Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Media Targets Rev. Wright, Not Justice Scalia

It's a good thing for the Pekinese of the press, as Jimmy Breslin calls them, that Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago is running around making politically inflammatory remarks. If they didn't have him to target, they might have to talk about Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court, who is making some pretty wild remarks of his own to the press, and getting a free pass even though, unlike Wright, Scalia has power.

Scalia is hawking his new book about law. That's an important book, because he is a learned guy. On last Sunday's broadcast, 60 Minutes asked the Justice about the Supreme Court's role in the 2000 presidential election. "Get over it," he explained.

In a discussion about torture and the protection of the Constitution from cruel and unusual punishment, Scalia said that interrogation is not "punishment", because the person hasn't done anything wrong, so this protection does not apply.

In other words, you can torture someone, or inflict cruel and unusual treatment, as long as the person is completely innocent of anything. Because then it's not punishment. Because they didn't do anything to be punished for. So, torture away.

The framers of the Constitution probably never figured a mind like Scalia's could ever get within striking distance of it. But here he is.

Meanwhile, the press is busy following Jeremiah Wright, as if he were on the Supreme Court, or running for office.

Lesley Stahl interviewed Scalia for 60 Minutes. You would think she might have had a critical word to say about Scalia's dismissive remarks and dangerous rhetoric. She didn't. She referred to him as a great intellect. Straight-faced.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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