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Kyle Bristow, the author of the MSU Young Americans for Freedom agenda, has not returned phone calls and emails regarding YAF’s designation as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Internal and online memos from Bristow show this is a specific plan by him to control coverage.
“I suggest that from now on, you do not speak with friends, the media, or anyone else about YAF activities or stuff about the group,” Bristow wrote in one online letter to a YAF member. Further on in the online document, Bristow lays out his plan as follows:
“1. All media questions regarding the hate group status go directly to Professor Allen at first until we establish that the media won’t be able to spin it.
2. Prevent all dissent in YAF from appearing in the media. If we are seen as being divided, then the media will argue that I am a whack job, even by YAF standards. This will hurt us more than anything, because an attack on me is indirectly an attack on YAF.
3. I will mention how mainstream YAF is – Ronald Reagan was the honorary chairman, Senator John Tower was a member, Barry Goldwater’s supporters started it, and Dan Quayle was a member.
4. I will mention that we support the ideas of the great majority of America. Most of America believes in the sanctity of marriage, want to secure our borders, oppose affirmative action, and believe that abortion is
wrong. If these views make me a hateful person, then I am proud of it. People at LI (Leadership Institute) suggest that we make a mockery of the whole thing by pointing this out.
4. (error in original) If the State News mentions that you saw the “evil of YAF’s ways” or something, all I can do is have you talk to them (only with my permission)… You cannot apologize for anything YAF has done, cannot say bad things about me, cannot say that YAF is divided on any issues, and cannot say that we need to do things in a better way. Any of these items can be twisted around to make us look bad. Regardless of whether or not the State News takes interest in the Between The Lines or City Pulse article, you must not speak to the media unless you have my permission (not even on your own behalf, because it still represents the group). Don’t even tell them the time or day of the week without my permission.”
YAF advisor Professor William B. Allen, who is currently a visiting professor at Princeton University, says he knew nothing of the Bristow document. Then said, “It’s a likelihood it is a forgery, and it’s dishonest and you can put that on the record.”
BTL has authenticity of all the documents on file in its offices.
Allen refused further comment. “I am not accepting your representation. I don’t trust you. There are too many holes in what you have said. I think you are mispresenting and I believe you are being dishonest.”
Michelle Miller from the Leadership Institute in Virginia, where Bristow has trained on at least two occasions, according to his online resume, says the conservative training center would never encourage activists to make fun of others.
“We don’t tell people to make fun of people,” Miller said in a phone interview. “We train people.”
According to a YAF insider, the Leadership Institute has provided YAF with megaphones, as well as cash to print a newspaper. Miller could not immediately confirm this information.
Questions about leadership and honesty
While Bristow has become a media darling of such television shows as Fox News Channel’s the O’Reilly Factor, his self defined history of leadership is starting to unravel. Bristow claimed on his Facebook profile that he had depleted the accounts of the International Club, because he hated the third world countries.
But a Freedom of Information Act request filed with his former high school, Chippewa Valley High in Clinton Township, shows his claim to be erroneous. At the end of his presidency the group had $133.87 in its coffers, more money than AP Guidance, freshman cheerleading, choir, musical productions, track and many other organizations.
His Republican Club neither raised nor spent money during his presidency.
A spokesperson for the district says Bristow’s claims are impossible. “He is not being truthful, at all.”
Bristow refused to comment via instant message about this, but online documents show he did have a response.
“I am to write something so extreme, so tempting,” he wrote. “I am thinking about writing ‘Go to hell.'”
Shortly after this request for response was sent to Bristow, he erased his claim about the International Club from his Facebook profile.