erik lundegaard

Dueling Robert Duvall Headlines: Daily Beast vs. Breitbart

This is the headline as it appeared in The Daily Beast's Q&A with the acting legend, where it was original content:

Robert Duvall on His Storied Career, His New Movie, and Why He’s Ditching the GOP

Here's how the Brietbart site repurposed it:

Robert Duvall Blasts 'The Butler': 'Atrocities in South Committed By Democrats'

Pretty funny. It's a good Q&A, by the way, but if it were me doing the interview I would have followed up on Duvall's comments that made the Breitbart headline.

This is the graf in question:

Republicans in Hollywood seem to get a lot of flack and be a bit marginalized. Has it ever been tough, for you, to be a Republican in Hollywood?

Let me say it this way: my wife’s from Argentina, she’s been here for a while, and she’s very smart. She calls herself a “tree-hugging Republican,” but she might even vote Democrat next time because the Republican Party is a mess. I’ll probably vote Independent next time. I think it was Jack Kerouac who said something like, “Don’t run down my country. My people are immigrants, so I believe in this country with all its faults. To me, it’s a big country that’s made mistakes.” Some of the bleeding-heart left-wing, extreme left-wing, are actually different from liberals. That movie The Butler? It’s very inaccurate. JFK had one of the worst Civil Rights voting records. And the Rockefeller’s were much more liberal with the blacks. All the atrocities in the South were committed by the Democratic Party, but now, everything’s been turned around in a strange way. Some of these very conservative Republicans… I don’t know, man. I believe in a woman’s choice. I believe in certain things. I hear they booed Rick Perry last night on the Jimmy Kimmel show. But it’s a great country. We’ve done bad things. Slavery was terrible. One-third of all Freedmen in New Orleans fought for the South. I can’t figure that out. Those things aren’t told in the history books. There’ve been lots of contradictions and this and that. But I think the country’s okay, and hopefully it will survive.

My immediate thoughts for follow-ups:

  • Is he talking about JFK's voting record as a U.S. Senator? How is that relevant to “The Butler,” which focuses on The White House from Eisenhower to Reagan?
  • And surely Duvalls knows the significant progress the country made in civil rights during JFK's short term in office. And surely he knows the speech JFK gave in June 1963, during Birmingham, which finally owned up to federal responsibility on civil rights matters. These are not small things. It matters what the president says. 
  • And is he truly confused on Southern atrocities committed by Democrats? Again, doesn't he know that the Democratic party, from FDR to JFK, was a party of both northern progressives and southern Dixiecrats, and that most national Democrats were forced to walk the thin line between the two; and that JFK and LBJ were the national figures who finally made the irrevocable step onto the progressive side, turning the Dixiecrats into Republicans? “We've lost the South for a generation,” LBJ said after signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He was only wrong in underestimating the amount of time. It's been two-plus generations. And counting.

Anyone who blames “Democrats” for southern civil rights violations, without owning up to the fact that these folks make up the heart (or lack) of the modern GOP, is basically involved in a propaganda campaign. Right, Breitbart?

Duvall's right on one aspect of all this: “The Butler” was inaccurate. Worse, it wasn't very good.

The rest of Marlow Stern's Q&A, about Marlon Brando and Matthew McConaughey, Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman, is a lot of fun to read.

Robert Duvall, Republican

Robert Duvall signaling for quiet; or maybe a do-over on the VP choice.

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Posted at 12:50 PM on Thu. Mar 13, 2014 in category U.S. History  


Reed wrote:

My wife's from Argentina, too. But you don't see me taking every possible opportunity to mention it do you? Do you? Um, I mean... never mind, gauchos.

Comment posted on Fri. Mar 14, 2014 at 02:24 AM
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