The YouTube Problem

This is all kinds of wrong:

Obama administration officials said Thursday that they have asked YouTube to review the video [that reportedly set off the embassy attacks] and determine whether it violates the site’s terms of service, according to people close to the situation but not authorized to comment.

This is just plain wrong, especially given that YouTube had already said the video didn’t violate their terms. It’s one thing for citizens to call on YouTube to censor itself or for YouTube to voluntarily pull a video. But when the government “asks”, it does so under the implicit shadow of threat. As I have shown many times, the government can easily find a law you’ve inadvertently broken and make your life hell if they decide to go after you. That is the context in which this request was made.

Moreover, I think it’s missing the point. There is growing evidence that this film is more an excuse for the anti-American demonstrations than a reason. I guarantee you that most of the rioters have not seen it or have no idea what’s in it. Why on Earth would anyone think pulling the video would make them say, “Oh, well, that’s OK then. Back to our poverty!”? Standing up for free speech costs you nothing; wavering on it gains you nothing.

But more importantly, you can’t put the genie back in the fucking bottle. The movie is out there. If YouTube pulls it, someone else will host it. Hell maybe Julian Assange will put it up. (Wouldn’t that be fun? Wikileaks v. the Islamists). As anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the internet will tell you, removing something — a nude picture, a dumb blog post, an offensive video — is an exercise in Whack-A-Mole. Nothing ever leaves the net.

I suspect that what this is really all about is a crude attempt to placate some of the anger. “Hey, we asked those guys to pull it but they wouldn’t!” But if so, it’s a stupid one. This will carry little water with people who want to burn every book that isn’t the Koran.

It’s possible to say both that the film is ridiculously offensive and that we defend free speech. We’ve been doing that with Fred Phelps, the KKK and the Illinois Nazis for decades. Obama and Romney both have already said that about this video, as has about 95% of the commentariat. And, yes, it’s possible to say that without glowering at YouTube and looking like the thought police.

This isn’t fascism or the destruction of the Constitution. Let’s not get carried away. But it’s stupid, thoughtless and thuggish.

Comments are closed.

  1. Xetrov

    But you don’t understand!! Romney called the State Department’s (and by extension, this Administration’s) condemnation of someone expressing free speech an “apology”! An Apology!!! I mean, the nerve of that guy. It’s so much worse than insulting a “major ally” in the Middle East, or doing the exact opposite of what’s in the oath of office.

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    It’s all part of the “don’t do shit” Obama plan – first your pretend that it isn’t what it is, then you find a scapegoat, and finally you make a few hand waves about how everything is just a big “misunderstanding” and tell everyone to move along now, nothing to see here.

    What I find appalling is that Obama/Jarrett can’t even be bothered to stop campaigning for ten seconds while this unfolds,but I guess that would interrupt the narrative of how awesome Obama’s foreign policy strategy is.

    I wonder if Obama/Jarrett has figured out that this could easily turn into a political repeat of the Iran hostage crisis. I mean, it does nothing at all to dispel the impression of Obama being Jimmy Carter’s even worse 2nd term.

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    If i was paranoid, and a conspiracy nut, ok ok i got a bit of both, one would have to consider that this president, really doesn’t care… look at the budget he proposed, the people he brought with him to the administration, …. and given his back round, well the background we know about….. one has to wonder.

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  4. AlexInCT

    If you are still stupid enough to buy the propaganda from the WH and the LSM that the reason these death worshippers are showing how barbaric they can be is this movie and not near insane angst to immediately blame America the left has that showcases their foreign policy weakness, then this stuff all will make sense to you.

    If you are a card carrying member of the usual insane collectivist America-hating and America-blaming apologist that always find fault with everyone but themselves and any group of evil murderers they so long to empathize with, both here in the states and elsewhere, then a move by a government that has in the past repeatedly pined for the ability to make unilateral decisions like their Chi-Comm heroes, will seem well measured and logical.

    If you are not part of this massive stupid, it is obvious that what we have here is a cascading series of desperate acts, all intended to divert attention and confuse the people that don’t pay close attention to how dumb the people in charge right now really are, as they try to position themselves so they don’t have to resort to impossible to hide levels of voter fraud come the elections in November so they can keep power.

    This administration will Carter’s look like they where competent geniuses. It can not be a coincidence that Obama is about to one-up Carter, and instead of leaving us with one hornets nest run by insane death worshipping murdering maniacs like Carter did with Iran, team Obama is about to leave us with at least 2 if not more of these.

    I told leftists, almost 4 years ago now, when they told me that god-man-king Obama was now going to forever end support for the right and the ideas of the right as he righted all wrongs, that I had no such fear. I expected these incompetent boobs to make it blatantly obvious that they are destructive and incapable of doing anything but the wrong thing, and so far, history bears that out despite a massive orchestrated attempt by the left and their LSM propaganda machine to create the contrary illusion.

    History repeats itself. Obama is just Carter’s worst on steroids. These idioits still have not learned that the only thing respected by the deathworshippers is brutal force. Oh, well.

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