In defense of Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass

They're coming for John Kass.

They’re coming for John Kass.

Someone named John Greenfield wrote an opinion piece in the Chicago Reader calling on the Chicago Tribune to fire columnist John Kass.

Greenfield accuses Kass of dodging his own responsibility for inciting the crowd that stormed the Capitol. Apparently Kass’ blaming Trump wasn’t enough because Original Sin turns out to be more than eating a forbidden apple. Failing to say enough bad stuff about Trump is sufficient cause to be dismissed from public discourse.

Greenfield’s indictment might have been more persuasive if he had made a rational argument that Kass is a danger to the commonweal, but the accuser failed explain how what Kass said violated journalistic norms. Greenfield failed miserably to demonstrate how Kass can be linked directly or indirectly to the insurrection. The accuser doesn’t come close to making the case that Kass  will be “enabling  fascism in the future?”

Greenfield argues that Kass not only deserves to be expelled from the pages of the Tribune (and presumably everywhere else) but for an accumulation of other poor offenses. I gather from Greenfield  that criticizing bikers who don’t follow rules of the road is one of them. Also supposedly indictable was the columnist’s (rightful) criticism of radical left, mega-billionaire George Soros for funding the Democrats that run the cities ravaged by riots last summer. Because Soros is a Jew, Kass’ criticism amounts, we’re told we must believe, to anti-Semitism.

Let me get this straight: If someone you criticize who happens to be Jewish, you’re anti-semitic. By the same logic, if you criticize a black person, you’re racist. If you criticize a Catholic, you’re anti-Catholic. The fallacy of that kind of argument is so obvious that it doesn’t deserve a response.

Yet, a response is required because the left’s Joe McCarthy-like campaign to silence the opposition is spreading like slime across America. It has infected much of the media and corporate America. Some of its advocates, soon to be in control of the White House and Congress, would not just silence opposing voices but call down vengeance on those who were exercising their constitutional and human rights of free speech, assembly and conscience.

Greenfield calls on Tribune bosses to “deplatform” Kass, an interesting way of calling for a purge. Kass is the only op-ed columnist in Chicago’s two major dailies that regularly, eloquently, persuasively and reasonably represents a conservative view. Calling for his dismal doesn’t seem to bother so many members of the media today who fail to or refuse to recognize the danger we’re in from silencing other voices. 

I suppose if I were of the same mind as Greenfield, I’d demand that he be “deplatformed” from the Reader. His anti-democratic ravings are infectious and dangerous. But I want him to stay on his “platform.” Not just because he shouldn’t be censored, but because he’s giving me material that’s fun to write about and debunk.

So, like Greenfield, I’m issuing a call to action, addressed to everyone who thinks preserving a wide range of voices is something worth fighting for. Greenfield wants his readers to write to the Tribune bosses to say that “it’s time for Tribune leadership to get rid of Kass’s column for good.”

By the same token, I urge you to write to the bosses. Not necessarily because you agree with what Kass says. But because you value free speech and how the clash of ideas is a necessary ingredient to a well-function democracy.

His bosses are: Editor-in-Chief Colin McMahon, colin@tribpub.com; Editorial Page Editor Kristen McQuery, kmcqueary@chicagotribune.com

Comments

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  • First they came for Kass. Then, they will come for Byrne. Then, they’ll come for me - and I’ll be shocked and saddened that I didn’t speak up sooner.

    Sound familiar??
    Why, pray tell, is it that those voices seeking “de-platforming” cannot seem to appreciate the risk THEY face once the tide turns???

    I heard former US Senator Claire McKaskill discuss this morning that there may not be another GOP election win at the national level ever again.

    This sounds so much like former Senator Reid’s willingness to eliminate the filibuster for Federal Judges- which now accounts for the ideological split on the court - that I couldn’t help but wonder if they suffer from mass amnesia each time they win the Oval Office or the Congressional majority.

    God help us if Kass and others ARE deplatformed. It hurts us all.
    Bob

  • In reply to BobSellers:

    They already came for Byrne.

  • My letter to the Tribune mgmt re: Kass:

    Just an FYI that you’ll probably ignore –

    The Tribune has been sinking into the swamp of screed and propaganda over the last several years and has become almost unbearable – every “report” is just another opportunity for some wacko non-journalist to foist their opinion on readers

    Kass is the ONLY reason I still maintain my subscription to your rag – from him, opinion is expected and worth reading – from your so-called “reporters”, NO!!

    If you follow John Greenfield’s latest Maoist purge call to “deplatform” Kass – I’m done with you folks (as will a lot of people) and will be hoping the hedge fund buying you out initiates their own brand of purges, as it appears that a much needed high-pressure colonic is needed there

  • In reply to Archangel999:

    I used to like Kass. I really did. But, like his podcast, which became unlistenable, his column has become unreadable. It isn't particularly about politics (well, with Kass it is), he's just stopped arguing from logic.

    And to be honest, if he hates billionaires who contribute so much money to politics, how come he's always only writing about one of them?

  • In reply to dave77:

    So you find his columns on Madigan, Burke, Welch, Lightfoot and why so many people are leaving IL unreadable and devoid of logic?
    I understand them quite clearly.

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