Correction Request: Columbia Missourian Falsely Claims Andrew Breitbart Edited Labor Studies Videos

In an article published last week, Rachel Coward of the Columbia Missourian falsely claimed that Andrew Breitbart edited videos of a controversial labor studies course at the University of Missouri in which lecturers instructed students in violent tactics, indoctrinated them with revisionist left-wing economic history, and encouraged them to join the Communist Party, among other inappropriate conduct.

Here are the facts.

A highlight video of clips from 31 hours of classroom instruction (which has since been removed from YouTube) was published at Big Government on April 25, 2011. Neither Andrew Breitbart nor anyone employed by edited the videos–a fact long since established by Insurgent Visuals, which claimed full responsibility for the highlight reel.

Coward claimed:

Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart manipulated classroom videos to make the instructors seem as though they supported violence in labor-management relations, according to an article by Inside Higher Ed.

Coward cites an inaccurate article at Inside Higher Ed that was itself the subject of a correction request last May.

Moreover, the instructors of the course did, in fact, support violence and intimidation in labor-management relations. As student Phil Christofanelli recalled:

In our lesson on bargaining we learned that we should use fear and intimidation-which Prof. Giljam falsely described as “mundane” and “non-threatening”-to play on the emotions of management. We were told that we should frighten a man to the point where he is so afraid for his life that he wears body armor at work. And all the while we were learning these profound academic insights, Prof. Ancel was heard in the background laughing, just tickled pink at the idea of terrifying management by making one’s union appear more militant than its workers actually want it to be….

Of course, the professors now point to the few caveats they applied, as above. Still, as I have demonstrated, at various junctures throughout the course, Prof. Giljum proudly endorsed industrial sabotage, the destruction of property, the use of fear and intimidation, and limited violence, “strategically played out.” Prof. Ancel, was delighted when Prof. Giljum told these stories, and shared similar, second-hand anecdotes or histories.

Coward reports that the University of Missouri has issued a new policy that requires students to obtain permission before sharing classroom videos. However, she ignored the fact that the professors in the labor studies course had already encouraged students to share course materials. As Christofanelli noted:

In fact, Prof. Ancel said: “All labor education materials are uncopyrighted and to be shared. We do not believe for the most part in intellectual property rights. That’s one of the principles of labor education: we share.”

We request that the Columbia Missourian publish a retraction for this false claim.