Friday, April 09, 2004

SCALIA'S LATEST QUACK-UP. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia is a disgrace. You already knew that. But his latest, which resulted in a federal marshal confiscating a tape from one reporter and deleting the memory from another's digital recorder, ought to make all of us shudder at his arrogance.

On Wednesday, Scalia spoke to a group of high-school students in Mississippi. Apparently Scalia has a longstanding policy against having his words recorded, and that policy never trickled down to two reporters.

The Washington Post's Charles Lane explains what happened next:

As Scalia was addressing an afternoon assembly at the Presbyterian Christian High School in Hattiesburg, Deputy U.S. Marshal Melanie Rube confronted the journalists and told them they must erase their recordings because they violated the justice's policy against audio- or videotaping of his public appearances.

After Associated Press reporter Denise Grones balked, the marshal took her digital recorder and erased its contents - after Grones explained how the machine worked. The marshal also asked Hattiesburg American reporter Antoinette Konz to hand over a cassette tape and returned it, erased, after the event.

What's particularly despicable is that the US Marshals Service is apparently trying to hang Rube out to dry. Lane quotes David Turner, a spokesman for the service, as saying, "Justice Scalia did not instruct the deputy to take that action." Farther down, though, Lane writes: "She had been instructed to enforce Scalia's policy during preparations for his visit, Turner added." (I'm assuming that Lane means David Turner; in between he introduces an Ed Turner, who is a spokesman for the Supreme Court.)

In other words, Scalia didn't want his words recorded, Rube well understood that she was supposed to make sure his wishes were followed, but Rube's superiors won't give her a pass for doing what she had clearly been instructed to do.

Scalia should personally and publicly apologize to Denise Grones and Antoinette Konz for his idiotic demands, which are in direct contravention of what we should expect in a free society. And he should apologize to Melanie Rube for putting her in an impossible situation.

WHY PEOPLE HATE THE MEDIA, PART CCXIV. Knight Ridder reports that CBS is trying to put together a show that would attempt to find abducted children. The show would take "viewers along on an emotional and life-changing ride, from the abduction to the search in all its intensity to the reunion of child and parents."

No comments: