Context Is The New Civility
Well, what do we have here? A deceptively-edited video purporting to show liberals saying the kinds of terrible things that conservatives insist we say when we think no one’s watching? Gee, I wonder where that might have come from…
A week after [Andrew Breitbart] promised to “go after the teachers and the union organizers,” his website BigGovernment.com started running a series of choppy, heavily edited videos taken from labor studies courses taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The posts promoting these videos claim, among other things, that the professors “instruct students on how fear, intimidation, and, even, industrial sabotage are important and, often, necessary tools,” and that they teach their students that the US flag is “racist.”
In the interest of space, I’m just going to post the full quotes with the Breitparts in bold and the deleted parts in parentheses (I’m also omitting a student’s interjection):
I tend to agree with you, because I think if you look at labor’s history over the years, you’ll find that, you know, we’ve had a very violent history with violent protests (and reaction to suppression. OK? But as time has changed, the tactics have changed, or the need for those have changed. OK?)
Now, you know, that’s not to say that in certain instances, strategically played out and for certain purposes, that industrial sabotage doesn’t have its place. I think it certainly does. But as far as — You know, and I can’t really honestly say that I’ve never wished, or have never been in a position where I have haven’t wished real harm on somebody or inflicted any pain and suffering on some people… who didn’t ask for it, but, you know, it certainly has its place. (It certainly makes you feel a hell of a lot better sometimes, but beyond that I’m not sure as a tactic today, the type of violence or reaction to the violence we had back then would be called for here, and I think it would do more harm than good.)
This is a lot like the Shirley Sherrod video, where all references to an evolution to a more enlightened position are deleted, so that a renunciation of violence or racism ends up sounding like an endorsement instead.
And then there’s this, which goes beyond “misleading” into outright dishonest:
(The one guy in the film, one of the guys who had been one of the young, um, SNCC types, said — he represented the kind of thinking that went into this student on the coordinating committee and then later probably — well, coinciding with the Black Panthers. You know, he said) violence is a tactic and it’s to be used when it’s appropriate, when it’s an appropriate tactic. (Whether — they never come back to him to ask him what he thought of the window-smashing in that march or whether or not that was done by them or others or provocateurs. We don’t know that.)
Wow, so all we have to do to discredit Republicans is to put a camera on them and trick them into quoting someone else? “Hey, Senator – refresh my memory: What was it that Marge Schott said about Hitler again?”
This context-removal game is particularly ironic when you consider how every time a conservative gets caught saying something bigoted and horrible, they always claim that they were quoted out of context… yet 9 times out of 10 when that context is restored, it changes absolutely nothing.
It’s just like how conservatives are allowed to say the most vile and hateful things about minorities or progressives and Democrats without consequences, yet whenever someone calls them on it, or debunks their lies, or uses a naughty word, they immediately start whining about how uncivil those liberal meanies are.