The Execution of a Potentially Innocent Man Less Scandalous Than an Affair?
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Meanwhile, on Monday the Chronicle reported that Perry was refusing to release an advisory memo from his general counsel about the Willingham case, citing attorney-client privilege. The prosecutor in the case is clinging to his absurd theories about devil worship, telling ABC News last month that Willingham traced a pentagram with fire accelerant, a brand-new and wholly phantasmagorical allegation.
Perry's role in this continuing injustice should be cause for a national uproar at least as big as the one that attended Mark Sanford's dalliance in Argentina or Elliot Spitzer's patronage of prostitutes. What could be more sordid than hushing up an illegitimate state-sanctioned killing? What more obvious abuse of power exists? Yet one can easily read the country's major papers and faithfully watch TV news and barely hear a word about what's happening in Texas.
The state's press is covering it, of course, and both The Chicago Tribune and The New Yorker have been heroic. On Monday, the Tribune published its latest report under the blunt headline, "Texas execution: Statements by Gov. Rick Perry, others don't align with facts."
Still, the story, for all its drama, remains far from a hot topic. If ever a story were crying out for a journalistic pile-on, this one is. Yet there's no intimation that this could be a career-ending thing for Perry, no widespread sense of outrage. This should be the biggest scandal of the year. The fact that it's not is a scandal itself.
Michelle Goldberg is a senior correspondent at The American Prospect . She is also the author of Kingdom Coming and The Means of Reproduction .