Unprofessional, amateurish, unfair and utter bullshit. I would add.
Media columnist Robert Feder explained the attack in, “Tribune colleagues blast John Kass column as ‘antithetical to our values’.” Kass’ sin apparently was writing about how billionaire George Soros funds liberal causes and big-city candidates like Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx.
The nine members of the Chicago Tribune Guild executive board wrote a letter accusing Kass of committing an “indefensible invocation of the Soros trope.” Somehow (and ridiculously) the Nine’s letter said the Kass column supported “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.” (The letter can be read at the end of Feder’s column, here. Feder followed up with another column, “Tribune moving John Kass column ‘to maintain credibility of news coverage'” pointing out how Kass is losing his honored place on the Tribune’s Page 2, formerly occupied by Mike Royko, at the Tribune, Sun-Times and Daily News.)
Please read the “offending” Kass column, ” Something grows in the big cities run by Democrats: An overwhelming sense of lawlessness.” You be the judge. How is it anti-Semitic to point out the fact that Soros is one of the biggest funder of progressive, liberal and Democratic candidates and causes in America? Does the very mention of that fact make one a Jew hater? How in the world is the citation of an undisputed fact “antithetical to [the Nine’s] values”?
The Nine are supposed to be journalists, but they resemble the close-minded, left-wing evangelists at the New York Times who forced the resignation of James Bennet for the publication of an op-ed that dared disagree with the given anti-Trump truth. (Read the brilliant resignation letter of opinion editor Bari Weiss to savor the similarities of the herd mentality at the Tribune and Post.)
What’s so laughable about the Nine’s letter is this statement: “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.’” If anyone has lost the distinction between “opinion” and “news” it is the like-minded progressives in the media who think their job is implementing (their version of) social change instead of hone sting reporting the news.
I, of course, will be accused to taking Kass’ side because I agree with much of what he writes. Indeed, his and my name have appeared in comments from the left about how loathsome we are. But I dare say that I would be just as distressed if a right wing herd at the paper dumped a load of shit on a moderate or liberal columnist. I know first hand how this works; progressive efforts to silence a voice whose main sin is to support candidates and legitimate public policy issues they disagree with.
Except there are no right-wing herds at the Tribune, Washington Post, New York Times and the major network news rooms. For decades now, even back when my colleagues knew me as a liberal, newsrooms were dominated by liberals and Democrats. But decades ago, journalism ethics demanded objectivity, fairness and balance. And never, ever did a pack of newsroom workers ever demand that kind of retaliation against a colleague.
My blog, The Barbershop, is a part of ChicagoNow, an online community of bloggers owned by the Chicago Tribune Media Group. So, I suppose that I can be accused of a similar attack on my cousin writers. But, fair is fair. By the same token, I’m defending a colleague–John Kass–and any other staff member at the Tribune or other newspapers who feel cowed by the righteous left and who are afraid of similar retaliation. Let’s see how it goes from here.
P.S. The Nine’s letter worries that “more than a handful” of readers have cited the Kass column for cancelling their subscriptions. I don’t know where readers stand on that, but you might get an idea by reading the comments under the two Feder columns that are filled with cancellation threats and promises about the treatment of Kass.