Democracy Now's Amy Goodman did a great job in her interview today with University of Missouri-Kansas City's professor Judy Ancel who along with her fellow professor Don Giljum were the victims of the latest Breitbart smear that Karoli covered here and here for Crooks and Liars.
As they discussed during the interview, with a few exceptions, the media for the most part treated this story in the manner it deserved, with a healthy bit of skepticism given Andrew Breitbart's history of putting out highly edited and deceptive videos.
Two Missouri labor professors have been vindicated after a right-wing smear campaign almost cost them their jobs. Last month, the website BigGovernment.com—run by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart—posted footage of a labor relations class taught by University of Missouri professors Judy Ancel and Don Giljum. In the video, the professors appeared to make a number of statements backing the use of violence in the struggle for labor rights. But it turned out the video was edited in a way to distort their words—similar to recent video campaigns against ACORN, Planned Parenthood, NPR and former FDA official, Shirley Sherrod. "I was just appalled. I knew it was me speaking, but it wasn’t saying what I had said in class," said Judy Ancel, director of the Institute for Labor Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In the video above Amy Goodman described the ordeal Ancel and Giljum were put through and described how the videos were edited that were used on Brietbart's Big Government web site.
More of the interview below the fold.
In the next segment, Judy Ancel and Goodman discussed the student, Phillip Christofanelli and his ties to a local St. Louis tea party group, to Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe and how he's been a guest on Dana Loesch's local radio show.
And as was pointed out by the St. Louis Activist Hub, Democracy Now exposed the smear campaign against the professors by Dana Loesch and Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder where they continued to distort what was taught in their labor studies classes even after they were shown to have been taken out of context.
Democracy Now had Judy Ancel on as a guest in studio and did a great job laying bare the nasty smear campaign against UMSL and UMKC led by CNN contributor Dana Loesch.
And as Adam noted, Ancel also criticized the St. Louis Post Dispatch for their coverage which you can read more about here -- Post-Dispatch's False Notion of "Neutrality" Contributes to Demise of Journalism.
They wrapped things up discussing Don Giljum's treatment by UMSL, the international union, the response from the students in the class and whether there might have been a different outcome if this had happened a year ago.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened to Don Giljum?
JUDY ANCEL: Well, two days after the story went up on Breitbart’s web page, Don’s international union president of the Operating Engineers called him and demanded his resignation as business manager. He’d been business manager for 27 years of a very important local in eastern Missouri, western Illinois. And he resigned. He had planned on retiring anyway on May 1st, but he resigned a few days earlier. And that really hurt. Luckily, his members have rallied to his side and opposed that action, but it’s done.
AMY GOODMAN: We only have a few minutes. Talk about these students and what this means, what this pushback was all about. The fact is, you now have your job, and Don Giljum has been sent a letter from the chancellor?
JUDY ANCEL: Of St. Louis, University of Missouri-St. Louis, telling him—
AMY GOODMAN: Because he was forced—
JUDY ANCEL: He was forced to resign, yeah. And that was reversed, and they have vindicated Don, as you said, and he was told that he will be rehired. He’s an adjunct. And this raises the whole question of the rights of contingent faculty, who teach now a majority of the courses in our universities. How can they have academic freedom when they’re subject to these kinds of attacks? They need to be supported by their universities.
AMY GOODMAN: What did the students do?
JUDY ANCEL: The students, our students organized. They set up an email list. They started bombarding the universities with support letters for us, denying that we were teaching violence—they gave us a number of statements—and also decrying the fact that their images were put up on Breitbart’s page, a violation of their privacy, possible violation of federal law, and that they were exposed. One of my students said, "My boss watches Fox. He can recognize me. I don’t want to be fired for this." And one of my students said, “Look, we need the freedom and the privacy to talk about these issues, even inflammatory issues, in the classroom. That’s how we learn. And if that space is violated, that really takes away our right to an education.”
AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel like this would have been different a year ago, the outcome?
JUDY ANCEL: Absolutely, absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: That you would have been out, that Don would have been out?
JUDY ANCEL: That’s right.
AMY GOODMAN: What changed?
JUDY ANCEL: I think we would have been toast. What changed is Shirley Sherrod and the attacks on NPR, the attacks on ACORN, and the fact that the media is now getting wise to Breitbart’s lies. And so, they held off, for the most part. There were some bad stories, one in the St. Louis Post that was not very favorable, and one in a Columbia, Missouri, paper.
AMY GOODMAN: Are you exploring legal recourse?
JUDY ANCEL: Yeah, I am. I am. But the fact is that most of the media waited for my response and then my university’s response, which took three days to come, and then we got the headlines, not Breitbart. That was a huge change, and I really appreciate that.
AMY GOODMAN: Judy Ancel, I want to thank you for being with us, director of the Institute for Labor Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
You can read the entire transcript at Democracy Now here.