Joe The Plumber’s Spokesman Was Behind Breitbart Smear That Led To Missouri Professors Being Threatened

Christofanelli leaked 30 hours of video to Breitbart operatives and sat quietly as they attacked his professors and classmates
Wingnuts • Views: 23,422

So after Joe the Plumber suggested that gun control was responsible for the Holocaust and that the Bible is more accurate than science textbooks because “it was never revised,” I’m sure you’re all wondering who’s running his brilliant communications operation. One great introduction to Joe’s “Director of Communications” Phil Christofanelli was this article where he doubled down on Joe’s comments and further suggested that gun control contributed to slavery:

‘Well, blacks weren’t allowed to own guns in the south, that’s a historical fact as well,’ said Mr. Christofanelli. ‘So, it would seem that the argument would apply there as well.’

By this brilliant reasoning, I guess you could also say gun control caused the arrests of activists during the civil rights movement because police didn’t hand out guns before spraying people with fire-hoses.

As it turns out, Christofanelli is a conservative from the St. Louis region who likes to follow the James O’Keefe script of attacking private citizens with distorted video, so I thought I’d fill in a few extra details about him.

In 2009, James O’Keefe came by the campus of Washington University in St. Louis (full disclosure: I’m a grad student there) and put together a lame, chopped up video edited to make it seem like the school administrators were trying to censor a conservative group, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). The people O’Keefe tried to smear were not even “Evil Liberal Professorz” but rather were employees from the Event Services office simply trying to do their job in the face of a disruptive display that didn’t ask for the proper permits. But, as usual with this crowd, they don’t really care who they’re attacking as long as they get attention.

As it turns out, the controversy was a hoax, and this was admitted by one of the members of the sponsoring student groups. Despite the fact that a YAL member admitted that they didn’t get the proper permits, Christofanelli, a student who participated in O’Keefe’s stunt, wrote an article for Young American Revolution (p. 12) repeating the ridiculous claim that this was an act of tyrannical suppression by Evil Liberal Academia. The title and subtitle of his post was “Soviet U: Campus commissars suppress a commemoration of the fall of communism.”

Christofanelli later targeted the university again with a dishonest claim that the university was getting a “discount” from the St. Louis’s public transportation agency and was forcing “the poor” to make up the cost. As it turned out, Wash U was simply buying metro passes in bulk, an option available to any similar large institution (and a principle that should be pretty familiar to anyone who understands economics), and was paying *more* into the system than they would have if faculty, staff, and students were left to buy passes on their own.

But the real defining issue for Christofanelli was not his distorted attacks on Washington University, but rather the shameless smear campaign he instigated against the University of Missouri St. Louis, a local school that plays a crucial role in educating local residents.

Here’s a short timeline that shows Christofanelli’s willingness to set up his professors and fellow students for vicious attacks and threats from right-wing goons…

April 25, 2011: Big Government puts out video claiming that two college professors in a labor studies course were “advocating violence” and “industrial sabotage.” Simultaneously, Dana Loesch was pushing the “violence” and “industrial sabotage” claims on her local radio show and calling for the professors to be fired and harassed. These claims were based on video clips showing one of the professors Judy Ancel, saying “Violence is a tactic. It’s to be used when it’s the appropriate tactic,” and another professor, Don Giljum, describing acts of industrial sabotage. However, unsurprisingly given the source, both of these claims were based on misleading edits from the Breitbart collaborators. In Ancel’s case, the longer clip makes clear she was quoting a character from a movie to facilitate class discussion, and with Giljum the Breitbart gang edited out the middle of his quote where he stated that these tactics were no longer appropriate and would “do more harm than good.”

Even more disturbingly, the clips posted by breitbart.com contained video footage of students engaging in classroom discussions. Academic classrooms are supposed to be places where students can freely explore ideas and engage in thought-provoking discussions; obviously releasing video footage, without permission, of students to vindictive hoards of conservatives willing to selectively use information against people completely undermines this atmosphere of free discussion. Several of the students expressed concern that their employment might be at risk.

Anyway, breitbart.com released these clips, attacked the professors and students, and pressured the media to report. Throughout this time, Christofanelli, a student in the class, remained silent as his professors and fellow students, some of whom thought he was a friend, were ravaged by the conservative media.

April 26, 2011: Judy Ancel releases a statement saying the quotes were misleadingly edited. Breitbart editors lie and pretend they can’t imagine what she’s talking about and claim that the full videos are so much worse. Christofanelli remains silent as his fellow students are attacked.

April 29: Media Matters and Crooks and Liars put out longer videos showing the Breitbart hacks were lying. Knowing that they’re busted, Breitbart’s video providers lie about what edits were made.

May 1: I (along with my friend Kevin) interview two of the students in the class who deny the breitbart.com story and describe a Breitbart blogger who trespassed on campus and was harassing students outside of the classroom and even daring them to “take a swing at me.” Breitbots still in denial. Christofanelli still silent.

May 8: Up until this point, the media had largely avoided posting the longer videos and was keeping up false information from the Breitbart sites. After a considerable amount of hustling on my part, the local media finally started updating their posts with the full video that clearly showed the claims were lies.

May 9: After the full videos came out, and after the media finally started getting the story right, Christofanelli finally comes out and admits that he had downloaded the full 30 hours of footage from the course and distributed it to “friends.” He still defends the edits but tacitly admits that he knows they were wrong by refusing to say who he actually gave the videos to while making sure to deny having anything to do with the editing. And his long-winded defense of the edits basically amounts to the absurd idea that because he doesn’t like the professors and feels in his gut that they would endorse violence, it’s therefore OK to edit videos in a way that makes it look like they said they endorse violence even when they didn’t. Christofanelli also suggested that the class content wasn’t up to his high standards of scholarship, a point especially ironic in light of his recent claims that gun control has something to do with slavery. Naturally, his attack on Evil Liberal Academia got him an appearance on Fox News.

As a result of this despicable smear campaign, the professors received numerous threats from knuckle-dragging Breitbots deceived by the edited videos, some of which were mentioned in this article by the Kansas City Star. Don Giljum had to change his phone number. And several students (see above interview) reported that they no longer felt safe in the classroom.

But this is all in a days work for a James O’Keefe styled Breitbart collaborator. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt or what the truth is, as long as you can score a couple political points and advance your career. This guy is a perfect fit for Joe the Plumber’s campaign.

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
Love in the Time of Climate Change: Grizzlies and Polar Bears Are Now Mating BARROW, Alaska -- Most Alaskans and Canadians have a bear story - tales of fearsome grizzlies, even polar bears. But a mix of the two? They're known as pizzlies or grolars, and they're a fusion of the Arctic white ...
Thanos
18 hours, 16 minutes ago
Views: 275 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 6 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Possible Murderer John McAfee’s Presidential Campaign Ad Deeply Crazy, as Is John McAfee Oh boy! It’s that very special time of the year: The fringe candidate ads are here! Feast on this brilliant sample of sensory overload from Libertarian presidential candidate John McAffee. Yes, the antivirus guy. Yes, the one who “was ...
Reality Based Steve
18 hours, 49 minutes ago
Views: 464 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 24 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 2
Likes: 0
Comments: 1
: 3
Administrators Are Still Enforcing Antiquated Ideas About How to Celebrate Prom It’s prom season — the time of year when school administrators attempt to enforce the gender norms, as well as the rules of heteronormativity, that were followed when they were growing up. Students have been resisting this for years. ...
The French Rat
19 hours, 4 minutes ago
Views: 331 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Boycott Over N.C. LGBT Law Hits More Than Music Fans Stagehand Kery Eller doesn’t own any Bruce Springsteen albums, but he would smash them if he did. Eller says he expected to earn at least $3,000 working the sold-out Springsteen concert and other high-profile shows around the state before ...
Thanos
19 hours, 36 minutes ago
Views: 432 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 4 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
California Voter Registration Soaring as June 7 Primary Approaches Californians are registering to vote in breathtaking numbers not seen since the Reagan Revolution, as the no-holds-barred presidential primary season and tech-based outreach efforts have rousted more than 1 million people from their political slumber. Registration often spiked on ...
Thanos
22 hours, 46 minutes ago
Views: 527 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 9 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 2
Comments: 0
: 3
Supreme Court Rejects GOP Challenge to Va. Redistricting Plan The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a Republican challenge to redistricting in Virginia, leaving in place a map that could prove more favorable to Democrats. The court unanimously held that Reps. Rob WittmanRob WittmanOvernight Regulation: GOP lose Supreme Court ...
Thanos
22 hours, 52 minutes ago
Views: 488 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 27 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 2
Comments: 0
: 3
Second Person Pleads Guilty in Plot to Bomb Fort Riley The person he was assisting, John T. Booker, was following Islamic state ideology. A 30-year-old Topeka man involved in the conspiracy to set off a bomb at Fort Riley, Kan., pleaded guilty Monday in federal court. Alexander E. Blair ...
Thanos
22 hours, 54 minutes ago
Views: 503 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 23 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
Austria Far Right Thwarted, Van Der Bellen Elected President Alexander Van der Bellen has won Austria's presidential election, preventing Norbert Hofer from becoming the EU's first far-right head of state. Mr Van der Bellen, a pro-EU independent backed by the Greens, beat Mr Hofer by just 31,000 votes ...
Thanos
23 hours, 2 minutes ago
Views: 638 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 15 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 4
Comments: 0
: 5
Why the Numbers Suggest a Hillary Clinton Presidency Is Best for the Stock Market Whether you plan to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, history shows that when a Democrat holds the highest office in the land, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) benefits. Over the past 100 years, the DJIA has ...
Thanos
1 day, 4 hours ago
Views: 522 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 8 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Likes: 2
Comments: 1
: 4
Here’s the Lawsuit Against a State Anti-LGBT Law You Aren’t Hearing About North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law HB2 isn’t the only state law receiving new scrutiny this week. The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s HB 1523, which offers a sweeping menu of legalized discrimination. Discrimination against LGBT people was ...
The French Rat
1 day, 18 hours ago
Views: 556 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0