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TruthDig: ‘Electronic Brownshirts’


-By Amy Goodman:

May 18, 2011- Judy Ancel, a Kansas City, Mo., professor, and her St. Louis colleague were teaching a labor history class together this spring semester. Little did they know, video recordings of the class were making their way into the thriving sub rosa world of right-wing attack video editing, twisting their words in a way that resulted in the loss of one of the professors’ jobs amidst a wave of intimidation and death threats. Fortunately, reason and solid facts prevailed, and the videos ultimately were exposed for what they were: fraudulent, deceptive, sloppily edited hit pieces.

Right-wing media personality Andrew Breitbart is the forceful advocate of the slew of deceptively edited videos that target and smear progressive individuals and institutions. He promoted the videos that purported to catch employees of the community organization ACORN assisting a couple in setting up a prostitution ring. He showcased the edited video of Shirley Sherrod, an African-American employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which completely convoluted her speech, making her appear to admit to discriminating against a white farmer. She was fired as a result of the cooked-up controversy. Similar video attacks have been waged against Planned Parenthood.

Ancel has been the director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute for Labor Studies since 1988. Using a live video link, she co-teaches a course on the history of the labor movement with professor Don Giljum, who teaches at University of Missouri-St. Louis. The course comprises seven daylong, interactive sessions throughout the semester. They are video-recorded and made available through a password-protected system to students registered in the class. One of those students, Philip Christofanelli, copied the videos, and he admits on one of Breitbart’s sites that he did “give them out in their entirety to a number of my friends.” At some point, a series of highly and very deceptively edited renditions of the classes appeared on Breitbart’s website. It was then that Ancel’s and Giljum’s lives were disrupted, and the death threats started.

A post on Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com summarized the video: “The professors not only advocate the occasional need for violence and industrial sabotage, they outline specific tactics that can be used.” Ancel told me, “I was just appalled, because I knew it was me speaking, but it wasn’t saying what I had said in class.” She related the attack against her and Giljum to the broader attack on progressive institutions currently:

“These kinds of attacks are the equivalent of electronic brownshirts. They create so much fear, and they are so directed against anything that is progressive—the right to an education, the rights of unions, the rights of working people—I see, are all part of an overall attack to silence the majority of people and create the kind of climate of fear that allows for us to move very, very sharply to the right. And it’s very frightening.”

FULL STORY HERE:

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