The arrest of film director Roman Polanski in Switzerland and his threatened extradition to the US have stirred the baying hounds of 'law and order' into action. These forces respond aggressively—even preemptively—in such a case, lest humanitarian considerations and even the spirit of forgiveness be permitted to influence popular consciousness. Without any interest in the broader circumstances of the case, countless reactionary voices have been raised, sternly demanding that Polanski be locked away for society's good.
To these, we can now add the editorial board of the New York Times, the liberal newspaper of record. In a politically significant piece, the editors have weighed in, spitefully and maliciously, on the side of Los Angeles law enforcement officials.
In "The Polanski Case" (September 30, 2009), the Times first derides the notion of protesting his detention: "To hear the protests from the French, the Poles and other Europeans, you might have thought the filmmaker was seized by some totalitarian regime for speaking truth to power."