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.”
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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:
- George Soros Dumps Big Money Into U.S. District Attorney Races
- George Soros’ Efforts to Decimate Criminal Justice System Bearing Fruit
- Soros Spent $2 Million to Help Reelect Kim Foxx, Prosecutor Who Bungled Jussie Smollett Case
- Soros-backed St. Louis Prosecutor Ensures All Arrested Looters and Rioters Released From Jail
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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to the full extent allowed by law.
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!
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.
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