This is just devastating, for Alito, the Court spokesperson, Paul Gigot, Murdochs. Breathtaking violations of every ethical standard. Flat out lies by Alito.
Behind the Scenes of Justice Alito’s Unprecedented Wall Street Journal Pre-buttal — ProPublica https://t.co/ygrFBOXipI
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) June 25, 2023
It’s not actually devasting for Alito, because one has to understand the concept of shame to feel shame. But I’ll bet the little Opus Dei gollum spent a couple days screaming at his interns, demanding to know why the Streisand Effect is permitted around important, superior individuals such as Justice Samuel Alito:
Around midday on Friday, June 16, ProPublica reporters Justin Elliott and Josh Kaplan sent an email to Patricia McCabe, the Supreme Court’s spokesperson, with questions for Justice Samuel Alito about a forthcoming story on his fishing trip to Alaska with a hedge fund billionaire.
Fifteen minutes later, McCabe called the reporters. It was an unusual moment in our dealings with the high court’s press office, the first time any of its public information officers had spoken directly with the ProPublica journalists in the many months we have spent looking into the justices’ ethics and conduct…
Monday was a federal holiday, Juneteenth. On Tuesday, McCabe called the reporters to tell them Alito would not respond to our requests for comment but said we should not write that he declined to comment. (In the story, we wrote that she told us he “would not be commenting.”)
She asked when the story was likely to be published. Certainly not today, the reporters replied. Perhaps as soon as Wednesday.
Six hours later, The Wall Street Journal editorial page posted an essay by Alito in which he used our questions to guess at the points in our unpublished story and rebut them in advance. His piece, headlined “Justice Samuel Alito: ProPublica Misleads Readers,” was hard to follow for anyone outside ProPublica since it shot down allegations (notably the purported consumption of expensive wine) that had not yet been made.
In the hours after Alito’s response appeared, editors and reporters worked quickly to complete work on our investigative story. We did additional reporting to put Alito’s claims in context…
It does not appear that the editors at the Journal made much of an effort to fact-check Alito’s assertions.
If Alito had sent his response to us, we’d have asked some more questions. For example, Alito wrote that Supreme Court justices “commonly interpreted” the requirement to disclose gifts as not applying to “accommodations and transportation for social events.” We would have asked whether he meant to say it was common practice for justices to accept free vacations and private jet flights without disclosing them…
We leave it to the PR professionals to assess whether pre-buttals are an effective strategy. Alito’s assertion that the private flight to Alaska was of no value because the seat was empty anyway became the subject of considerable online amusement.
And the readership of our story has been robust: 2 million page views and counting. It’s possible that Alito has won the argument with the audience he cares the most about. But it seems equally plausible that he drew even more attention to the very story he was trying to knock down…
Good work everyone but I think we can get them down to Saddam Hussein levels if they keep sending letters to the Wall Street Journal taunting us for trying to report on their corruption. https://t.co/ae0ThBB1Y3
— Aaron (@BobbyBigWheel) June 25, 2023
Yeah, that’s certainly the face of an innocent man…
🚨CNN reports Justice Alito’s Rome trip, following his decision overturning Roe v. Wade, was funded by Notre Dame’s Religious Liberty Initiative – a group that supported the Roe overturn. @RawStory https://t.co/gn9wLt7SPj
— The Intellectualist (@highbrow_nobrow) June 24, 2023
(Jeff Danziger via GoComics.com)