Alec Baldwin made news yesterday by sharing thoughts about his firing last year from MSNBC after having uttered something nasty and homophobic at a paparazzo. Most of the stuff in New York Magazine was typical Baldwin, protesting about his support for gay rights, blasting detractors and romanticizing the good old days when privacy existed.
He also addressed his short-lived tenure at MSNBC, which ended his run of Friday-night broadcasts over the paparazzo incident.
Once they fired me, a former MSNBC employee I knew emailed me. He said, “You watch now, Phil is going to start leaking left and right to bury you.” When I left, “Page Six” was flooded with lies about me. Another told me, regarding the “toxic little queen” comment, that Rachel Maddow was the prime mover in my firing, as she was aghast that I had been hired and viewed me as equivalent to Mel Gibson. Another source told me, “You know who’s going to get you fired, don’t you? Rachel. Phil will do whatever Rachel tells him to do.” I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does. I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.
Ah, once again: The Rachel-Maddow-runs-MSNBC narrative. In December, the New York Post picked up that same strain, reporting, “A colleague who has been at MSNBC for many years is said to have told Baldwin, ‘You ticked off the wrong person. You don’t know how things work here.’ ”
And a National Review article last month touted Maddow’s impact on personnel decisions at MSNBC — not only, say, the Baldwin episode but also the end of Martin Bashir’s MSNBC tenure following his abhorrent remarks about Sarah Palin. The story includes this graph:
Behind her back, colleagues call her “the queen,” a not so subtle suggestion that Maddow gets what Maddow wants. And what she wants is a network filled with young wonks such as Chris Hayes, Ezra Klein, Alex Wagner, and Harris-Perry, whose highbrow intellectualism can, she hopes, push the Democratic party, and the country, to the left. On Twitter, Harris-Perry’s show proudly uses the hashtag #nerdland. Alex Wagner’s move to the 4 p.m. hour, where Bashir’s show once aired, has Maddow’s fingerprints on it.
When the allegations surfaced, Maddow (who writes a monthly column for The Post) told the Erik Wemple Blog via a spokesperson: “This is categorically false. I have never had any role in any management decision at MSNBC. Any source who says otherwise is wrong.”
Strong denial. Weird denial, too — prompted by snarky suggestions that there’s something untoward about a woman with a proven record at the workplace acquiring influence with managers. When most people reach that stage — particularly when they’re men — they’re referred to as “leaders.”