Alec Baldwin and Bristol Palin Have Something Very Important in Common

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Alec Baldwin and Bristol Palin wouldn't seem to have that much in common: He's old, she's young, he's an accomplished actor, she's a politician's child, he inelegantly expresses left-wing politics ("I suppose if the offending paparazzi was wearing a hoodie and I shot him, it would all blow over..."), she inelegantly expresses right-wing politics ("Is this because you’re a homosexual?"). But they have something very important in common, something deep inside their souls. They cannot stop attacking the media while simultaneously making a living in media. Today, Alec Baldwin punched a photographer. Tonight, Bristol Palin will be seen selling telling her toddler, "Uh oh, there's a paparazzi!" while she's being filmed for her Lifetime reality show. 

Palin's fame is the explicit subject of the show. The words "AMERICA'S MOST FAMOUS TEEN MOM" move across the screen. Cameras flash. "I think it's weird having my life broadcast to everyone.," Palin says. Then we see clips of her staged conversation with her sister outside a coffee shop. The Washington Post's Hank Stuever reports Palin will also complain, "Even though it seemed like the media was trying to tear me down... my faith, my family and my friends held me up." She then does everything she possibly can to encourage the cameras to follow her:

At 21, Bristol decides, for no clear reason (besides footage), to leave Wasilla, Alaska, once more for another taste of life in Hollyweird, taking her adorably ­cherubic toddler son, Tripp, with her. Her intent is to volunteer at a religious-based charity called Help the Children. When she gets there, a worker gives her a Help the Children polo shirt and takes her on a tour of L.A.’s skid row, where Palin makes a lethargic attempt to appear even remotely interested. The charity work being done here is bizarrely inverse, in which a needy child of our political culture wars is helped by Help the Children to get airtime.

"Do you think our lives will ever be normal again?" Palin asks. She obviously hopes the answer is no.

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Baldwin has many more decades of experience manipulating and atagonizng the press. He's repeatedly floated running for mayor of New York City, telling Bloomberg in May, "Let’s see what things are like in 2014... I would love to do it… I would still like to consider doing that because I do a lot of this work now and I wonder what it would be like if I had a staff and budget to do it." And yet he acts extremely offended when reporters cover him doing a newsworthy thing, like getting a marriage license with his fiancee Hilaria Thomas on Tuesday. New York Daily News photographer Marcus Santos was standing with two other photographers when Baldwin approached. "He was looking mad,” Santos told his paper. “He said, ‘Step back, step back.’ I said, ‘We’re moving back.'" Baldwin punched Santos on the chin. He is not sorry. "A 'photographer' almost hit me in the face with his camera this morning. #allpaparazzishouldbewaterboarded," he tweeted. His publicist says the photographers rushed him. What would he do if they ever stopped?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.