Alec Baldwin Skewers the Journalists He Hates on ‘Law & Order: SVU’

After quitting public life, Alec Baldwin returned to television Wednesday night, playing an alcoholic journalist with questionable ethics on Law & Order: SVU. In other words, he played his own worst nightmare.

The episode, called “Criminal Stories,” was notable not only for Baldwin’s appearance, but because it was directed by SVU star Mariska Hargitay herself. In the episode, Baldwin played his own fantasy of how the media works. He was a dangerous and ethic-free writer with the power to sway New York’s public opinion with a single article.

Throughout, Baldwin’s character proved to be dangerous. He writes front page stories only loosely based on fact that endanger a Muslim rape victim. He is brash, careless and irresponsible; Jimmy Mac is who Alec Baldwin thinks the media has become. His motto is, “Jimmy Mac don’t retract, he don’t apologize, he don’t explain.” Because this is a procedural, by the end of the episode, Mac has a change of heart, writing an indictment of the privileged rapists and his newspaper’s unethical practices. The new Jimmy Mac is Baldwin’s personal opinion of how the media should be.

Despite having trashed MSNBC and, by association, its parent company NBCUniversal in the pages of New York magazine, Baldwin got a full hour of NBC’s primetime last night to air out his gripes about modern journalism and journalistic ethics.