It appeared this week that the White House censored a video of the French president to omit him saying the words “Islamist terrorism” during a speech at a bilateral meeting, but officials claim a technical glitch caused the ill-timed dropped audio.
The Media Research Center, a media watchdog, reported Friday that the White House had removed a video of French President Francois Hollande speaking at a press event on terrorism with President Obama.
When the video reappeared on the White House website and YouTube, the audio of Mr. Hollande’s translator goes silent just as he says the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Mr. Hollande, speaking in French, was also muted as he uttered the phrase.
But the official White House Transcript of Mr. Hollande’s remarks included the full sentence:
“But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and 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,” Mr. Hollande said, according to the transcript, but not the video.
President Obama, who has come under fire for avoiding phrases such as “radical Islam,” and “Islamic terrorism,” made three mentions of terrorism at Thursday’s meeting, using the phrases “hands of terrorism,” “scourge of terrorism” and “counterterrorism.”
A White House official told the New York Post that the audio gap was the result of a technical error.
“Nothing was edited out,” the official told the Post. “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 with the complete audio, which is consistent with the written transcript.”
As of 6 p.m. Friday, the White House had posted the original footage with the words “Islamist terrorism” included.