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YouTube’s slippery slope

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 9, 2006 02:32 PM

Tom Zeller Jr. at the New York Times saw fit to write about the jihad vs. anti-jihad battle at YouTube today. Not only does he appear to agree that banning “First, They Came” was a bad idea, but he also, unlike his colleague Virginia Heffernan (who inspired my new tagline), manages to cover the story with minimal snark andwithout any ethnic references at all. Wonders never cease!

“A Slippery Slope of Censorship at YouTube”

Last week, as YouTube continued its recent campaign to spit-shine its image and, perhaps, to look a little less ragtag to potential buyers (including Google, which was said to be eyeing the upstart in the $1.6 billion range), the company took a scrub bucket to some questionable political graffiti on its servers, including a video entry from the doyenne of right-wing blogs, Michelle Malkin (michellemalkin.com).

YouTube users can flag any video as containing pornography, mature content or graphic violence, depicting illegal acts or being racially or ethnically offensive. A video is removed — as Ms. Malkin’s was on Sept. 28 — only if a review by the company’s customer support department agrees that it is inappropriate, or that the video is on its face in violation of the site’s terms of use.

But the incident raised some questions about the fine line YouTube’s administrators walk when they decide to respond to users’ complaints about contributions to the site — a mechanism that is fraught with the potential for vindictive shenanigans…

…Many, but not all, newspapers were frightened away from publication of the Muhammad cartoons. But the cartoons, and other images of Muhammad, can be found all over the Internet, as individual users decide for themselves whether or not they will abide by the Islamic restrictions on Muhammad imagery. Hosts of such images include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which, among other images, has one of the prophet atop a camel, in a leaf of “Majmac al-tawarikh,” or the Compendium of Histories, at snipurl.com/mb3j.

This is not to suggest that Ms. Malkin’s video would not be particularly offensive to some people. There is little that Ms. Malkin says or does that is not. But it is hard to imagine what YouTube hopes to gain by punting such content, or what sort of uphill rhetorical battle it is setting itself up for when it does so.

Patterico was especially amused by the article’s tiptoeing around the newspaper’s role during the Mohammed Cartoon riots:

The article ironically notes:

Many, but not all, newspapers were frightened away from publication of the Muhammad cartoons. But the cartoons, and other images of Muhammad, can be found all over the Internet, as individual users decide for themselves whether or not they will abide by the Islamic restrictions on Muhammad imagery.

Yes, many newspapers were frightened to publish the Mohammed cartoons. But the article fails to note that one of the papers “frightened away from publication” was the New York Times — the very paper in which the article itself appears. As this FIRE article explained:

On February 7, Times editor Bill Keller told USA Today that publishing the Mohammed cartoons would be “perceived as a particularly deliberate insult” by Muslims, and that, moreover, not publishing them “feels like the right thing to do.”

To recap, as Rick Ellensburg might say: it’s an article about appeasing Muslims by censoring ideas — in a paper that appeased Muslims by censoring ideas. And, the article censors the fact that it appeased Muslims by censoring ideas.

Now that’s a strong anti-censorship stand!

Ha. I do give props to Zeller for at least linking to a video containing the Mohammed Cartoons. It’s a start. Too bad they couldn’t see fit to link to the banned “Rocket Ride,” which was mentioned at the end of the story.

Fortunately, someone slipped through YT’s radar and you can watch it here. For now:

***

The good news is that the YouTube conservative group has more than doubled, with hundreds and hundreds more with pending membership caught in limbo due to a weird, still unaddressed YouTube glitch. We’ve now surpassed the “Nedheads” and claim the #5 spot on the YT news and blogs group list:

youtubersshot.jpg

But the top political group in the category remains:

bushsucksyt.jpg

We’ve got a long way to go.

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Fighting jihad at YouTube
Banned on YouTube
YouTube goes dhimmi Part I Part II

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Categories: YouTube