Antonin Scalia is a character.
That much is clear from the highly engaging interview with the Supreme Court justice in New York this week. Some of his critics find his personality singularly grating. Personally, I can't help but find the man likable, and I came away from the interview thinking how fun it would be to debate him over a meal (perhaps focusing on his assumptions about executive power and the way they have, in my view, caused him and his colleagues to fail in one of their duties). That issue aside, one of his answers bothered me even as I liked others a lot.
Here's the exchange that occurred when Scalia was asked about his reading habits:
What’s your media diet? Where do you get your news?
Well, we get newspapers in the morning.
“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, usually.
Do you have a favorite?
You know who my favorite is? My good friend Bill Bennett. He’s off the air by the time I’m driving in, but I listen to him sometimes when I’m shaving. He has a wonderful talk show. It’s very thoughtful. He has good callers. I think they keep off stupid people.
This attitude drives me nuts.