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Alec Baldwin forgets cardinal rule of celebrity vs. media battle

NEW YORK - MARCH 12:  Actor Alec Baldwattends The Roundabout Theatre 2012 Spring Gal'From Screen Stage' dinner auctiHammersteBallroom March

NEW YORK - MARCH 12: Actor Alec Baldwin attends The Roundabout Theatre 2012 Spring Gala "From Screen to Stage" dinner and auction at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

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Updated: May 13, 2012 10:28AM

The ever-mercurial actor Alec Baldwin often forgets one of the cardinal rules of the celebrity and/or media battle:

Always feud up.

If you’re a local broadcaster and some blogger for a media website rips into you, the best move is to ignore it. If you talk about the blogger on your TV show or you Tweet about the blogger, you’ve just increased his audience tenfold and made him very happy. He noticed me, he noticed me! I got to him, I got to him! By responding to him, you’re elevating him.

(We’re not saying you’re worth more as a human being. We’re talking about the size of your respective, um, platforms.)

If you’re a big-time TV star such as Alec Baldwin, you shouldn’t be engaging in battles with tabloid journalists. Of course you have the right to defend yourself and guard your privacy, and you have the right to take legal action if some article is clearly defamatory. Sometimes you have to fight back.

But for two decades, Baldwin has been mixing it up with various paparazzi and tabloid journalists, much to the delight of those paparazzi and tabloid journalists.

Maybe Liz Lemon can explain it to him

Alec Baldwin storms out of his house, smears your windshield with shaving cream and knocks your glasses off as he smacks your camera away? Publicity jackpot!

Alec Baldwin calls into Howard Stern’s show so he can wage a war of words with then Page Six columnist Richard Johnson? That’s a good day for Richard!

Alec Baldwin slams the New York Daily News reporters that crashed his fiance’s yoga class to take photos of her engagement ring, calling them “no-talent trash”? More sales and website hits for the Daily News!

Alec Baldwin gets into a Twitter feud with New York Post’s Andrea Peyser after Peyser wrote a snarky column about a wannabe actress accused of stalking Baldwin? Bingo! Follow-up column for Andrea.

Let’s be clear: I’m not defending the paparazzo who lurked outside Baldwin’s house in 1995, trying to get an exclusive shot of Baldwin, then-wife Kim Basinger and their new baby. Scumbag all the way. And you can understand why Baldwin would be infuriated to see the guy parked outside his home. That’s well beyond the “nobody forced you to become famous” excuse.

And the so-called reporters that snapped the blurry mobile phone photos of Baldwin’s fiance and her ring? Congratulations. You’re underneath the bottom of the barrel of your chosen profession.

But if Baldwin stays inside and lets a security person handle it, nobody would remember that incident from the 1990s. And if he ignores the scuzzy New York Daily News reporters and their “scoop,” it gets 1/10th the attention it received after he called one of them a “Snooki look-a-like” and said “Shame on you” on Twitter.

As for Peyer’s column: it’s riddled with personal shots, from calling Baldwin “the bloviating blowhard” to saying Baldwin’s alleged stalker is “evidently legally blind” to saying Baldwin “has a lot of explaining to do to his [fiance, a] young doormat-in-training. Run Hilaria!”

Even for an actor who has spent his entire adult life in the public eye, it has to be strange and upsetting to read such a column. But having just turned 54, Baldwin has to know nothing good can come of responding publicly — yet he Tweeted, “You won’t find a writer more casual with the truth in all of journalism than Andrea Peyser.” The gleeful Peyser responded with another full column expressing her joy at being singled out by Baldwin, writing, “Alec Baldwin — my life. My love. My soul mate. My supersized forbidden fruit!”

Hacky as her columns might be, Peyser gets it. When you get a chance to feud up, you run with it.

Especially when you’re going up against a guy who just can’t resist feuding down.

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