Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had an interesting interview in New York Magazine this weekend. He discusses various topics including originalism, flogging and the devil. Learned a new word from him, ukase. He comes off brilliantly at times and smug and insular at other times. What I found most interesting was his choice of reading material, now largely limiting himself to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times.
What’s your media diet? Where do you get your news? Well, we get newspapers in the morning.I myself read the Wall Street Journal every chance I get. I borrow Ron's at coffee or read the few non subscriber articles at the online version of the WSJ. Great writers, some of the most cogent conservative minds. I often find myself agreeing with them. But the Washington Times? The Washington Times is a newspaper that Chief Moonie Sun Myung Moon put close to a billion dollars in to spread the word of god. You can read its sordid history here. If there was ever a biased, worthless rag it is the Washington Times.
“We” meaning the justices? No! Maureen and I.
Oh, you and your wife … I usually skim them. We just get The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times. We used to get the Washington Post, but it just … went too far for me. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
What tipped you over the edge? It was the treatment of almost any conservative issue. It was slanted and often nasty. And, you know, why should I get upset every morning? I don’t think I’m the only one. I think they lost subscriptions partly because they became so shrilly, shrilly liberal.
So no New York Times, either? No New York Times, no Post.And do you look at anything online? I get most of my news, probably, driving back and forth to work, on the radio.
Sometimes NPR. But not usually.
Talk guys? Talk guys, usually.
Our Justice is getting his information from a very narrow bandwidth. This intellectual integrity that he claims to champion would be much improved if he had more divergent sources to get his information. Although some consider me a liberal, I read Weekly Standard, Townhall and National Review every day and link to them and several other conservative media sources on my blog. Try to keep it honest. It is scary when we are so comfortably ensconced in a sympathetic echo chamber.
And then there's this priceless passage where Antonin appears to get offended:
Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil? You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.
I hope you weren’t sensing contempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that surprised me so much as how boldly you expressed it. I was offended by that. I really was.
... earlier you expressed your preference for conservative media, which itself can be isolating in its own way.
Oh, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon! [Laughs.] Social intercourse is quite different from those intellectual outlets I respect and those that I don’t respect. I read newspapers that I think are good newspapers, or if they’re not good, at least they don’t make me angry, okay? That has nothing to do with social intercourse. That has to do with “selection of intellectual fodder,” if you will.
When was the last party you went to that had a nice healthy dose of both liberals and conservatives?
Geez, I can’t even remember. It’s been a long time.