It’s a dream scoop for the New York Times: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito displayed a “Stop the Steal” symbol outside his house!

Unfortunately for the Times and reporter Jodi Kantor, there isn’t any real evidence for that headline — only a heaping helping of BlueAnon fever-swamp paranoia.

“After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Joe Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag,” Kantor — who won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on Harvey Weinstein — opens her piece (emphasis mine).

She continues: “One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, in Alexandria, Virginia.”

What Kantor’s intro omits — and won’t mention until 16 paragraphs later — is that an upside-down flag is not exclusively associated with the most extreme elements of the January 6 riot. It simply is “a symbol of emergency and distress, first used as a military SOS.” Protesters have inverted the flag for a wide range of causes in the past century:

-The Vietnam War
-The AIDs epidemic
-The Persian Gulf War
-The deportation of Elian Gonzalez
-The inauguration of George W. Bush
-The Iraq War
Immigration laws
Hurricane Katrina
-The Occupy movement
Black Lives Matter
-The election of Donald Trump
-The Dakota Access Pipeline
-The inauguration of Donald Trump
-The Supreme Court upholding Donald Trump’s travel ban for terror-risk countries
-Donald Trump visiting the United Kingdom
Global warming
-The first impeachment acquittal of Donald Trump
Black Lives Matter again
-The Chinese coronavirus pandemic
-The certification of Joe Biden’s election victory on January 6, 2021

Again, Kantor does not admit this fact until paragraph 18 — trying along the way to paint the flag in Alito’s yard as an obvious and definite nod to the “Stop the Steal” protests, with help from several “experts.”

She quotes a law professor at the University of Virginia calling the inverted flag “the equivalent of putting a ‘Stop the Steal’ sign in your yard.” A researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder says it was “really established as a symbol of the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign… an explicit signifier that you are part of this community that believes America has been taken and needs to be taken back.”

So, in their telling, this flag was supposed to accomplish… what? To overthrow the election? Who was it supposed to activate? Nobody but his well-to-do neighbors even knew about it for over three years. Entertaining the most basic questions scrutinizing this narrative would have quashed the story at the Times’ assignment desk.

Jodi Kantor, from left, Zoe Kazan, Megan Twohey and Carey Mulligan attend the premiere of “She Said” during the 60th New York Film Festival on Oct. 13, 2022, in New York. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

And all Kantor can confirm is that the flag flew outside the Alitos’ house after the January 6 riot. The Times‘ lead photo, taken by a neighbor, is dated January 17. “In an email from Jan. 18… a neighbor wrote to a relative that the flag had been upside down for several days at that point.” Days, not weeks. With razor-wire fence all around D.C. and myriad stories of security on high alert before the Biden inauguration (which Alito skipped anyway), there’s no credible plan of action that a supposed “Stop the Steal” dog whistle from Alito fits into.

The justice personally denied any political message and said his wife had flipped over the flag as part of a personal spat with their neighbors.

“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” he wrote in an email to the Times. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

Kantor’s interviews with the Alitos’ neighbors corroborate this statement: “the justice’s wife, Martha-Ann Alito, had been in a dispute with another family on the block” who “displayed an anti-Trump sign with an expletive.”

However, she continues to cast suspicion on Alito and other conservative justices, insinuating they will not be impartial in their decisions on cases arising from January 6, such as Trump’s claim of presidential immunity as he challenged the 2020 election results. The article closes with former federal judge Jeremy Fogel (a California leftist appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton) saying Alito should recuse himself, and the upside-down flag outside his house would “trigger some sort of review to determine if there was any misconduct” if he were serving on a lower court.

Only two facts are undeniable in this story:

  1. An upside-down flag flew outside Samuel Alito’s house after January 6 and before Biden’s inauguration.
  2. One of the Alitos’ neighbors had put up an offensive political sign.

Beyond those two points, everything else is either speculative or uncorroborated. Alito says his wife was reacting to the vulgar sign from the neighbors. Kantor ignores that to search for tea leaves in the milieu of the moment, heavily insinuating Alito was sending a bat signal — kept private for over three years — to the most extreme, most insurrection-y January 6 rioters. Unsurprisingly, Democrats and news outlets around the world are running wild with Kantor’s conspiratorial, BlueAnon-inspired take.

And that’s because this story is purely in service of a predetermined narrative: the Supreme Court, as long as it has a conservative majority, must be neutralized by any means possible. “Ethics” complaints against Clarence Thomas (where former judge Fogel is always ready to provide a concerned comment to corporate media). Continuous protests (and an alleged assassination attempt) at their homes. Re-airing of meritless criminal accusations. Packing the Court. Lawfare against justices’ friends. To take out this particular check on their quest for unlimited state power, the left will do anything they can — even fabricate a narrative that a sitting justice somehow contributed to their biggest boogeyman ever — The Insurrection.