The Players: Alec Baldwin, star of 30 Rock who may or may not have hopes of becoming New York City's next mayor; Michelle Malkin, conservative columnist, author and Fox New Channel contributor
The Opening Serve: Yesterday on Twitter, Alec Baldwin tweeted updates to the Troy Davis execution--from the SCOTUS decision not to grant the stay to Davis's execution at 11:08 p.m.--along with his personal commentary of the death penalty. "US Death Penalty humiliates us in the eyes of much of the world," he tweeted after it was announced Davis would die in the next hour. "When Do Cheney and Rumsfeld go on trial for murder? Will that trial be in Texas?" Shortly before Davis's death, Malkin tweeted: "Waiting for Hollyweird @alecbaldwin's "I am Troy Davis" tweet," poking fun at quote made by Representative Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia. Baldwin responded with a couple of tweets, the first comparing Malkin to Palin. This tweet was fired right after the Palin comparison:
The Return Volley: Malkin didn't back down, responding to Baldwin and his question with a "
#RIPMARKMACPHAIL" hashtag. She also wrote, "So #RIPTROYDAVIS is trending, but #RIPMARKMCPHAIL is not. You can help fix that." Baldwin then turned to the power of the people. "Everyone tweet that great thinker @michellemalkin," he wrote. "And ask her what killing a potentially innocent man does to make you safer." This being Twitter, Malkin received a barrage of messages, and retweeted a few racist ones--pegging them to Baldwin's call to action. "@AlecBaldwin Direct your minions' ire/rage/profanity/racism/sexism at the US Supreme Court, not me," she wrote, spurring an even bigger push from Baldwin:
Malkin re-tweeted that message along with the ensuing racist tweets directed at her referencing (but not limited to) noodles, nail salons, the color of her skin and death threats. "Again with the nail salon slur...another supreme @alecbaldwin follower," she wrote linking to a tweet referencing her Asian background. "ICYMI[in case you missed it]: Here's @alecbaldwin dragging the MacPhail family into his Bush Derangement Syndrome ran," she tweeted linking to a message Baldwin wrote that said: "Wonder if the McPhail family will seek death penalty for US leaders who killed thousands of US soldiers and countless innocent Iraqis." And even with a night's rest, the two were at it this morning (and possibly will be pursuing this at the time this post goes up). "I wonder if @michellemalkin will push the needle in herself on a man the former FBI director said might have reasonable doubt on his side," Baldwin wrote shortly before 9:30 this morning. Here's the Malkin response:
Baldwin's parting quip? A play on Malkin's Twitter bio: "I'm gettin' this all wrong. Gotta chg my profile to: "Mom, conservative blogger, my shoe size is 6!" And Malkin's: "Good news, H8ers! I'm offline the rest of the morning. Carry on w/chink jokes, death threats..."
What They Say They're Fighting About: Troy Davis's execution.
What They're Really Fighting About: A bit about Troy Davis, but it's more about politics, hypocrisy of both parties keeping up appearances, and a little spotlight hijacking. While both tweet concern about the injustices in the Davis execution, they both are parlaying his death into an opportunity to attack the other's political party (Democratic insensitivity to the MacPhail family, Republican insensitivity to the death of possibly innocent man, etc.). The fact that they're still at it and not backing down is more of an attempt keeping their public personas and political posturing--Malkin a staunch conservative pundit and Baldwin a liberal, comedic actor--than actually trying to change the other's mind.
Who's Winning Now: Baldwin has the numbers, but there's nothing to be proud of in this fight. Baldwin has almost 200,000 more followers than Malkin which means he has a bigger audience and the bigger name. But the fight has gotten so nasty (death threats, racism, etc.) that the partisan mud-slinging really cheapens any lessons the American public could have learned from Davis's execution or the points that Baldwin and Malkin try to make. You know, something or anything regarding laws, integrity, the victims, the American justice system? But then again, that's not what either had in mind, right?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.