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Chicago Tribune’s John Kass will not take a knee to cancel culture

Chicago Tribune’s John Kass will not take a knee to cancel culture

John, take Legal Insurrection reader Lt. Col. X’s wisdom to heart: “The spines of thousands are being strengthened, by hearing of your fight.”

George Soros rightly is maligned for his corrupting influence on politics. We have documented, among many other things, how Soros has funded, mostly through organizations in his network, the anti-Israel ecosystem.

But to criticize Soros is a third rail that will get you immediately smeared as anti-Semitic by the ADL and others.

Yes, some conspiratorial claims about Soros do invoke anti-Jewish stereotypes, but factual criticism of his doings is not the same as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

One issue that is particularly timely is the widely-reported effort by Soros-funded groups to elect District Attorneys who would implement lenient prosecutorial policies that resulted in rioters and looters in recent Black Lives Matter protests being released quickly from jail. The NY Times, Politico, and The Los Angeles Times, among many others, have reported on this Soros effort.

Our own posts documenting Soros’ District Attorney campaign included:

John Kass is a columnist for The Chicago Tribune. He’s one of the best in the country. His knowledge of Chicago and Illinois politics is expressed in pungent and often hysterically funny form. That style also permeates his national political commentary, and it’s compelling and enjoyable.

On July 22, 2020, Kass wrote a column which mentioned Soros’ District Attorney efforts, Something grows in the big cities run by Democrats: An overwhelming sense of lawlessness (archive):

…. Democratic mayors, backing Joe Biden, are on the defensive, upset that the president might win political advantage, even as the mayors feud with their own police departments, as the violence rises in their towns, as children are gunned down.

But these Democratic cities are also where left-wing billionaire George Soros has spent millions of dollars to help elect liberal social justice warriors as prosecutors. He remakes the justice system in urban America, flying under the radar.

The Soros-funded prosecutors, not the mayors, are the ones who help release the violent on little or no bond….

If Trump truly wants to help the cities, he might privately call the mayors and ask them about the prosecutors backed by Soros.

These prosecutors are among the few politicians in America who have delivered on their promises. They promised to empty their jails through the social justice warrior policy of “decarceration.” They also help give repeat, violent criminals little or no bond when arrested.

And in many of the violent cities, the prosecutors have delivered on their promises, not to keep the violent in jail, but to let them out.

Kass then went on to detail specific examples of these Soros-backed prosecutors contributing to the chaos, including Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

Kass was factually spot-on, but it earned him a smear from his “colleagues” at the Tribune:

John Kass, the Chicago Tribune’s most prominent columnist, is under fire from his co-workers for invoking what they called an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory involving billionaire George Soros in a column last week.

A letter from the Chicago Tribune Guild, signed by nine members of the executive board, called on the newspaper and Kass to “apologize for his indefensible invocation of the Soros tropes.” ….

Noting the controversy ignited by the column, the Chicago Tribune Guild letter said: “The odious, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire George Soros is a puppet master controlling America’s big cities does not deserve a mainstream voice, especially at a time when hate crimes are rising.

“And let’s be clear: This column from the Tribune’s lead columnist does a disservice to our entire institution, not just the editorial board, for which he nominally works. It undermines the efforts of our newsroom to provide fair and diligent reporting to readers who, we all know, don’t always grasp the distinction between ‘opinion’ and ‘news.’”

False accusations of racism (and in Kass’ case, anti-Semitism) are a key part of cancel culture. Here’s Prof. Jonathan Turley’s commentary on the letter denouncing me by 21 of my colleagues:

The message for other faculty by these Cornell clinicians is both clear and intimidating. Disagree with the BLM movement or the protests and you will be labeled a racist. Indeed, the letter ends on a menacing note: “And we will continue to expose and respond to racism masquerading as informed commentary.” Thus, if you attempt “informed commentary” on the costs of looting and the need for great law enforcement, you are a per se racist….

The recent protests have served as a catalyst for the rising intolerance on our campus. There is an enforced orthodoxy that is captured in the Cornell letter. These letters are successful in creating a chilling effect on academics who are intimidated by these threats. To be labelled as a racist is devastating to an academic career and these professors know that.

Just as surely, Kass’ colleagues knew the accusation they made against Kass could be devastating to his career, and that the public apology they demanded would exacerbate the damage to him.

In what the Tribune claims is unrelated, the Tribune removed Kass’ column from its prized page 2 location.

Kass responded in a column today, What happened to an America where you could freely speak your mind? (archive). Read the whole, glorious thing, here is an excerpt:

The angry left-handed broom of America’s cultural revolution uses fear to sweep through the our civic, corporate and personal life.

It brings with it attempted intimidation, shame and the usual demands for ceremonies of public groveling.

It is happening in newsrooms in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. And now it’s coming for me, in an attempt to shame me into silence.

Here’s what happened:

Last week, with violence spiking around the country, I wrote a column on the growing sense of lawlessness in America’s urban areas.

In response, the Tribune newspaper union, the Chicago Tribune Guild, which I have repeatedly and politely declined to join, wrote an open letter to management defaming me, by falsely accusing me of religious bigotry and fomenting conspiracy theories….

You’d think that before wildly accusing someone of fomenting bigoted conspiracy theories, journalists on the union’s executive board would at least take the time to Google the words “Soros,” “funding” and “local prosecutors.” ….

Most people subjected to cancel culture don’t have a voice. They’re afraid. They have no platform. When they’re shouted down, they’re expected to grovel. After the groveling, comes social isolation. Then they are swept away.

But I have a newspaper column.

As a columnist and political reporter, I have given some 35 years of my life to the Chicago Tribune, even more if you count my time as an eager Tribune copy boy. And over this time, readers know that I have shown respect to my profession, to colleagues and to this newspaper.

Agree with me or not — and isn’t that the point of a newspaper column? — I owe readers a clear statement of what I will do and not do:

I will not apologize for writing about Soros.

I will not bow to those who’ve wrongly defamed me.

I will continue writing my column….

We come into this world alone and we leave alone. And the most important thing we leave behind isn’t money.

The most important thing we leave is our name.

We leave that to our children.

And I will not soil my name by groveling to anyone in this or any other newsroom.

Kass is right not to back down. He did nothing wrong. His colleagues are cowards and backstabbing weasels. They deserve nothing but disdain and mockery.

I don’t know if Kass will read this post. If he does, he should take to heart what reader Lt Col X. sent to me, “The spines of thousands are being strengthened by hearing of your fight”:

The spines of thousands are being strengthened, by hearing of your fight.

You are NOT ALONE.

Before tonight, I never heard of you. If you had equivocated prior to this point, you would have still been destroyed by the people who want you to pander to them; and you would have dissolved into obscurity.

But, you fought for righteousness. The rule of law, the Constitution and Bill of Rights. For the Ethos of Dr Martin L King, … you fight for Content of Character.

You stood, seemingly alone, in the breach.

But you are not alone. We are with you.

I am with you – Fangs Out and Full Speed, I am coming; and with you even now.

Bow, kneel, grovel… you will dissolve into obscurity.

Make them seemingly kill you; and the eggs and smears and brutality they throw at you, will be a mantle of Honor you wear into eternity.

You are not alone, John. We are with you.


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The Friendly Grizzly | July 29, 2020 at 9:04 pm

May more stand up like he is, and as the good Professor is doing.

“”readers who, we all know, don’t always grasp the distinction between ‘opinion’ and ‘news.’”

This phrase completely cracked me up!

Yes, you all sure know *that* about your readers, Chicago Tribune Guild. I’m sure you’ve intentionally made things that way.

nordic_prince | July 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm

I liked John Kass when he filled in on local radio. I believe his column took Mike Royko’s spot at the Trib when Royko passed on. He’s probably one of the few individuals at the Trib who honors Colonel McCormick’s legacy.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to nordic_prince. | July 30, 2020 at 7:27 am

    I liked Royko, he was as pithy in person as his writing.

    stevewhitemd in reply to nordic_prince. | July 30, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Mike Royko was a gem; he was one of the last reporters for whom journalism was a trade, not a profession. And that man could write. He had a gimlet eye for people in power but he was rarely personal about it. But if you were an elected official or a ward-heeler, you didn’t want to be in Royko’s spotlight.

    Kass indeed took Royko’s spot when Royko passed on. He had his own style but he has been much the same kind of writer. Both mean were police reporters before they became columnists, and I think that has a lot to do with both their styles and their world-views.

    The cancel culture clowns won’t break Kass. But they might break the Tribune. It’s sure not the Colonel’s newspaper any more.

Sorry, Prof Jake. While Kass sometimes proffers admirable points, he still hoists his ensign on that embarrassment of a newspaper, The Chicago Tribune.

If he had any stones, he’d quit the rag.

McCarthy was right about communists infesting hollywood. Now they’re everywhere.

    Seems so, and that it was probably more a bother to the liberal Dems back then not because of the Committee’s substantive claims, as we agree, but because of the way its claims were addressed — ie, its style of delivery.

    For this we have Sen McCarthy’s legal attack dog, Roy Cohn (much later on, the personal attorney to a young and ambitious DT, decades before he was PDT) to thank for and his brusque, merciless, “NYish and pushy” manner of accusing his USSR-friendly or just -associated targets — whether by accident or design, no matter.

    The most serious moment concerned a question of whether Sen McCarthy had left in him (besides some alcohol he depended on for years) any sense of decency. Morality mattered then, and the public soon turned against him. Again, in the final analysis, a counterattack to the senator’s style, not his charges. (And a losing battle now mostly because former General of the Army and current President Eisenhower had had enough mud thrown at his Army officers, reasonably accused, however rudely and with extreme prejudice, of espionage.)

    Aren’t the current Dem-Lefty-Globees reacting dismissively and defensively to substantive issues in the same way today? Does the Speaker really say anything else but that she doesn’t like the way PDT does things; is she ever genuinely, rather than pretentiously focused on substance?

    Portland burns; it’s the president’s manner — to salvage what, and protect federal facilities there to the extent he can — that’s the problem, not the peaceful protestors’!

    Same dog, new tricks.

    Ronald Reagan fought the communists as President of the Screen Actors Guild years before he fought the communists as President of the United States of America.

$oro$ Pandemic.

I have Kass on speed email, consider it sent! He is a man of steel among men of cheap styrofoam.

Grrr8 American | July 29, 2020 at 10:10 pm

Many of us have wondered how 1930’s Germany could have allowed itself to slip into the clutches of the National Socialists and the genocidal evil that eventually revealed itself.

Many of us puffed up, thinking to ourselves that we would have resisted; that we wouldn’t have been one of “them” who acquiesced to evil, much less have willingly participated in its rise.

Yet many of us today remain silent, and cowering in that silence. Those of us who do, like our German predecessors, enable by inaction.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Grrr8 American. | July 29, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    We have our von Stauffenbergs in Professor Jacobson and John Kass.

    And more and more Professor Turley looks like he’s being red-pilled into Hans Oster.

    Let’s get it on.

    GatorGuy in reply to Grrr8 American. | July 30, 2020 at 1:41 am

    No truer words ever spoken or read. Real life has forces unfelt, only intellectually grasped, by hearing stories and learning from history. It’s 3-D VS 2-D; the depth of the matter just can’t be understood unless you’re in the relevant context itself.

    That is precisely why context is everything for history to matter to posterity. The destruction of statues symbolically throws out with the sculpted bronze a reminder to learn, to the extent possible, the situation lived by various participants and stakeholders in the events, movements, and actions in question at the time.

    I was married (to my first wife, in 1983) by a Florida Circuit judge based in Miami, who during WW II, fled his native Czechoslovakia (now divided), narrowly escaping being boarded onto trains headed to Auschwitz. I was proud to have him officiate the civil ceremony, and felt I would have done the same if I had lived in that time, or if the occasion to do something similar should ever arise in my lifetime.

    That’s just the 2-D mind operating. 3-D reality pulls and pushes in its own, unique way of issuing forces — to body and mind alike.

    Nonetheless, I couldn’t live with myself if, as the need to stand and somehow fight and destroy fellow countryfolk seems to possibly be in the offing, I would fail my earlier pledge not to board the train, as it were, and surrender to tyranny. I can only pray, if needed then, that I should not and, therefore, will not, surrender to tyranny if and when the time arrives. Amen.

      Grrr8 American in reply to GatorGuy. | July 30, 2020 at 8:30 am


      I too live in Florida.

      When Obama came into office, and I started reading Alinsky and about “Cultural Marxism,” and learning through folks such as Trevor Loudon, I resolved to resist. Peacefully — and if they force it by using violence, responding with defensive violence — to defend our country from enemies domestic. Hopefully we won’t come to the latter — but we confront actual revolutionaries, so we cannot discount the possibility.

      For now we can speak up, and try to educate our fellow citizens.

      Whatever the outcome of this, when the time comes I want to be able to face my Maker and truthfully declare that i stood with Him and the side of righteousness, and with what means were available to me, did my part.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Grrr8 American. | July 30, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    We have two things Germany didn’t have: A mass of well-armed people and a tradition of an adverse reaction to government overreach.

    Some people belittle the threat armed America poses to their own government. But if that threat could be easily, and without consequence, dismissed, why the ceaseless assault on the right to arms? Our would-be government overseers can’t take the chance that they’re wrong about such an estimate of the public and this alone helps to keep them in check so long as we are armed.

    But there’s another reason why they fear Americans under arms.

    I suspect things will actually go hot if the Dems loose control of their Brownshirts. Right now, their control is calculated to look like chaos, but the mayhem is carefully orchestrated and, so far, still under their control. But should they loose control, and be unable or unwilling to regain control, the American people will react appropriately.

    As I’ve said before, Americans aren’t really armed for a fight against government. If and when the Dems lose control of their dogs, or overplay their hand with them (as they have a tendency to do) then the fight will be on – in the street with their dogs. This is the fight the Dems know they will lose. Too many vets with too many tours of actual combat on our side, who fought so that others could be free from tyranny, who saw too many buddies bleed and die, to allow tyranny to happen here. And they will be terrible and magnificent in battle in America’s streets. The irony will be that the US government created them and made them what they are.

You will see action come November!

The most obvious evidence that criticizing Soros isn’t antisemitic is that the left is upset about it.

    GatorGuy in reply to mrzee. | July 30, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Well said, so right. Soros hates his Jewish identity, always did and always will. He is an enemy of and works hard to destroy the Jewish state, Israel, and thus the Jewish people.

    The whole, Left-led attack on one’s legitimate criticism of his political antics, ADL-assisted and all, is actually a J-street-choreographed, ring-kissing-and-bowing sham, a patent fraud. More and more I am forced, rather than to look the other way, to find the Left and its operative affiliates to be motivated by nothing more or less than sheer, amoral, self-aggrandizing evil — and I don’t use the term casually, but only with discretion.

Following in the American tradition to stand up to slavery, to stand up to diversity, to stand up to witch hunters and warlock judges, to stand up to redistributive change. #HateLovesAbortion

As Professor Jacobson noted, Kass has been demoted from his position of lead columnist for the Tribune. The paper says this is merely a “reorganizing”, but that is a lie.

This demotion is part of the “freezing out” by the Red Guard. It would not be a shock if Kass is eventually pink-slipped and blacklisted. In the long run that would be better for him (an honor like getting fired by Harvey Weinstein), but there is no doubt in my mind that the Communist Party is running the show at the Tribune.

The vile Dhimmi-crats’ alacrity in flippantly and incessantly invoking fallacious accusations of anti-Semitism against conservatives is equally matched by their commitment to not actually support Jews in any substantive and meaningful manner, including standing up to the myriad Jew-hating bigots, including black Jew-hating bigots, black Muslim Jew-hating bigots, Muslim Jew-hating bigots and white liberal Jew-hating bigots, within its own tent.

In other words, for a Party that loves to exploit Jews by casually tossing about false accusations of anti-Semitism, the Dhimmi-crats don’t actually support Jews in any meaningful way, on any issue that counts.

    GatorGuy in reply to guyjones. | July 30, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Keenly observed, guyjones.

    (Fine diction, too, if I might add. By the way, I’m gonna stop putting quotes around Dhimmicrat; a really clever and informative compound, it’s catching on quickly and appears to be a more regular coin exchanged here, at LI. Anyway, once again, I think your take is clearly sound — and, unfortunately, no compliment to the long-existing Dem-Jewish establishment.

    (I’m sure that, due to their own, individual lust for power, connection, and influence in the big cities, and for the sake of their grand, globalist, Soros-et-al-driven cause, the Dem-Jewish element of the Dem-Lefty-Globees simply ignore the Dhimmitude-requiring plank more essentially materializing in the party’s electoral platform. Useful idiots, they, I think.

    Thus, they do so at their own peril while, too paradoxically for my taste, strengthening the power base and efficacy of those affiliated with members of The Squad — including the rabidly vicious, antisemtic BLM racket-organization — and other Jew-hating, BDS-pushing, bigoted and small-minded, antisocially ethnophilic amoralists.

    (Only in America, they used to say admiringly. Now, though, the pejorative, increasingly paradoxical sense may more readily be inferred vis-a-vis the Dem-Lefty-Globees seemingly pathological interdependency with the American Jewish element of the party.)

We are watching freedom die. The Universities want it gone. They cannot remake the society into a Utopian hellhole if people are free to express their opinions.

We are being silenced. A conservative will never succeed in academia today. The students are subjected to political indoctrination starting in grade school.

My wife is on the faculty of a “prestigious ” medical school. The med students are required to attend courses on “white fragility”.

Absolutely appalling.

The mission, promise, and material elements of US Public Health are transforming as we exchange views today. What is now relevant and mission-worthy wouldn’t have been imagined 10 years ago for reasons of scope and relevance.

I knew the field — and as you and your wife know well, it’s increasingly vast, pervasive, and influential in American medicine — was on a lower angle of attack due to a Dem-Left-Globee-styled “more comprehensive vision” when it started finding “public-health science and challenges” where the Second Amendment finds clear and distinct applicability. The rest, since that initiative took hold, signals the public health field’s zeal for all things systematically tied (by PH experts’ schematics and algorithms, not ordered liberty and justice’s more sensible and nature-friendly, organically created arrangements) to the health and well-being of our citizens (and all other welcome, long-staying visitors).

In sum, then, it ain’t your and your wife’s grandparents’ and parents’ kind of medical care any longer, now that the public health experts, like Dr Tony “Baloney, In your Face” Fauci have insinuated their egomaniacal way and purpose into our lives and, most tenuously, still liberty-promoted drives. Give them time; they’ll eventually learn to control and corrupt both.

I say, we find other options, sooner rather than later, if it’s even possible at this juncture.

(My above entry is actually a reply to rebar)

John Kass is now the “anchor baby” of the patriot resistance at the Trib. They are beginning to pop up everywhere and most of them are not “conservatives”. Tells me that reconstituting the genuine America is far from being a lost cause.

That’s one heck of a “conspiracy theory” that pits Soros, an anti-Semetic Jew (and an accessory to the Nazi’s prosecution of the Holocaust), against his own people, and then labels his detractors “anti-Semitic.”

As they say, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

“That Thessalonian you’re fighting, he’s the biggest man I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t want to fight him.”
“That’s why no one will remember your name.”

I criticized and found fault with Soros for a long, long time. But don’t accuse me of being an “anti-Semite.” All that time I believed him to be of Greek heritage – and perhaps some king of Catholic. Only recently, when some Jewish organizations and some Jews decided to play the “victim” game – and bash anyone and everyone who rightly criticize Soros for what he does and who he funds as anti-Semites – did I learn of his Jewish heritage.

Thank You, Professor Jacobson, for taking a stand for the Brave American John Kass. Mr. Kass understands the grave threat to our precious freedom of speech.
We need more voices and more brave Americans. Do Not Be Afraid. Speak up, and defend the truth and our American right to express it. Defend freedom of speech like your life depends on it, because if we don’t, the Soros way of life won’t be worth living.
Again, thank you Professor Jacobson for standing up for Mr. Kass.

As to the Chicago Tribune and the colleagues of Mr. Kass, you are bullies. Your cancel culture is a bully tactic and I got news for all of you, Americans don’t like bullies. We’ve all had ENOUGH of all of you!

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | July 30, 2020 at 11:53 pm

I read earlier that the mob tried to force Trader Joe’s to change some of its labels. Trader Joe’s decided it liked its labels just fine and it wasn’t going to change them.

I felt a sense of relief that someone is FINALLY standing up to the mob. Now I read this about Mr. Kass.

It could be a head fake, but maybe spines really are starting to stiffen.

The left will not tolerate discourse.