Judy Ancel and colleague were framed by Breitbart
Judy Ancel, director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute for Labor Studies, has responded to hitman Andrew Breitbart, who posted on his BigGovernment.com Website deceptively edited videos that make Ancel appear to be advocating violence in the union movement.
According to Ancel, someone took videos from 30 hours of classroom recordings from a course titled “Labor, Politics, and Society,” and posted selective portions of them on Breitbart’s site. A co-instructor, Don Giljum, is also shown in the videos.
Ancel uses several examples to show how the videos were manipulated.
For example, the footage shows her telling her class that, “Violence is a tactic and it’s to be used when it’s the appropriate tactic.”
Here’s Ancel’s explanation for what actually happened:
After students had watched a film on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and the assassination of Martin Luther King, they were discussing nonviolence. I said, “One guy in the film… said ‘violence is a tactic, and it’s to be used when it’s the appropriate tactic.’ … The class proceeded to discuss and debate this.
“Thus,” says Ancel, “Mr. Breitbart’s editing has literally put words in my mouth that were not mine, and they never were mine.”
This is a hit job that is obviously meant to have a chilling effect on academics. Missouri’s tea party groups are running wild with the false account, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is irresponsibly promoting it on his Twitter account.
Update: Gail Hackett, the UMKC provost, has released a statement affirming that the video was presented in “an inaccurate and distorted manner.” She also notes that the airing of the videos without permission violates the privacy rights of students. And she reveals that Don Giljum, the lecturer from the University of Missouri-St. Louis who is shown on the videos has resigned his position. Here’s the statement:
The University of Missouri-Kansas City continues to review approximately 18 hours of unedited video from the Labor, Politics and Society class. From the review completed to date, it is clear that edited videos posted on the Internet depict statements from the instructors in an inaccurate and distorted manner by taking their statements out of context and reordering the sequence in which those statements were actually made 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. We want to underscore our commitment to the importance of academic freedom, freedom of speech and the free-flowing discussion of challenging topics in our courses. We also recognize the serious responsibilities this places on us to ensure a balanced perspective is offered to our students within our curriculum. In this particular case, we also affirm our belief that studying labor unions, their history, and their role in society is an important subject given the role they have played and continue to play in the United States and the world. As a result, we continue to review the appropriate place for such an offering within our curriculum. During the course of our review the past couple of days, UMSL has accepted the resignation of its lecturer.