Other uses of scare quotes so defy convention as to suggest a novel dialect of the English language. One editorial assailed legislation that would legalize "lower-cost 'generic' copies of biopharmaceuticals." Another complained, "we can expect a spate of 'analysis' stories purporting to tell us just how much America's top executives are making." Yet another--siding with Hank Greenberg against Eliot Spitzer--sputtered, "Mr. Spitzer's Starr 'report' claimed that Mr. Greenberg had benefitted from 'self-dealing.'"
Clearly, the Journal stands against, respectively, generic drugs, news analysis about CEO salaries, and accusations against Hank Greenberg. But the scare quotes seem to imply that the Journal further believes generic drugs are not actually "generic," news analysis is not actually "analysis," and Eliot Spitzer's report was not, in fact, a "report." (Would the Journal accept the term "dossier"? "Formal statement"? "Published finding of facts"?)
...The scare quote is the perfect device for making an insinuation without proving it, or even necessarily making clear what you're insinuating. A mundane fact--say, Paul Gigot taking a colleague to dinner--translated into Journal editorial-ese would be rendered, "Wall Street Journal editorial page 'editor' Paul Gigot recently patronized a 'legitimate business establishment' with his 'associate.'"
PS If you enjoy this, you will love The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.