The Daily Beast published a remarkable conversation between its incorrigible entertainment editor Marlow Stern and actor Jamie Kennedy, a pro-abortion centrist who took a role in the new “Roe v. Wade” film. Their interview was remarkable as an embarrassing display of Stern’s journalistic conduct, badgering Kennedy into a weird struggle session the Beast was pleased enough to publish instead of deleting in horror.
Stern has long used his post at the Beast to enforce the cultural left’s radical standards of political correctness on the entertainment world. His back-and-forth with Kennedy was a perfect representation of the cultural left’s approach to art and all of its faults.
“Like I said, I’m just an actor,” Kennedy conceded early in the interview. “You do hear one thing in the media, and then you hear another thing when we’re on set. A woman and a man made this movie together—they’re co-directors—and whatever people write about Nick, he’s done nothing but treat me with the utmost respect. And Cathy is a level-headed, intelligent person.”
Nevertheless, Stern proceeded to insist actors come to movies with total expertise on a given topic and total agreement with every facet of the message, chiding Kennedy for his alleged failure to uphold those standards for “Roe v. Wade.” It’s so condescending for a take that’s also so wrong.
Amid Stern’s needling over the movie’s pro-life message, Kennedy explained he did the film because he liked the role and the project seemed to offer fresh perspective. Stern then proceeded to conduct a confident but shoddy fact check, rolling out the familiar statistic that “abortion is only 3 percent of what Planned Parenthood does” to argue “[t]he idea that Planned Parenthood is raking in money due to abortions is a lie.” Of course, there’s also the context that about a third of the organization’s clinical income comes from abortion procedures.
At one point, Stern asserts, “Late-term abortions are rarely practiced, and really only usually done if the health of the mother or fetus are at risk.” Kennedy replies, “The people on this film will tell you different.”
“Rare” is, of course, ultimately relative to whether you consider the intentional deaths of thousands of babies every year to be a large or small scale. Relative to overall abortions? Yes, it’s rare. Relative to what should be happening in a just and healthy society? It’s way too common. Stern, by the way, is also incorrect that it’s “only usually done if the health of the mother or fetus are at risk,” even by the legacy media’s fact-checking standards.
Check out this exchange, which comes after an extended period of Stern’s attempted fact-checking and shaming of Kennedy for contributing to the film:
I think you have been sold a false bill of goods here.
This seems to be a pretty insidious right-wing propaganda film that you’ve found yourself in.
And I didn’t realize that. And now I gotta deal with it. My agent was like, ‘Oh, you’ve gotta do this,’ and I kind of got put in it. I don’t know… I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Do you stand by the final product?
I have to watch it again. I haven’t seen it in a long time. I like my performance in it. I have to see if there are real facts in it.
Aside from the film’s mediocrity, Kennedy has nothing to feel badly about. If the movie had turned out as well as he’d hoped, it would indeed offer a powerful and necessary new perspective on a compelling piece of our history. That’s an ambition and a bravery more artists should apply to their work.
Instead, Kennedy was badgered and shamed by a guy with a master’s degree from Columbia University’s vaunted journalism school, who seems to have spent a lot of money learning to produce shoddy fact-checks of comedians like they’re shoe-leather triumphs.