How did Alec Baldwin‘s New York magazine screed against the news media, with particular aim at his former employer MSNBC, come about?

It was his own idea, according to Joe Hagan, the journalist who wrote the piece for Baldwin based on an interview the two had over lunch. Hagan described his role in the matter as “akin to a therapist.”

More from Capital New York:

HAGAN: I met Alec Baldwin 10 years ago at a party when I was a reporter for The New York Observer, but of course he had no idea who I was when he called me. A mutual colleague, who is a veteran reporter, called me out of the blue and asked if I’d be interested in collaborating with someone on a book or story about the media. I was ambivalent, but it turned out to be Alec Baldwin. I took a call from him the next day and I suggested we do a magazine story, either a profile or an as-told-to.

We didn’t become friends. Our relationship remained strictly professional. He asked about my life one time, over lunch, and listened respectfully, but that was it. I felt like my job was akin to a therapist, in that I was helping him explore what he thought and how best to say it. I never ended up articulating anything for him; I only prompted him to express himself about particular ideas, like the tabloid media and its impact on the media overall.

Full behind-the-scenes piece here.