On Sunday evening, award-winning actor and prominent left-wing activist Alec Baldwin announced that he was leaving “public life”–and blamed “Roger Ailes. And Fox. And Breitbart.” In an extended rant to Joe Hogan, posted on vulture.com and published in New York magazine, Baldwin recounted his run-ins with paparazzi, his gay slur controversies, and his ill-fated talk show on MSNBC–but he reserved special resentment for Breitbart.
“There is a core of outlets that are pushing these stories out. Breitbart clutters the blogosphere with ‘Alec Baldwin, he’s the Devil, he’s Fidel Baldwin,'” Baldwin claimed. “….And this is all about hate. It’s Hate Incorporated. But the liberals have taken the bait and run in the same direction–and it’s just as corrosive. MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of s***, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin’s attack against Breitbart is a non sequitur, coming at the end of a long tale of betrayal by Hollywood, the left, and the mainstream media.
He blames TMZ founder Harvey Levin, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, for what he says is a false claim that he used a gay slur against a photographer. He says actor Shia LeBeouf ruined his Broadway ambitions. He claims MSNBC president Phil Griffin “couldn’t give a flying f*** about content.”
And then, out of the blue, he blames Breitbart.
“In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day….But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy. You’re that guy that says this. There is a core of outlets that are pushing these stories out. Breitbart clutters the blogosphere with ‘Alec Baldwin, he’s the Devil, he’s Fidel Baldwin.'”
Actually, Baldwin was plenty mean to Andrew Breitbart himself, during his lifetime.
In February 2012, after Breitbart drew attention to the pattern of rapes and sexual assaults at Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy camps–a left-wing protest movement Baldwin supported enthusiastically–Baldwin tweeted that “Andrew Breitbart is a festering boil on the anus of public discourse.” He continued his abuse following Breitbart’s death.
The irony is that Breitbart would have been the one man who could have empathized with, and explained, the liberal media’s betrayal of Baldwin.
Baldwin was never sold out by Breitbart, by Ailes, by Fox or anyone else in the conservative media. He was abused by the left, which embraced him in 2008 when he was part of Tina Fey’s comedic assault on Sarah Palin, only to dump him when his antics became a convenient political target.
In contrast, Breitbart treated Baldwin like a serious opponent. For example, he challenged Baldwin to explain how his Capital One endorsements squared with his Occupy Wall Street sympathies.
No one on the left was ever that up front with Baldwin, or took his opinion seriously enough to interrogate its foundations. They just exploited his celebrity to help Barack Obama–and, truth be told, he exploited them, too, to claw his way back from tabloid scorn to artistic respectability.
He deserved the spotlight, as one of the great comedic actors. But he knew Hollywood mocked his private life. So he embraced their politics–and now they have shut him out of that, too.
And so Baldwin faces them alone–needlessly, because he has not permitted himself, even now, to see beyond their prejudices.
“Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible,” he says. Andrew felt the same way. But Andrew had the guts to fight.