Conservative outlets quickly hatched a conspiracy theory that the White House “censored” French President Francois Hollande from using the phrase “Islamist terrorism” during a bilateral meeting with President Obama in Washington, D.C. The White House explained the issue was simply a technical glitch that was fixed immediately.
President Obama Hosts The French President For Bilateral Meeting In D.C.
Obama And Hollande Meet To Discuss “The Scourge Of Terrorism” Ahead Of DC Nuclear Summit. On March 31, President Obama and French President Francois Hollande met at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., to discuss “counterterrorism efforts” and strategies to defeat the Islamic State. Obama praised France as “a key coalition partner in our efforts in Iraq and Syria” :
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to welcome my dear friend and partner in so many issues, President Hollande of France, and his delegation.
This is obviously an occasion in which we are deeply concerned about nuclear security, making sure that nuclear materials don't fall into the hands of terrorists, but in the wake of the Brussels attack, with our memories of the tragedy in Paris, we have not only great urgency around the nuclear issue but eliminating generally the scourge of terrorism.
And we are continuing to deepen the partnership with France around counterterrorism efforts. We've made some significant strides around information-sharing. President Hollande has been a leader in helping to galvanize the European community around the necessity to be more effective in transatlantic exchanges of information and rooting out foreign fighters, identifying potential attacks, cutting off financing. And so this has been a very useful exchange in terms of examining the progress that had been made by our teams and where we still have to push a little bit harder.
We're both absolutely committed to the destruction of ISIL, and France has been a key coalition partner in our efforts in Iraq and Syria. So we had an overview of the progress that's been made on the campaign and some of the strategic decisions that have to be made in the coming months to make sure that we build on the progress that we've seen in reducing ISIL's territory and putting them back on their heels. [WhiteHouse.gov, Office of the Press Secretary, 3/31/16]
Technical Issue With Recording Of Bilateral Meeting Leads To “A Brief Drop In The Audio” As French President Hollande Discusses Terrorism. A technical glitch during Hollande's remarks at the bilateral meeting led to a “brief drop in the audio” as Hollande spoke. The White House explained that “as soon as [the audio glitch] was brought to our attention, we posted an updated video online here with the complete audio, which is consistent with the written transcript we released yesterday” :
The White House's English transcript retained the complete text.
Its original video did not: It erased all the words in English after the phrase 'But we're also well aware that the roots of terrorism.'
The initial footage, uncut, was restored hours later with a message from the White House. Both versions remain on YouTube at different locations.
'A technical issue with the audio during the recording of President Hollande's remarks led to a brief drop in the audio recording of the English interpretation,' the message read. [Daily Mail, 4/1/2016]
The Video Was Fixed To Include Audio Which Was Dropped In Technical Glitch
The White House Fixed The Technical Glitch And Reposted The Video In Its Entirety. The White House released a statement explaining that “A technical issue with the audio during the recording of President Hollande's remarks led to a brief drop in the audio recording of the English interpretation.” The video was updated with the complete audio:
A technical issue with the audio during the recording of President Hollande's remarks led to a brief drop in the audio recording of the English interpretation. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we posted an updated video online here with the complete audio, which is consistent with the written transcript we released yesterday.
Conservative Media Accuse Administration Of “Censorship” Following Audio Glitch
Media Research Center: White House “Censors” Hollande For Saying “Islamist Terrorism.” The Media Research Center claimed on April 1, “the audio of Hollande's translator goes silent, beginning with the words 'Islamist terrorism'” and that “even the audio of Hollande saying the words 'Islamist terrorism' in French have, apparently, been edited from the video” :
The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the WhiteHouse.gov website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande's translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video. [Media Research Center, 4/1/16]
Breitbart News: “White House Scrubs Translation of French President Saying 'Islamist Terrorism.'” On April 1, Breitbart News reported that “White House staffers appear to have scrubbed the mention of ” 'Islamist terrorism'":
In the White House video, starting at 4:48, Hollande's female translator goes silent, while he continues speaking for about 15 seconds before the translation restarts.
Hollande's reference to Islamist terror also appears to have been muted in the White House video.
The White House's edited version of the video also has Hollande saying the following: “But we're also well aware that the roots of terrorism-and we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we've been able to launch with the coalition.”
The edit excludes this passage; “Islamist terrorism is in Syria and in Iraq. We, therefore, have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we're doing within the framework of the coalition.”
The official video of the remarks posted by the Nuclear Security Summit was not edited, and includes the translation of Hollande's remarks referring to “Islamist” terror. [Breitbart, 4/1/16]
The Federalist: “Censorship” Shows That The White House “Had Zero Appetite For Hollande's Mention Of Islamist Terrorism.” The Federalist reported on April 1, that “the audio of the French-to-English interpreter stops right before Hollande characterizes 'Islamist terrorism' as the root of terrorism in Syria and Iraq” :
President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande met in Washington on Thursday to discuss ways for the two countries to work together to defeat terrorism. But the White House apparently had zero appetite for Hollande's mention of Islamist terrorism, since it censored the phrase from the official White House video of the meeting posted on the White House website.
Media Research Center, a non-profit media watchdog, was the first to report the White House censorship.
While the official transcript available on the White House web page includes Hollande's use of the phrase “Islamist terrorism,” the White House video of the remarks muted the audio during that portion of Hollande's remarks. The audio of the French-to-English interpreter stops right before Hollande characterizes “Islamist terrorism” as the root of terrorism in Syria and Iraq. [The Federalist, 4/1/16]
Townhall: “The White House Scrubbed The Words 'Islamic Extremists' From Remarks Made By Hollande.” Townhall reported on April 1, that “the White House scrubbed the words ” Islamic extremists" from remarks made by Hollande," and that this demonstrated that “President Obama and his White House do not” get that “you cannot beat an enemy that you are unwilling to name” :
The refusal to call Islamic terrorists Islamic is nothing new for President Obama and his White House. But during a visit Thursday from French President Francois Hollande as part of the nuclear summit being held in Washington D.C., the White House scrubbed the words “Islamic extremists” from remarks made by Hollande during an audio and video translation. The White House did publish the full remarks on Whitehouse.gov.
You cannot beat an enemy that you are unwilling to name. The French get it. Unfortunately, President Obama and his White House do not. [Townhall, 4/1/16]
The Daily Caller: “White House Censors French President For Using The Words 'Islamist Terrorism.'” The Daily Caller reported on April 1, that the White House “censored” President Hollande “for daring to argue that 'Islamist terrorism' is at the 'roots of terrorism.'” The report also connects the incident to the fact that “Republican presidential candidates have criticized Obama for not using the words ” radical Islamic terrorism":
The White House censored the video of French President Francois Hollande daring to argue that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
According to MRCTV, the White House pulled the original, unedited version from WhiteHouse.gov and YouTube and then reuploaded the video with the words “Islamist terrorism” silenced.
Moreover, the official transcript on WhiteHouse.gov at one point did not include Hollande's claim that “Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we're doing within the framework of the coalition.”
In recent months,Republican presidential candidates have criticized Obama for not using the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, claims that her refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” [Daily Caller, 4/1/16]
HotAir: “Pathetic” That White House “Silences Translation Audio When French President Mentions 'Islamic Terrorism.” On April 1, Hot Air claimed the “White House silences translation audio when French president mentions 'Islamist terrorism'” :
I'd chalk that up to a glitch if not for the fact that it jibes with Obama's own notorious policy of not mentioning Islam in connection with jihadism. If that's his rhetorical preference, okay; it reeks of embarrassing political correctness but it's his prerogative to choose his own words. It's not his prerogative to choose someone else's words, particularly when that someone is a foreign head of state whose country is dealing with a more severe jihadist threat right now than the United States is. They've actually reached the point now where they're blacking out references to Islam for English speakers in official state video of talks over terrorism. (At least they're not censoring transcripts. Yet.) [Hot Air, 4/1/16]