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From the January 1999 MediaWatch

Baldwin Wanted Hyde Stoned?

Actor Alec Baldwin may have meant it as a humorous skit when he railed about stoning Henry Hyde to death, but even after he apologized and a leading entertainment industry figure condemned him, the mainstream media never highlighted his outburst.

On the December 11 Late Night with Conan O’Brien the NBC host wrapped up his interview with Baldwin by asking about Clinton’s plight. Baldwin replied:

"They voted on one article of impeachment already. And I come back from Africa to stained dresses and cigars and this and impeachment. I am thinking to myself, in other countries they are laughing at us 24 hours a day and I’m thinking to myself, if we were in other countries, we would all right now, all of us together, [starts to shout] all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would stone him to death! [crowd cheers] Wait! Shut up! Shut up! No shut up! I’m not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and we’d kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families. [stands up, yelling] What is happening in this country? What is happening? UGHHH!"

Cutting to the supposed punch line, O’Brien then jumped up and put an air mask over Baldwin’s mouth to calm him down. Now, substitute the name Al Gore or Hillary Clinton for Henry Hyde and the name of a conservative for Baldwin. What would have been the reaction from the major networks?

In this case: nothing, not even after the Washington Post reported that "Baldwin said the exchange was a parody mocking the sanctimony of representatives...and that he was sorry Hyde took it badly. ‘In the current supercharged climate there’s no room for this kind of glibness,’ he said."A December 21 Post item by TV columnist Lisa de Moraes relayed how Jack Valenti, President of the Motion Picture Association of America, wrote Baldwin: "However it was said it’s not something you use as a joke, it’s not something you parody. This is incendiary."

FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume played a RealPlayer clip of it from the MRC Web page and Rush Limbaugh alerted his listeners. After the December 20 Fox News Sunday showed an excerpt of Baldwin’s outburst, Brit Hume observed: "I think it was not in earnest. On the other hand, I don’t think the thought would have occurred to him to say it on that show if it hadn’t occurred to him otherwise."





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