Chicago Tribune Guild's attack on co-worker John Kass is bush league

John Kass

John Kass

Update: Bravo, John Kass. You stand with Mike Royko.

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.


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  • I won't lose any sleep even if Kass is assigned traffic court. He serves it for parroting a lot of right-wing nonsense. Good riddance.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thankfully, the balance of the columnists at the Trib parrot only the approved left-wing nonsense, so you won't be reading a surplus of breaking news from traffic court.

  • "deserves"

  • As a sidebar to your defense of Kass, I remember vividly when I too my 7th grade class on a field trip to the Tribune newsroom. The reporters and columnists who were present received us very cordially and were eager to engage our questions,, with one expception, John Kass. Kass acted like we were invisible, walked right past us with a sullen expression on his face. Afterwards, I started to read him more often. But gave up eventually because I couldn't take his pompous self-importance and his lack of sympathy for the common person.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Good thing you weren't trying to endear your seventh graders to the sweetness of Mike Royko. He might have had one of the plumper ones for lunch.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    You've been carrying a grudge against the man since seventh grade? Really? That's telling.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Speaking of “pompous and self important “, have you looked in your mirror lately?

  • In reply to SunPeach:

    Yes, this morning, matter of fact. And I said to myself: you have the cool, clear eyes of a seeker of wisdom and truth ; yet there's that upturned chin and that grin of impetuous youth. I believe in you.
    I believe in you.

  • "took"

  • I will seek out his writing and his viewpoint. I'm sorry to see him lose page 2. I don't agree with him constantly, but he makes me think.

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    In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I agree with you Margaret - I don't always agree with John Kass either, but he does makes you think.
    My thought is that the Tribune isn't in a big hurry to have readers who think and see past their biased reporting.

  • The letter from the nine members of the Executive Board of the Chicago Tribune Guild is beyond stupid. It is indisputable that Soros has given millions to supporting the election of local prosecutors around the country like Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

    What the Soros supported prosecutors have in common is that they are "Social justice warriors," with little interest in prosecuting any crimes, including violent crimes like illegal gun use (shootings) and homicides.

    Foxx, as one of these prosecutors, has an office that is known for losing many more gun cases than she wins, a terrible clearance rate on homicides, a feeble success rate for prosecuting homicides, not rewarding her prosecutors who manage to win trials of illegal murders and shooters and supporting no or low bail for those with a prior and current record of committing violent crimes and being a danger to the community- often composed of low income minorities.

    Kass' opinion is that the Soros supported prosecutors, like Foxx, are harmful to the people they were elected to serve, especially the low income minorities who are most often the victims of the dangerous violent criminals, who are neither prosecuted nor convicted by the Soros supported prosecutors.

    None of that has anything to do with Soros' or the prosecutors' religion, race or gender. Anybody who is familiar with the facts discussed above and who knows the character of John Kass would know the allegations of Kass anti-Semitism or any of the other criticisms by the Guild and its Board of Kass are completely bogus and without foundation or factual support.

    Those nine who signed the letter accusing Kass of these falsehoods should be ashamed of themselves. The letter is the most disgusting journalism I have ever seen, if you can call it journalism.

    Jeff Berkowitz,
    Illinois Channel and "Public Affairs."

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    I have read the Kass article several times. I have seen no mention of Soros being Jewish. As Jeff says, Kass factually describes money received by these SAs and what they’ve done in response. A lot of what I’ve read about Soros is that HE is the anti Semite. He is certainly vilified in Israel for things he’s done.

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    Aren't you aware of the conspiracy theories that have been swirling around Soros for years?

    Although the vast majority of Soros-related conspiracy theories do not mention his Jewish heritage, the concern remains that they can serve as a gateway to the antisemitic subculture that blames Jews for the riots. This type of content can be found on mainstream platforms; a Twitter user wrote, “George Soros is paying for this he is a Jew America bows to the Jew [sic],” while another tweeted, “Antifa are on the payroll of the Jewish financier George Soros who often uses these paid thugs to intimidate any opposition towards the status quo that he and his Zionist allies have set up to control us.” Yet another claimed, “Soros is every bit the subversive, parasitic conspirator these people make him out to be. The problem they always neglect to mention is the fact that he’s a Jew.”

    Anti-Defamation League

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Kass did not say of this. Or suggest or imply this. Does this mean that Kass cannot mention the fact that Soros is a big funder of liberals because some whackos have taken the honest fact and twisted it into some screwball theory?

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    In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Why do you listen to conspiracy theories? Very few thoughtful people accept such things without a factual basis that supports. Those that do accept conspiracy theories without facts might be called idiots. Where did you find this "subculture" blaming Jews for riots? Certainly there are some idiots that might believe this but how are they even meaningful to a thoughtful discussion. Finding information on a "mainstream platform" such as Twitter and causing you concern makes no sense - it just means idiots have learned to tweet.

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    In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    Until I read about the brouhaha I didn't know Mr. Soros was Jewish. Kass definitely didn't mention it in his column.
    What a load of liberal/cancel culture claptrap!

  • fb_avatar

    This won't end for John Kass. The Tribune social wonks and cancel culturalists with continue to mine every word of his column looking for something to attack him by reinterpreting what he wrote.

    The Wall Street Journal was for decades separated the opinion pages from the news pages. This however didn't stop its liberal reporters from demanding they be able to attack those opinions in separate news stories. Thankfully the editorial boards and ownership didn't back down and chastised the signers of the demand.

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    In reply to Ken Dietz:

    I was impressed that the WSJ held the line on opinion pieces. If you don't read/hear alternative views and evaluate them against your own, how valid are your views?
    Though I find some Tribune columnists' views incomprehensible and radical, I read their columns anyway and, on occasion, learn something.
    I don't want my opinions to exist in a vacuum.

  • In reply to Brunhilda Bear:

    Thank you, Brunhilda Bear. I don't always agree with opinion writing, including Dennis Bryne's, but I enjoy trying to learn something from it. Sometimes it's simply about how well someone writes... and I can learn from that, even if I don't agree with what's said.

  • Apparently the nine members of the Guild share Soros' agenda that includes destroying this republic and all nation-states in order to achieve his goal of a new world order. There are a growing number of so-called independent news outlets around this country, including several here in Wisconsin, who take money from Soros. Don't look for any of them to properly educate their audiences in terms of abiding by their own code of ethics that requires first and foremost to "seek the truth." At best, this makes those journalists working for them no better than groveling whores.

  • "Readers who we all know don't always grasp the distinction between opinion and news"

    Wow. Just wow. Talk about insulting the intelligence of your readership. Very telling and eye-opening comment about their opinion of their own readers.

  • fb_avatar

    I know, insulting much?

  • fb_avatar

    Bennet and Weiss were at the New York Times, not the Washington Post. Other than that, I concur.

  • In reply to PJ Geraghty:

    Thanks for the correction.

  • Thanks for sharing this information FaceTime App

  • John Kass is the last authentic voice in Chicago Media. He is the last of a long list of great writers -Ray Coffey, Dennis Byrne,Tom Roeser and Mike Royko.

    Aquinas Wired is still yapping?

  • In reply to PatHickey:

    Apparently Kass snubbed Aquinas Wired on a 7th Grade field trip many years ago, and he is getting back at him now.

    I find it somewhat comforting that the level of intellectual thought from the Left is driven by things like bad field trips in junior high. They are just that childish.

  • In reply to jbpo:

    I can see you never took a class of 7th graders on a field trip. The children were the ones who complained when we got back to the classroom. They have a way of recognizing who is authentic and who is definitely a poseur.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Did you ever get on an elevator and tried to talk to Mike Royko or tried to sit next to him in the Goat? You'd get a taste of the real Mike Royko and it would have been damned authentic. No poseur there.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Listening to Buddy Charles at Acorn on Oak. Royko snubbed or pushed away anyone who dared approach him. Could tell the regulars knew enough to stay away.

  • In reply to PatHickey:

    I respect your opinion, Mr. Hickey. I wish you would respect mine.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    BTW, even Homer nods.

  • In reply to PatHickey:

    Show some hope, please, PatHickey. John Kass isn't the last authentic voice or great one -- he is simply the most recent.
    Also, these are comments, not yaps.

  • "I will be accused to taking....." -- Tsk, tsk - that should be "I will be accused OF taking....please use proper grammar.

  • John is a mediocre writer who spouts all things right wing.
    But what’s worse is that he is a bad cook. For a Greek that is unforgivable.

  • All this time I thought Soros was of Greek ancestry. Now I know he is Jewish,,,probably a smart, tough Jew too. He doesn't need the "Snow Flakes" on the Trib guild board to go out of their busy way to sniff out any scintilla of Anti- Semitism on his behalf or in his defense. Kass is, as usual, 100% right on target.

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