Law professor and media commentator Jonathan Turley believes the Obama administration handed a victory to religious extremists when it requested YouTube reconsider its decision to host a film trailer critical of Islam.
Google, the parent company of YouTube, on Friday denied the administration’s request to censor the movie “Innocence of Muslims,” which has sparked violent protests and riots across the Middle East.
“This is the latest triumph of politics over principle by the Obama administration,” Turley told The Daily Caller in a phone interview. “The position of the White House is rather transparent. It does not want to be seen as limiting free speech. This request was couched as a review.”
“The film was simply an act of free speech. The position of the United States should be clear. Violence was not caused by any film,” said Turley. “Free speech is not a characteristic of America. It defines being an American.”
Turley added that the administration has done “unprecedented harm” to principles of free speech.
White House press secretary Jay Carney has denied that the White House asked YouTube to censor the video, a position Turley called “perfectly incoherent.” (RELATED: ACLU ‘concerned’ about White House request that YouTube ‘review’ anti-Muslim video)
“What would a review entail that was not an implicit request for removal?” Turley asked.
Google has blocked access to the video in Egypt, Libya and India amid concerns the film is inciting violence.
“YouTube has been very successful in creating a platform for global dialogue,” Turley said. “It is a mistake for the company to yield to extremism and intolerance.”