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Monday, July 01, 2013

Alec Baldwin's Easy Explanation

In the last few days, Alec Baldwin once again displayed his need for anger management classes by going after a British tabloid reporter for reporting that Baldwin's wife, Hilaria, had tweeted while the couple attended James Gandolfini's funeral last Thursday. Once George Stark's story was published by The Daily Mail, Baldwin took to Twitter to blast him with over-the-top profanity-laced tweets, at one point going so far as to say, "I want all of my followers and beyond to straighten out this [f-ing] little bitch." That's over the line enough that even Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, and Lindsay Lohan would suggest Baldwin calm down.

But I think I know what happened here.

I use a web service called Hootsuite to post many of my own tweets, because it includes two indispensable features I use regularly: 1) a URL shortener, useful on a service limited to 140 characters; and 2) the ability to schedule tweets ahead of time. For instance, on Friday night, I can schedule tweets for Saturday morning promoting the guests I'll have on my America Weekend radio show. If I did it directly on Twitter's site or app, they'd post immediately, but with Hootsuite, they'll appear later at whatever time I choose. I can do the same with items I post on this website.

If Hilaria was using Hootsuite (or a similar service) to post items about her upcoming Rachel Ray show appearance or whatever, that's an easy explanation for why the tweets were time-stamped in the period when she was at the funeral. The same would be true if Hilaria has an assistant who handles some of her social media outreach when the boss is otherwise occupied. If that's the case, all Baldwin And Wife had to do was reveal that information to the press and George Stark would have looked foolish for trying to make them look bad, and it would have been End Of Story.

Instead, Baldwin went ballistic, tossed in a few homophobic slurs for which he's since had to apologize, and gave the story several more news cycles of negative exposure.

I've always liked Baldwin. He's a terrific actor, a very good sketch comedian/host on "SNL," a pretty good interviewer on his "Here's The Thing" podcast, and a money-in-the-bank talk show guest. But he's nearly as famous for his blowups, and I can't help but wonder how much damage he does to himself with his shoot-first-blame-the-messenger explosions.

He's no Paula Deen, but it's probably a good thing he's suspended his Twitter account again.