On Thursday, March 31, President Obama hosted French President François Hollande at the White House for a meeting during the summit on nuclear security. During Hollande’s remarks about terrorism, the audio of the translator drops momentarily. This has led to the latest anti-Obama freakout on the right.
President Obama starts by talking about how both the United States and France have a mutual interest in fighting terrorism. Then it is Hollande’s turn to speak. He mentions the threat to Europe from terrorism, then he says this:
But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, 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.
Right after the words “roots of terrorism,” the audio translation abruptly stops. It returns a brief instant later, but Hollande’s reference to “Islamist terrorism” has been omitted.
The right-wing Media Research Center immediately went on the attack. “WH Censors French President Saying ‘ISLAMIST Terrorism’” their headline proclaims. The appropriately named Hotair also picked up on the story, calling the incident “pathetic.”
This is the latest in the running right-wing campaign to attack the president for refusing to say “Islamic terrorism.” For some reason using those words appears to be more important to them than recognizing the fact that President Obama’s anti-terrorism actions have resulted in the death of a number of terrorist leaders. The White House has explained the reasons behind the president’s choice of words — a desire to avoid linking groups such as ISIS with Islam, which he sees as potentially giving them more legitimacy in the eyes of some who might be inclined to support them. But of course that logical explanation isn’t good enough for the American right.
Furthermore, if the momentary loss of the translator’s audio feed during Hollande’s remarks was a White House plot designed to mask his use of the words “Islamist terrorism,” then why were those words left in the official White House transcript of what the French president said? The sites in question even used that transcript to show that the translator’s audio was missing.
Here we have yet another non-issue drummed up by people who seem to have way too much time on their hands.
Here is the video of President Obama’s and President Hollande’s remarks. You can read the transcript on the White House site.
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