Did Antonin Scalia flip the bird after the Red Mass?

Did Antonin Scalia flip the bird after the Red Mass?

That’s what United Press International is reporting, apparently based on a Boston Herald report: “U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.” But that’s not what the Herald reporter wrote.

After Mass, the reporter asked Scalia what he says to critics who question his impartiality on matters of Church and state apparently because he’s a practicing Catholic.

“You know what I say to those people?” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs. “That’s Sicilian,” the Italian jurist said, interpreting for the “Sopranos” challenged.

The middle finger, i.e. “the bird”, is not made under the chin and is not particularly Sicilian. What Scalia probably did—although no one spells it out and I haven’t seen the photo so this is informed speculation, since I’m Sicilian too—is make the gesture of scraping your fingers under your chin and flipping them out. (Sorry, that’s the best way to describe it.)

Update: The Associated Press got this one right.

Editorializing and journalistic bias

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli