Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast seems to be upset with a piece on Breitbart’s Big Hollywood, claiming the article is part of a right-wing smear campaign against actress Kristen Stewart for comments she made about how badly the US is prosecuting the War on Terror. But in claiming Breitbart was “insane” and just “trolling,” Stern himself stretched the truth.
The Breitbart Big Hollywood piece that drew Stern’s ire was written by Kelli Serio and titled, “Kirsten Stewart Trashes the Military, Defends 9/11 Terrorists in ‘Camp X-Ray’ Interview.”
In the original interview cited by Breitbart’s Serio, Stewart made several eyebrow raising points, chief of which was the claim that the US military has mistreated the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility because “we all just people.”
In his attack on Breitbart, Stern called the article a “truly insane, trolltastic, click-bait” piece, said it was “incendiary,” and charged straight out that Serio “twisted Stewart’s quotes around and recontextualized them to align with their agenda.”
The Daily Beast writer’s main complaint seems to be that Serio purposefully misreported the fact that some of Stewart’s replies were from the point of view of her character, not her own personal opinion.
However, right at the top of Serio’s piece, in the first quote from the actress that Serio uses, is the full context that Stewart is talking about her character.
But it is also clear looking at Stern’s Daily Beast attack on Serio that Stewart does not limit her responses to Stern’s questions solely in terms of what her character thinks.
Stewart drifted in and out of her character’s mindset, but based much of her replies in general terms of how people should think, how they should feel, and what they should do about the facility in Cuba and its inhabitants.
For instance, in the original interview, Stern made an assertion of his own. “The mistake we make is not viewing these detainees down there as people, too. We’re all people,” he said in perfect PC tone.
It appears that Stern, at least, thinks that the detainees are are being mistreated by American forces.
In response and taking this bait, Stewart did not reply from her character’s point of view. She responded in general terms.
“That is essentially so fucking evil, it’s crazy,” the actress said emphatically. “It’s a ridiculous idea for you to think that you know anything for sure in life–other than to take care of your fellow people. Where the fuck do you get off thinking otherwise?”
Stewart went on to note that this was a point that is for everyone, not just her character. “These two people couldn’t be from more different worlds and perspectives, and probably disagree fundamentally on most things, but there’s a through-line for all of us–and that’s what people forget, and that’s what makes people capable of doing terrible things to each other. What makes you different from any other person that walks the earth?” she said.
Clearly Stewart was saying that even though Americans come from “different worlds” than the detainees in Guantanamo, we are “all people,” so ultimately that doesn’t make us any different from each other.
This is good, liberal boilerplate. We are all the same, no one’s ideology is better than anyone else’s, and we should all just live in peace and harmony. This is common among those who want to pretend that 9/11 never happened or those who want to pretend terrorism is caused by America’s actions, not that of Islamic terrorists.
So, while Stern is correct that some of Stewart’s replies in their interview were from the point of view of the character she plays in her upcoming film, it is not true that all of her comments were from that perspective. Stewart clearly ranged farther afield from what her movie character might think and edged into how we should all feel about the War on Terror.
In the end, in an attempt to attack the “right-wing crusade” he is so upset about, Stern overstates his case and himself takes Stewart out of context to fit his personal agenda.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.