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: 23,736

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 Tweet

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
Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Apologizes for Promoting Comet Ping Pong ‘Pizzagate’ Fabrication Don't worry, Alex's future is assured because enough rubes will continue to follow this far right dirtbag's ravings that this apology just doesn't matter. Indeed while he was making this apology there was a rally in DC to investigate ...
Tarkloon
3 hours, 54 minutes ago
Views: 73 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Behind Neil Gorsuch’s Non-Answers Having come of age in Alaska I take particular umbrage with Gorsuch's dissent in the truck driver case - it demonstrates that he values property over life, and is willing to support draconian measures and decisions in favor of ...
Tarkloon
4 hours, 11 minutes ago
Views: 67 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
While Gorsuch Was Testifying, the Supreme Court Unanimously Said He Was Wrong About 40 minutes after Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch began his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, all eight of the justices he hopes to join said a major disability decision Gorsuch wrote in 2008 was ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 10 hours ago
Views: 183 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Black & Missing in America - a Short Film Published on May 7, 2015 From OSCAR® and 16-time EMMY award-winning producer Arnold Shapiro and Director/Producer Marlene McCurtis - a short film that highlights the work of the Black and Missing Foundation, and their quest to provide a voice ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 10 hours ago
Views: 158 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
500 Missing — Why You Should Pay Attention to DC’s Missing Girls if You Attended the Women’s March Though months have passed since the Women's March united women around the nation in January, its mission to stand up for the rights of those who are most vulnerable cannot afford to slip into the background. And this applies ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 10 hours ago
Views: 200 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Rewire -‘Issues in Law & Medicine’: A One-Stop Journal for Anti-Vaccine, Anti-Abortion PseudoscienceUnsurprisingly creationists aren't the only ones who produce fake academic journals. It turns out that anti abortion, and anti vaccination ideologues do the same thing, only in the case of "Issues in Law & Medicine," the people behind it, arguably ...
CriticalDragon1177
1 day, 10 hours ago
Views: 249 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Trump Did to Merkel What Men Do to Women All the Time Tuesday 21 March 2017 06.00 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 22 March 2017 11.22 EDT A few years ago, my husband and I ran into a mutual acquaintance at a restaurant. This young man – a person who would ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 11 hours ago
Views: 296 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
RNC Paid Intel Firm for Clinton Dirt As the general election was taking shape last summer, the Republican National Committee initiated a series of payments to a low-profile firm started by retired CIA officers that worked closely with an ex-Russian spy. The payments attracted attention in ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 18 hours ago
Views: 458 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Whatever You Do, Don’t Say Yes When This Chatbot Asks, ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Another in my irregular series on privacy in our era, and how to defend yourself in digital venues. For your cell phone-Get TruCaller or some other good robo call screener/blocker. If you have an Ooma phone, set your virtual ...
Unshaken Defiance
1 day, 19 hours ago
Views: 724 • Comments: 2 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 117 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 3
Comments: 0
: 3
NOT ONE WOMAN: What’s Missing From This Photo of Politicians Deciding the Future of Women’s Health? President Donald Trump met with the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus at the White House Thursday to try to hammer out a deal on Obamacare repeal. A major question in the final negotiations? Whether or not maternity care and mammograms ...
Birth Control Works
2 days ago
Views: 367 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0