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Ancel says she believes that the videos were part of a larger, statewide attack against organized labor. State Republicans were divided this year on two pieces of legislation: a "right to work" bill designed to outlaw the practice of making union dues a condition of employment, and a "paycheck protection" bill that would have required employees to sign a consent form every year to authorize payroll deductions for union political dues.
"There were a number of key Republicans who were refusing to vote for these right-wing measures," Ancel says. "And [activists] wanted to pull the rug out from under them and be able to crank up the pressure on them against labor."
Though neither bill passed, and Ancel still has her job, she isn't pleased with what the clash has meant for her and her program.
"I don't feel vindicated," she says. "I feel that people, at least on my end of the state, did the right thing. My character was assassinated. And, yeah, it came out that the thing was completely cooked up. But I'm sure there were a lot of people who didn't see that part of it."
Ancel and Giljum add that they both have received threats from people who watched the Insurgent Visuals videos online. "One individual said he was glad Missouri had conceal and carry because I wouldn't know what to expect or that he'd be the person taking me out when he met me on the street," Giljum says of a phone threat he received. Ancel adds: "This is the first time in my life I actually thought about getting into my car. So, yeah, this does real harm to people's peace of mind."
Christofanelli isn't exactly taking a victory lap, either. "I wish I didn't have to do it," he says of his video strategy. "I wish that professors would not be doing political organizing on [the] taxpayer dime in the classroom," he says. "I don't think it's a success, but I have to go out and do this. It's pretty sad. And if it continues to happen, that's even more sad."
Conservatives and Breitbart's Web behemoth have moved on to pushing a new video. A Fox News clip showing Teamsters president James P. Hoffa's speech introducing President Barack Obama at a Labor Day event in Michigan has been embedded on Breitbart's BigJournalism.com site. In the video, Hoffa appears to end his speech filled with military terms and themes by saying of conservative politicians, "Let's take these sonofabitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!"
The full quote was less caustic: "Everybody here's got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these sonofabitches out and give America back to America where we belong! Thank you very much!"
Ancel has come to expect this kind of thing. "It's just amazing," she says. "The absolute same kind of M.O. You put this stuff up there, you get a whole bunch of people reacting and condemning — and, in our case, making violent threats — and by the time it comes out that the thing is not the truth, they're on to their next distortion."