost besides the point. We know from years of sports rivalries that motivated reasoning will make fans look at the same evidence and find the opposing team at fault.

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