Antonin Scalia Rejects News That Doesn’t Fit His Worldview. Just Like the Rest of Us.

In a new interview, the Supreme Court justice knocks <em>The New York Times</em> and <em>The Washington Post</em>.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia takes part in an interview with Chris Wallace on 'FOX News Sunday' at the FOX News D.C. Bureau on July 27, 2012.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Oct. 7, 2013, 7:59 a.m.

Su­preme Court Justice Ant­on­in Scalia pays no mind to the shrill, lib­er­al me­dia. But he will hap­pily listen to con­ser­vat­ive ra­dio talk shows. 

Which means that in his self-se­lect­ing me­dia diet, the Su­preme Court justice is just like the rest of us. Scalia is both a self-de­scribed con­ser­vat­ive and someone who evid­ently be­lieves that there is fer­vent lib­er­al bi­as in two of the coun­try’s most stor­ied news­pa­pers. Those views put him squarely among a group of people who pick and chose news sources that sup­port their ideo­lo­gic­al be­liefs.

Here’s the full rel­ev­ant quote from Scalia’s fas­cin­at­ing in­ter­view with New York Magazine:

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.

Not NPR?

Some­times NPR. But not usu­ally.

Talk guys?

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.

John Sides, a George Wash­ing­ton Uni­versity polit­ic­al sci­ence pro­fess­or and blog­ger over at The Mon­key Cage, broke down some 2010 Pew data on me­dia con­sump­tion to piece to­geth­er how people who dis­trust the me­dia are more likely to have a me­dia diet that con­firms their polit­ic­al be­liefs.

The data, in chart form:

The 2012 Pew me­dia con­sump­tion data finds that The New York Times may fit in here as well, with a lar­ger than av­er­age num­ber of lib­er­al read­ers and a lower than av­er­age num­ber of con­ser­vat­ive read­ers, with only very few Re­pub­lic­ans. Con­ser­vat­ive talk-ra­dio hosts such as Sean Han­nity and Rush Limbaugh have audi­ences dom­in­ated by Re­pub­lic­ans and con­ser­vat­ives.

While Scalia’s me­dia diet may be com­mon for people who think like he does, it’s not par­tic­u­larly up­lift­ing. No mat­ter what you think about me­dia bi­as in The Wash­ing­ton Post or The New York Times, they are two of the dom­in­ant sources of journ­al­ism in the world, as this (apolit­ic­al) Times story and this (apolit­ic­al) Post story from today demon­strate. And no mat­ter what you think about Ant­on­in Scalia, he’s pretty ob­vi­ously a massively smart hu­man be­ing. But when some of the smarter people out there re­fuse to read some of the smarter journ­al­ism out there, every­one loses. 

What We're Following See More »
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
HAS BEEN OFF OF NEWSCASTS FOR A WEEK
For First Debate, Holt Called on NBC Experts for Prep
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE PROMISES VETO
House Votes to Bar Cash Payments to Iran
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."

Source:
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
×