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Alec Baldwin Gets Another Free Pass

Alec Baldwin: King Of The Double Standard
It’s official. We’ve hit “rock” bottom.
No, it’s not the debt ceiling debacle or Obamacare’s snafu. It’s much worse.
Alec Baldwin has threatened (yet again) to leave show business.
Upset that paparazzi are following him, he has stated he may exit stage “Left” in order to protect his family.
And yes, we are to blame.  “This country’s obsession with the private lives of famous people is tragic….in the sense that it is so clearly a projection of people’s frustration about their government, their economy, their own spiritual bankruptcy….you have no voice in Washington.”
Although Baldwin’s psychobabble is indecipherable, since he’s a Hollywood actor, everything he says must be true.
Which leads us to the real reason for Baldwin’s troubles: himself.
Typical of one who exudes monumental arrogance, Baldwin fails to see that he is not just woefully inconsistent in his criticisms, but worse, is incredibly hypocritical. Let’s review:
1. First and foremost, Baldwin is the ultimate phony. During a rant this week, he screamed at a cameraman, but went beyond his normally obnoxious self by reportedly hurling a homophobic slur at him, which is not the first time Baldwin has crossed that line.
First he denied saying it, but then played the murky I’m-not-exactly-sure-what-I-said line. But let’s put it this way: it was clearly offensive enough for CNN’s openly-gay Anderson Cooper to tweet, “…Baldwin has shown his true colors again… How is he going to lie and excuse his anti-gay slurs this time?” Numerous gay-rights groups also condemned Baldwin, including one that called on him to "end this pattern of anti-gay slurs…Mr. Baldwin can’t lend his support for equality on paper, while degrading gay people in practice," the GLAAD organization said. 
(Earlier this year, another photographer claimed Baldwin called him the “N” word).
Kudos to them for calling Baldwin out, because, ironically, the very media that Baldwin regularly lambasts has given him a free pass, evidence of what is clearly a double-standard if one happens to be a liberal. Since Baldwin is an unabashed Leftist, too many in Hollywood and the media look the other way when he utters inexcusable slurs. But woe to the Right-leaning actor or politician who does the same, as calls for his head would lead every national newscast. Mel Gibson is a good example.
And that hypocrisy is exactly why the Left has such a difficult time connecting with average Americans. 
When one of your own leaves the reservation by doing something completely out-of-line, he needs to be hammered, taken to task for his transgression and publicly reprimanded. Doing so demonstrates a principled stance that earns credibility, but turning a blind eye destroys any semblance of integrity.
Ethnic and homophobic slurs are unacceptable no matter who says them, but as one who --- in front of the media spotlight, no less --- professes to embrace diversity and gay-rights, Baldwin’s continued insults to those communities make his sins that much worse.
Maybe that’s why his new show on MSNBC has been shelved for several weeks, and possibly forever --- not just because of his insensitivities, but because Baldwin’s lack of credibility seems to have led to a lack of followers.  The numbers speak for themselves: he lost a massive 41 percent of the highly-sought adult audience (aged 25-54) in the last month.
So is Baldwin leaving show business, or is it leaving him?
2) Let’s get this straight. Baldwin owes his lucrative career to getting his picture taken via movies, TV shows and credit card commercials. Yet he’s contemplating leaving the industry because … he’s getting his picture taken?  Help me out on that one.
Ultra-sensitive actors like Baldwin need to get over themselves and grow up. You don’t like the paparazzi taking pictures of you and your family?  Tough. That’s part of the gig --- a gig, by the way, that pays you more than most would earn in a hundred lifetimes. The nature of show business has always been life in a fish bowl, and that will only increase in this age of instant communication. Actors know that going in, so either deal with it, reap the immense rewards and don’t complain, or shut up and walk away permanently.  There are no other options.
But these actors can’t have it both ways.  They can’t parade themselves and their families in front of the cameras whenever convenient in order to promote something, live in the world of social media, share every thought and then, in the same breath, pillory the very entities that make them rich and famous by crying that their “privacy” is invaded.
It’s a free country, and the paparazzi have a job to do. So long as they don’t break the law, its time for celebrities to stop bashing and accept that dealing with them is a big part of the job description.
3) For all of Baldwin’s complaints about the paparazzi, his actions only intensify their interest in keeping tabs on him. They (and we) don’t really give a hoot about an increasingly washed-up actor, but the possibility of catching Baldwin making a fool of himself on tape --- and yes, uttering bigoted slurs --- is downright irresistible. 
If he would simply smile at the photogs, buy them lunch now and then, talk to (not scream at) them, and generally not act like a horse’s patoot every time he sees them, human nature is such that they wouldn’t badger or bait him nearly as much. But all Baldwin does is fan the flames. The problem isn’t the paparazzi. It’s the person Baldwin sees in the mirror.
But we needn’t worry too much longer, because when Chris Christie becomes President, Baldwin will undoubtedly be moving (back?) to France.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can   be reached at

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