Justice Alito’s reply to Wall Street Journal surprises ProPublica

Justice Alito's reply to Wall Street Journal surprises ProPublica

The Wall Street Journal was told on Wednesday by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. faced criticism after the highly unusual decision to allow another media organization’s article about him to publish his response in its opinion pages.

Justice Alito’s essay in the Opinion section of The Journal, which operates independently from its newsroom, go online on Tuesday evening with the headline “Justice Samuel Alito: ProPublica Misleads Its Readers”.

An editor’s note at the top of the essay said that two ProPublica reporters, Justin Elliott and Josh Kaplan, emailed questions to Justice Alito on Friday and asked for a response by Tuesday afternoon. “Here’s Justice Alito’s response,” the editor’s note said.

ProPublica published this Investigation Justice Alito several hours later on Tuesday, revealing that he had taken a luxury fishing trip in 2008 as the guest of billionaire Republican donor Paul Singer, and had not disclosed the trip nor those matters. had separated himself, including Mr. Singer’s hedge. Fund.

ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg said in a statement Wednesday that ProPublica always invites people mentioned in articles to provide feedback prior to publication. ProPublica has run several articles in recent months about possible conflicts of interest among some Supreme Court justices.

“We were surprised to see Justice Alito’s responses to our questions in an opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal, but we are happy to receive feedback in any form,” he said.

“We are curious to know whether The Journal fact-checked the essay prior to publication,” he said. “We strongly reject the claim in the headline that ‘ProPublica misleads its readers’, which was announced for this piece without reading the article and seeking our comment.”

A spokeswoman for The Journal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bill Gruskin, a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, said that while essays on opinion pages usually contain some sort of fact-checking, the Journal would have been unable to do so in this case because the ProPublica investigation had not yet been published. Had happened. ,

“Justice Alito could have released this as a statement on the Scotus website site,” Mr. Gruskin, a former top news editor at The Journal, said in an email. “But the fact that he chose The Journal – and that the editorial page was prepared to serve as his faithful factotum – says much about the relationship between the two parties.”

In the article, Justice Alito argued that ProPublica’s claims that it should have recused itself from some cases and disclosed some items in its 2008 financial disclosure reports were not valid.

Rod Hicks, director of ethics and diversity for the Society of Professional Journalists, said that “it is quite unusual for a news outlet to allow an official to use their platform to answer questions from a different outlet.”

“And it’s completely unheard of for another outlet to post that response before they’ve even published their story,” he said. “If not ethics, professional etiquette should have restrained The Journal.”

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