Scalia and O'Malley: It's not the crime, it's the cover-up

OK, kids, what was the #1 lesson of Watergate? "Everybody else did it too"? Nope. "Whatever you do, don't get caught"? Uh-uh. Don't recall? It's this: "It's not the crime that sinks you, it's covering it up." Nixon's White House learned that lesson the hard way. Today it seems that our leaders need to learn the same lesson again.

This Sunday, at a special mass for lawyers, Peter Smith a freelance photographer -- an assistant professor of photojournaism at BU, who also works for "The Pilot" the Archdiocesan newspaper -- caught Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia demonstating the Sicilian version of "The Bird" inside the Boston Cathedral of the Holy Cross. To make his meaning perfectly clear, Scalia explained that the gesture meant "Vaffanculo" which is Sicilian for wishing that a very, very wicked thing happen to your bum-bum.

So guess who got fired today. The Supreme Court justice who flipped off a cameraman yards away from a relic of the True Cross -- and then lied about it to cover his butt? Ot the photographer who told the truth and released the photo?

Give up? read on!!
The Boston Herald, by Marie Szaniszlo, Thursday, March 30, 2006
The freelance photographer fired from his job at a Catholic Church newspaper for releasing a picture of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia making a controversial gesture in church has garnered support from across the country for “doing the right thing.”

Peter Smith said he’s received dozens of e-mails from across the country praising him for standing up to “big institutions.”

“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Smith said last night.

The Archdiocese of Boston’s weekly newspaper, The Pilot, told Smith it would no longer use his services after he released the photograph to, in his words, “set the record straight.” The picture ran on the Herald’s front page Thursday and was circulated on the Internet and shown on national TV.

Smith captured Scalia flicking his hand under his chin after a Herald reporter asked his response to people who question his impartiality on matters of church and state. The conservative jurist told Smith, “You’re not going to print that, are you?”

Later, Scalia said the Herald mischaracterized his gesture as obscene.

That’s when Smith decided to release it. Smith, who had freelanced regularly for the Catholic paper for 10 years, said the Herald had gotten the story right.


The Pilot said it made a “journalistic decision” not to publish or release the photograph. However, Smith said he owned the photo itself. Aly Colon of the Poynter Institute in Florida said the church isn’t going to see things the way a journalist would. “They will have a different perspective,” Colon said.

Would it have been so hard for Scalia to say, "You know, this was the wrong place to say that. I'm sorry." We at The Cranky Catholic (who have made our own share of inappropriate and embarrassiong comments) would have understood. And forgiven!!

Instead, let's rewite Scripture, shall we? None of this pinko liberal "The Truth shall set you free" nonsense. Here we go:


Cardinal Sean, welcome back from Rome. The honeymoon is over.