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White House press secretary accused of sharing doctored video of CNN reporter row

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been accused of sharing a video doctored to make a journalist appear more aggressive.

The clip shows the moment CNN reporter Jim Acosta refused to hand over a microphone to an intern during a heated exchange with US President Donald Trump.

The White House has since banned Mr Acosta over what it called “unacceptable” conduct.

Ms Sanders took aim at the CNN correspondent after accusing him of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern”.

Ms Sanders went on to share a clip that appears identical to one published by cable network C-SPAN, writing: “We stand by our decision to revoke this individual’s hard pass. We will not tolerate the inappropriate behaviour clearly documented in this video.”

But Storyful, a social media intelligence agency that specialises in video, say its analysis shows the clip “contains extra frames that do not appear in the C-SPAN broadcast of the event”.

Its report claims the video has several frames repeated.

It says: “These frames do not appear in the original C-SPAN footage, and appear to exaggerate the action of Acosta.

“There is a clear moment (frames 13, 14, 15 in our first clip, where C-SPAN version is on the left) when the Sanders video halts and the C-SPAN footage does not.

“The two clips, which were roughly in sync before that moment, are out of sync thereafter,” Storyful said.

Many in the media industry were furious with Ms Sanders for sharing the video, including one of Mr Acosta’s colleagues.

Matt Dornic, a vice-president at CNN, said: “Absolutely shameful, @PressSec. You released a doctored video – actual fake news. History will not be kind to you.”

The Storyful report also says: “The video shared by Sanders appeared under an hour after the same video, with the same close-up, was posted by Infowars.com contributor Paul Joseph Watson.”

Infowars.com is a controversial far-right site described by many as a publisher of conspiracy theories and fake news.

The same three still frames are repeated in the zoomed-in clips of the incident in the Sanders video, its report adds.

Mr Watson posted his defence on Twitter, saying: “Here’s the video that proves I did not ‘doctor’ or ‘speed up’ the Acosta video, as some media outlets claim. I merely zoomed in.

“Nice try to distract from Acosta’s behavior, but this kind of dishonesty is why the media has a massive trust issue.



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‘I see a revolution. Starting right now’

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Officially, Sir Tim Berners-Lee doesn’t have a favourite website. When you’re the creator of the World Wide Web, he says, “You can’t.”

“‘What’s your favourite website?’ was the first question everybody asked,” he says. “Sorry, I don’t have one.”

But, even if he’s too honourable to show even a hint of favouritism, Sir Tim does occasionally have preferences.

One app he especially liked was an activity tracker called Moves, which he used to see what he’d been doing in his journeys round from his home in Massachusetts, where he is a professor of computer science.

Then, in 2014, Moves was bought by Facebook – meaning Sir Tim’s data now potentially belonged to the world’s biggest social network.

And then, earlier this year, Facebook shut down Moves. There was no appeal. Facebook simply announced that it was “moving on”.

For Sir Tim, it was a personal taste of a bigger problem. The web he built was broken – and the big companies that dominated it were the flaw.

The awakening for him, as for so many people, came in 2016, with the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.

“What happened there was a tipping point,” he says.

He knew that social media could be used to manipulate people, but for the first time he saw it operating at massive scale.

“I thought that my responsibility as a web user was to go and find the stuff which I appreciated, which I trusted, but now I think that everyone involved in the web realises the problem is that other people are reading stuff which is complete garbage and they’re believing it, and they vote.”

He mentions voting. Does that, I ask, mean democracy itself is under threat?

“Science tells us what to believe are facts,” he says. “And democracy relies on facts. So democracy relies on science.”

English scientist Tim Berners-Lee from the Web Foundation addresses the opening ceremony of the 2018 edition of the annual Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon on November 5, 2018. (Photo by FRANCISCO LEONG / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)
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Sir Tim sees the core of the problem as the massive centralisation of his originally decentralised web

Sir Tim sees the core of the problem as the massive centralisation of his originally decentralised web.

“Instead of going from website to website, everyone’s on one website, so the structure of people making great links to other blogs which we had after 10 years of the web is more broken.

“People don’t follow links from one website to another, they sit on one website, and what they see is determined by the people who code that social network.”

Sir Tim is too polite to name the network, but there can’t be more than a few candidates. Between them, four or five giant corporations dominate everything we do online.

It’s with those sites – and governments – in mind that, last week, Sir Tim launched a charter for the web: a Magna Carta of digital rights.

Facebook and Google have already signed up, as has the government of France; although whether they abide by its terms remains to be seen.

He’s also launched a new project: Solid. It’s effectively a new web; only this time he’s going to get it right.

The key change is to do with data. On Sir Tim’s original web, users’ data was – and is – stored by the owner of the website or the app.

On Solid, the choice of where you put your data is separate from your choice of service.

Your data – from your selfies to the money you send – is hived off into a separate area, called a pod, which can be linked to, just like the pages on a website. That gives people genuine control over where and how their data is deployed.

If it comes off, it would be a seismic change in the digital landscape.

“Some people are calling it Web 3.0,” Sir Tim says.

And whereas previous attempts at what’s known as re-decentralisation have foundered on public disinterest, this time Sir Tim feels the time is ripe.

“A big backlash [is coming] against the mistreatment of personal data, a realisation that people should control their data,” he says.

“That’s what I see, a revolution. Starting right now.”

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Democrats plan investigation into Ivanka Trump after she ‘used personal email for govt business’

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Democrats are planning an investigation into Ivanka Trump after she reportedly used a personal email account for government business.

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the panel would investigate White House communications when his party take over the US House of Representatives in January.

“We plan to continue our investigation of the presidential records act and federal records act, and we want to know if Ivanka complied with the law,” his office said a statement.

A probe into White House correspondence began last year but was dropped by Republicans who currently control the committee, the statement added.

Democrats are taking over following their election gains earlier this month.

Ivanka gave up her business interests to focus on government
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Ivanka was appointed by her father, US President Donald Trump

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that the US president’s daughter used her personal email account for government business up to 100 times last year.

The top White House adviser sent emails to aides, cabinet members and Ms Trump’s assistants, many in violation of public record rules, the paper said.

Use of a personal account for government business could potentially violate a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.

Mr Trump, a Republican, repeatedly criticised his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election over her use of personal email and private server while she was the US secretary of state.

He labelled her “crooked Hillary” and said she belonged in jail.

Ms Clinton blamed her defeat on then-FBI director James Comey re-opening an investigation into her emails 11 days before the election.

She was eventually cleared of any crime.

The White House has not responded to questions about Ms Trump’s email use.

However a spokesman for Ms Trump’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, did not dispute the report.

“While transitioning into government… Ms Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” said the spokesman, Peter Mirijanian.

He said that it was different from Ms Clinton’s case because there was no private server and none of the messages contained classified information.

The White House began reviewing senior aides’ email use last year following reports that Ms Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, also a top White House adviser, used private email for government work.

Ms Trump’s emails came to light when White House officials began reviewing them in response to a lawsuit from watchdog group American Oversight, according to the Post.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary panel, said there was “no way” Ms Trump did not know the rules after the 2016 campaign.

He said there were larger questions regarding the Trump family’s mixing of private enterprise and government duties.

“It raises the issue of whether there has been anything improper. There should be some kind of investigation,” Mr Blumenthal told CNN.

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Father charged after girl, 6, ‘strangles baby brother to death with seatbelt’

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A father in the US has been charged with child abandonment after his six-year-old daughter allegedly strangled her baby brother to death with a car seatbelt.

Adrian Dreshaun Middleton, 26, reportedly left the little girl and his one-year-old son in the vehicle while he went shopping in a discount store in Houston, Texas.

According to court documents, he told investigators the children were in an air-conditioned car with snacks, water and a film to watch while he shopped for clothes.

When he returned his daughter was crying in the backseat, the documents said.

She is said to have told investigators she was playing with her brother but became angry when he would not stop crying and wrapped the seatbelt around him.

When he became unconscious she thought he had fallen asleep.

Surveillance footage shows Middleton was in the store for around an hour and a half. He reportedly turned himself in to police over the incident.

The girl, who is staying with her grandmother, will not face charges because of her age, Houston police told ABC.

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