Players: Andrew Breitbart; Judy Ancel and Don Giljum, instructors at the University of Missouri's Kansas City and St. Louis campuses, respectively; University of Missouri Provost Gail Hackett.
Opening Serve: Two videos surfaced Monday under the "Publius" byline on Breitbart's Big Government of Giljum and Ancel's joint class, in which they are shown discussing the violent tactics used by labor movements. "In the class, the Professors not only advocate the occasional need for violence and industrial sabotage, they outline specific tactics that can be used," the Breitbart blog reads. "As one of our colleagues pointed out, it's the matter-of-factness of it all that's so disturbing."
Later that day a second video was posted with the description: "In this new video, the professors make clear that they aren't just speaking in theoretical terms. Union official Don Giljum recounts several anecdotes where he, or other union officials, used threats to strengthen their negotiating positions (or simply get two-weeks paid time off work). Professor Ancel recounts favorably a tactic used by a friend of hers in a union protest in Peru."
Return Volley: Big Government posted an email from Ansel yesterday which it says was forwarded. It reads:
My students and I are outraged at Mr. Breitbart's invasion of our classroom and his attempts to intimidate us and my colleagues at the university....These videos were recorded for the use of students enrolled in this course, and for them only. Breitbart disassembled the material, and reassembled it; arranging them to give the appearance that instructors of the class advocate violence....Any examination of labor's past would be incomplete without discussion of violence, (which for the most part was directed at workers) and analysis of its roots. At no time did my co-instructor, Don Giljum, nor I advocate violence.
There’s no doubt that Breitbart’s attacks are politically motivated, part of a broad agenda to weaken unions and the public sector as well as public education. His fabrications have been exposed numerous times in the mainstream media. Yet he and his echo chamber at Fox News continue to cause great harm to educators and other public servants.
Yesterday, the provost of the Kansas City campus, Gail Hackett issued a statement noting that the editors had reviewed the unedited footage of the class and concluded that "it is clear that edited videos posted on the Internet depict statements from the instructors in an inaccurate and distorted manner ... so as to change their meaning. Such selective editing is disturbing and the release of students' images without their permission is a violation of their privacy rights. "
What They Say the Fight's About: Breitbart argues that people should know what supposedly violent lessons are being taught at this public university.The University of Missouri faculty argues that their words were taken out of context and that their students were filmed and broadcast without their permission.
What the Fight's Really About: Breitbart and Co's of "exposing" wrongdoing with poorly edited videos. Like Hacket, the bloggers over at Crooks and Liars watched the unedited video and report that "it's clear the Breitbart video was edited to make it appear that Giljum and Ancel said the exact opposite of what they actually said." This is the same sort of controversy that arose with the Shirley Sherrod videos, where controversial quotes were later determined to have been misleadingly portrayed.
Who's Winning Now: Mother Jones' Dave Gilson points out that, "on the positive side, the original video did not get much traction beyond right-wing sites, which may suggest that the rest of the media has wised up to the Breitbart/James O'Keefe M.O." On the other hand, Breitbart seems to have gotten the rise that he wanted. Despite the school's statement of support for its faculty's side of the story, Inside Higher Education notes that Giljum has already been told he needs to resign.