Does the press need to make an appointment with Alec Baldwin?

TVNewser | NPPA | "Late Show with David Letterman"

Alec Baldwin told Charlie Rose that his confrontation with photographer Marcus Santos, recorded for posterity on the front page of the Daily News, occurred because he's frustrated by photographers' consistently poor etiquette:

In this business, the modern era, all of us, we make appointments with the press. ... We make ourselves available as an obligation per our contract to our employers to represent the product and help to sell the product. And then I walk out the door, that's over. When the guy jumps out of the bushes with a camera and tries to take a picture of my kid, they want to say to you, "Well, here's another appointment you have with the press."

NPPA lawyer Mickey Osterreicher said Baldwin doesn't get to set the rules for everyday encounters with representatives of the media:

Whether you like it or not, you are a public figure involved in a newsworthy event. And as you well know from your lifetime of celebrity public life, there is no expectation of privacy on a public street. ...

I do not know whether those you attacked have filed assault charges, but I hope they do. Because until you and others like you are held accountable for your actions, this supposed “open season” on photographers will unfortunately continue. It is all too easy to denigrate working journalists by calling them “paparazzi,” but not all photographers deserve that demeaning title, just as all actors are not boors or bullies.

Santos has filed a criminal complaint, according to the Daily News.

Famous people navigate New York City streets every day (Must I drag out my story about the time I saw Garry Shandling outside the Flatiron Barnes & Noble?) without much hassle or, as one witness to the Baldwin incident put it, "eruption of mad."

Still, it's probably hard for us regular schmoes to comprehend Baldwin's irritation at photographers, which seems to have intensified now that he's shoved one. Fortunately, other celebrities understand. Keith Olbermann tweeted his support for Baldwin after he complained on Twitter that post-incident, "15-20 cameramen outside my bldg this am, chasing me on my bike. They're knocking into ppl on the street, yelling 'Will you seek help, Alec?' "

A producer for "Inside Edition" says Baldwin ran over her foot with his bike during that unscheduled appointment. "I am told I ran over someone's foot on my bike today," Baldwin tweeted. "I think it was that person who placed their foot under the wheel of my bike."

On CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman," Baldwin joked about what word that starts with F he was saying in the photograph. "I think you can see I'm forming the letter 'F' with my mouth. And what I'm saying is, I said to him as I walked up to him, I said, 'What F-stop are you on with the camera?' " I think a better joke might have been: "I was in the middle of telling him I didn't see his name in my Filofax."

Baldwin has asked his Twitter followers to call the Daily News and thank them for bringing "that Murdoch touch" to the newspaper. A few minutes later he tweeted, "I took my daughter to breakfast this morning. And ten 'photojournalists' who work on my block."

Remember when he was in love with newspapers?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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