Bravo, John Kass. You stand with Mike Royko

Mike Royko in his Daily News corner office when old school ethics ruled journalism. (Tribune file photo.)

Mike Royko in his Daily News corner office when old school ethics ruled journalism. (Tribune file photo.)

My initial post defending John Kass against the Chicago Tribune Guild's bush league attack on him is here.

After being attacked by the left-wing, cancel cops on the staff of the Chicago Tribune, columnist John Kass didn't fold. He didn't go along--like so many Republican politicians--and suck it up, afraid to hand out a well-deserved whomping on those who attacked him.

He wrote a beautiful column that appeared in today's Tribune, "What happened to an America where you could freely speak your mind?" He correctly called what the executive board of the Chicago Tribune Guild wrote in an open letter about a previous column "defamation" in that they falsely accused him "of religious bigotry and fomenting conspiracy theories." He then proceeded to do what real journalists do, dissecting the criticism with careful research, destroying the accusers' bolloxed case that Kass had engaged in a wild conspiracy. In other words, pointing out that billionaire George Soros was funding left-wing causes and politicians was a matter of fact.

The profession once called journalism needs more John Kasses. More reporters, copy editors, assistant city editors, photographers, graphic designers, editorial writers, fact checkers, librarians and others to stand up to this assault on journalistic integrity.

Where, I wonder, are the derisively called "old school" professionals that I admired and who were

John Kass

John Kass

my colleagues and friends to stand up to fight this scourge? Are there none left? I know that some of them don't particularly care for Kass, not only because they don't like his conservative politics, but also because they thought he tried to be another Mike Royko, the legendary Daily News/Sun-Times/Tribune Page 2 columnist.

I don't know what style and tone Kass was trying to achieve, but he wrote in a genuine voice, reflecting his own background and experience in an immigrant, two-flat Chicago family. If he sounded like Royko, more power to him.

I'd remind Royko's many fans that he did not bend to the wind of popular opinion. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched into segregated neighborhoods on the Southwest Side, Royko went after the "punk" stone-throwers with a furry. When a renegade crowd of self-appointed progressives, including a young Jesse Jackson, successfully displaced the duly elected Illinois delegation at a Democratic convention, he spared no words about the anti-democratic coup. When the head of the abortion industry's association finally admitted that partial birth abortion was practiced, and widely so, despite denials by the pro-choice crowd, he spared no words of condemnation for the crowd's lies and hypocrisy, in consecutive columns, as I recall. That was later in his career, when the emergent progressive cabal said that because Royko was taking a stance like that he was "losing it."

John, don't give up. Your many readers* are behind you. We admire your courage and your insight. I dare say that you are one of the few, if not the only one, who has the balls to call your own shots, free of the peer and lunatic pressure that seeks to cancel voices they despise.

You are the only one deserving to fill Royko's shoes.

*Check out John's Facebook page for plentiful statements of support.

Related: "When 'j'accuse' is just a smear."


Leave a comment
  • "I'd remind Royko's many fans that he did not bend to the wind of popular opinion."

    I'd like to remind you that no journalist, old school or otherwise, worth their weight in salt would write the sentences that followed the above without links to support. Followed up by sentences that provide context.

  • In reply to Michael Messinger:

    I googled “Mike Royko partial birth abortion” and “Mike Royko Jesse Jackson Democratic convention” and all the articles were there. Dennis had a pretty long column and I’m sure he credits readers with the ability to research his words if they don’t believe him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Messinger:

    What? Is your google broke?

  • In reply to James Dunham:

    Agreed. It's the jobs of Byrnes readers to prove he is right. Certainly no reason for Byrnes to actually provide citations for anything he states as fact...

  • In reply to Michael Messinger:

    The post above is not reporting; it is opinion, so not every subject within an opinion piece has to be inked. As far as context goes, most old news pieces were written so a seventh-grader could understand them.

  • Uh no. just like in school when you had to do citations, Dennis has to provide citations for anything he claims as facts. It's not his readers' job to fact check. It's one thing if he says "water is wet" but to not include links back to Royko columns, especially in this day and age, is just lazy journalism.

  • In reply to Michael Messinger:

    Opinions voiced by writers do not need to cite and source facts. When the writer witnessed the "facts" personally by reading Royko's columns, as I did and many, the recitation of the columns serve as fact. This isn't a school term paper. And, in fact, it IS the job of the reader to check facts. Especially in this day and age of not lazy journalists but fake news and outright lies. Nipping at the heels gets a mongrel a kick.


    I reprinted both of Royko's two columns on partial birth abortion on my blog (at the bottom):

    I'm not going to waste my time with more google searches. I was there, reading the columns when they appeared. You will not find that my memory failed me. I was particularly impressed that Royko would go after Bill Singer's coup at the 1972 Democratic convention because it flew in the face of the given lakefront liberal dogma that Daley had to be thrown out of the convention, even if the replacement delegation wasn't elected by anyone.

    I worked with Royko at the Daily News and Sun-Times. You didn't. If you're going to try to discredit what I wrote, you'll have to do better than the lack "of a link."

  • fb_avatar

    Dennis---I agree with your assessment of John Kass. Ironically, Rex Huppke, the Trib's one note 'columnist', thinks he's the heir to Mike Royko's throne...................................

  • In reply to Ken Dietz:

    I assume that Rex wrote that description of himself that begins, "In the tradition of Mike Royko...." Well, I suppose that because Royko isn't around, Rex thinks he can get away with that. If Royko still were around, he would have tossed Rex' ass down the nearest stairway. But there are enough of us still around who worked with Royko to know that Rex' brazen assertion is supreme self-deception, the kind taken from Trump's own playbook.

  • Sorry, Dennis. They're just a lot of dipshits out there. Some of them even post here.

  • I would love to have seen these Guild members - who have "no cajones" - take on Royko. As someone who had the privilege of working in the same newsroom as Mike, I can tell you that his response would not have been very pretty. George Soros is a plague, a scourge on all free societies. Those who believe in our form of government can never close both eyes when we go to bed as long as he and his ilk are still scurrying about.

  • In reply to davegorak:


  • Dennis Byrne is an op-ed columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and the proprietor of The Barbershop, a feature of, the Tribune blog of Chicago's most prominent blogs dennys-breakfast-hours-time-menu

  • In reply to Lauchlan:

    That's funny.

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Visit my new website

    I'm a freelance writer, editor and author. I can help you with a wide variety of projects. Check out my new website at

  • Subscribe to The Barbershop

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page

  • Like me on Facebook

  • Our National Debt

  • Twitter

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

  • /Users/dennisby/Desktop/trailer.mp4
  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: