9:47am PT by Katherine Schaffstall
Late-Night Hosts Respond to White House Allegedly Releasing Doctored Jim Acosta Video
On Thursday, late-night hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah all commented on the allegedly altered video, tweeted by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, of an incident between CNN's Jim Acosta and a White House intern at a White House press conference on Wednesday.
The video shows CNN reporter Jim Acosta asking Trump a question as an intern tried to take the microphone out of his hand during Wednesday's press conference.
Independent video producer Abba Shapiro told the Associated Press that the video appears to have been altered. Shapiro said that the video quickened Acosta's arm movement to make it look like he was swatting the intern's arm away. The expert added that the alteration is "too precise to be an accident."
The White House used the video to justify why they revoked Acosta's press pass. "We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass," Sanders wrote in a tweet, accompanied by the clip. "We will not tolerate the inappropriate behavior clearly documented in this video."
After showing a clip from the press conference on The Late Show, Colbert responded, "That has got to be the worst intern assignment."
The host then shared that Acosta has lost his press pass following the incident. "Oh no! Now how will he not get answers to his questions," joked Colbert.
"A lot of people are outraged about this, very upset. But press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she defended the decision, saying, 'President Trump believes in free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his administration. He will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,'" Colbert read off Sanders' tweet. The comments received a round of booing from the audience.
Colbert then shared the video posted to Sanders' account, which shows Acosta lightly karate-chopping the intern's arm. "That is terrible, or it would be if it weren't 'fake news,'" he said.
After he said that the video was doctored, Colbert told his audience that they shouldn't be surprised. "We should've known because in the same video, Trump looked like this," Colbert said as he shared a photo of a muscular Trump wearing only his underwear.
The video allegedly came from right-wing media outlet Infowars. "If anyone out there is not familiar with Infowars, congratulations. Can we switch brains?" joked Colbert. He added that the website was created by conspiracy theorist — or, as Colbert called him, "talk show host and hot dog you forgot to pierce before microwaving" — Alex Jones.
"So that is Sanders' reliable source," he said. "'CNN is fake news, and to prove it, here's a video from a reputable news source that believes the government is putting plastic liners in juice boxes to turn our sons into gay frogs," he said with his impression of Sanders.
"The fact that the White House press secretary is promoting this doctored video is reprehensible and grounds for dismissal," Colbert continued. "Or as they call it in the Trump administration, 'Thursday.'"
"Now that we know this is doctored, it’s going to be really hard to trust all the other footage they've released, like April Ryan shooting flames out of her mouth and Jake Tapper killing Han Solo," Colbert joked.
Over on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host caught his viewers up on the news by sharing the real clip of the incident. "Not only didn't he accost her, he said, 'Pardon me, ma'am,'" said Kimmel.
"Well, that's where the Huck-B.S. comes in," said Kimmel before sharing Sanders' tweet that included the doctored video. He explained that the video was sped up to make Acosta's arm movement appear more violent. The video also cuts out the audio when he said, "Pardon me, ma'am."
"I think this also might be the first time I've seen Sarah Sanders take the woman's side on any subject ever," said Kimmel. "So good for her. Baby steps."
Kimmel added that Sanders should be forced to resign for sharing the video. "She intentionally disseminated doctored video footage to discredit a reputable journalist," he said. "She's the White House press secretary. She should be fired for that." The comment earned a round of applause from the audience. "Sarah Sanders should be fired and sent to live in a JoAnn's Fabric store for all the rest of her days."
The host later said that Kellyanne Conway was also quick to defend Trump. He shared a clip from an interview she did with Fox News, in which she said that the intern is owed an apology. "Oh no, she is not," he said.
"It's so dumb I decided the best course of action here is to go right to the source's mouth and with that said, please welcome Kellyanne Conway, who's joining us from Washington, D.C," he said. A blond ventriloquist dummy then appeared on the screen.
After the fake Conway thanked "Jerry" for having her on the show, Kimmel corrected her and said that his name is Jimmy. "If I wanted a lecture, Jerry, I'd go to a Todd Talk," she said.
When Kimmel said that he wanted to ask her about the doctored video, the dummy began to flail her arms around and told "Jerry" to get his hands off of her. "It's not Jerry, it's Jimmy. And I didn't touch you. This is a satellite interview. How could I even do that?" he said.
"You can lie all you want, but the video doesn't," said the dummy before a clip played that showed Kimmel's face on Hulk Hogan's body as he knocked out the Iron Sheik, which was doctored to appear as Conway's face.
After showing another doctored clip of Kimmel hitting Conway in the face with a golf club, the fake Conway threatened to revoke Kimmel's press pass.
Trevor Noah also addressed the doctored video on The Daily Show. "This White House does not tolerate grabbing women by the arm," said the host after he explained that Acosta's press pass was revoked. "It's only okay to grab them by the pussy, like a gentleman," he joked referencing Trump's infamous Access Hollywood hot-mic comments.
The host noted that Infowars has been banned by many social media platforms. "But the White House is like, 'We got you, man,'" he said.
"The fact that Trump is now using doctored footage to prove something that everyone knows is a lie is deeply disturbing, but also, it's just lazy," said Noah. "If you're gonna use a fake video, use a fake video. They should go all the way. Do something like this."
A grainy version of the clip played as karate-chopping sound effects were added to enhance the claims. Another clip showed Acosta and the intern's faces edited onto men that were violently fighting.