By: Mark Glennon*

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune is one of maybe three consistently right-of-center columnists in all of Illinois, and certainly the most widely read, so it was only a matter of time before the mob tried to off him.

Now we have it, from the Chicago Tribune Guild, which is that newspaper’s union. It’s perhaps the most vicious effort to date in the cancel culture’s assault on journalism, and it’s based on a charge that’s entirely fabricated.

Kass wrote last week about the growing sense of lawlessness in urban areas, focusing on the connections between soft-on-crime prosecutors and the political donations that helped elect them from billionaire George Soros.

Yawn. Old story, you might think. Anybody following American politics has, for several years, seen a very long list of news stories and commentary in media of all political stripes across the nation about those Soros contributions, which are thoroughly documented. And Kass was hardly the first to address the obvious question about the connection between those prosecutors’ work and the surge in violent crime.

But it wasn’t lack of originality that the Tribune union alleged. It was Kass’s “odious, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire George Soros is a puppet master controlling America’s big cities.” Kass’s message, the Guild wrote in a letter to all staff, “does not deserve a mainstream voice, especially at a time when hate crimes are rising.”

The Guild went on:

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.”  

We ask that the paper, and Kass separately, apologize for his indefensible invocation of the Soros tropes….

But read Kass’s column. Read it again. It contains nothing whatsoever that says or implies anything remotely like that. It’s entirely about Soros’s contributions and their effect on law enforcement, which obviously are important matters to address.

Among those who have covered the topic before is Commentary, which was founded by the American Jewish Committee and has long had a central focus on “the future of the Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture in Israel, the United States, and around the world.” Anti-Semitic?

Aside from the pure cruelty to Kass and its naked contempt for diversity of opinion, the Guild’s letter is a tragedy for other reasons.

To charge anti-Semitism where there is none dilutes attention to real anti-Semitism, which there’s no shortage of. That includes false charges against Soros. Crank stories about Soros abound on the internet and they often include anti-Semitic, world conspiracy theories. Defeat those by attacking them, not columns that are entirely unrelated, or you will only inflame the conspiracy theorists.

Consider the irony that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is among the prosecutors whose campaign Soros funded – with a whopping $333,000. It’s not irony, actually, but consistency.

It’s Foxx who let Jussie Smollett off. What most infuriated many about that, especially blacks, was that his made-up story of bigotry detracts from real stories of bigotry. The Tribune Guild is guilty of precisely that, undermining the real fight against real bigotry by concocting a fake one. So much for the mob’s sincerity about bigotry.

Kass has now published his own response to the union’s letter.

John Kass

Standing ovation to him for dealing with the mob exactly as one should, by not giving in a single inch. From Kass’s response:

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.

Kass says Tribune management has decided not to take sides on the controversy. That’s a big mistake by the Tribune if true. This is a chance to distinguish itself from the long list of formerly reputable media, from the New York Times on down, that have thrown both their own reputations and the most fundamental standards of journalism to the wind.

Most of Chicago’s beaches are wide open because of the coronavirus shutdown, so the Tribune Guild should have no trouble taking a running jump into Lake Michigan. That’s what they should be told to do.

This article was corrected, in the fifth paragraph, to change “Kass” to “Kass’s message.”

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

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Old Spartan
5 days ago

Take a careful look at where the articles in the Trib come from Other than the local murder/auto accident/rape/fire stories, almost all of their content comes from the New York Times or AP. Kass is one of the only local major writers left. One day last week I looked at the nine stories that dealt with national or international topics, and two were from the NYT and seven from the AP.. That’s where the lefty content comes from. The Trib has had such major staff cutbacks they dont have much original thought any more.

Richard Poo Millersky
4 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Reuters, UPI and USA Today are still available. 😁

mqyl
6 days ago

I finally read the John Kass article, and I don’t understand how anyone could consider it anti-Semitic. I guess if you write something negative about a Jewish person, you’re automatically anti-Semitic. Similarly, if you write something negative about a person of a race other than yours, you’re automatically racist. That’s the thinking of someone with a low intellect or with an agenda that clashes with the article, or both.

Richard Poo Millersky
4 days ago
Reply to  mqyl

I re-read the article. If it’s Anti-Jewish, I don’t see it. Semite refers to speakers of Hebrew, Arabic or Aramaic languages. Anti-Semitic is an outdated term. 😑

Until recently, I was unaware that Soros is Jewish, at least by heritage. Soros sounds Greek or Hungarian. Soros surviving The Six Million Jewish Holocaust (1933-1945) isn’t relevant to Kass’ column. Technically, there’s Four Million “Others” Holocaust Survivors, including LGBT, Gypsies, Christians and more. 🤔

With Kass himself, he’s an opinion columnist. While his column has some facts, he is providing his opinion. 😁

Richard/Gerry Groves
6 days ago

I am so disappointed in the actions of the Chicago Tribune regarding John Kass. He has been one of the most honest reporters for the Trubune for over a couple decades now.. I am so tired of the attitude of most of the articles that are reported in the Tribune. They ar so far LEFT! in fact the whole Tribune and many other news medias have gone so far left that many times they dont give the truth!!!.. I am considering cancelling my subscription to the Trubune. The main reason I subscribed to it is because of how much I… Read more »

K
7 days ago

If a union has nothing to bitch about, does it actually exist?

Dorothy
7 days ago

Love your articles! Keep up the GREAT work.

SherlockHomeless
8 days ago

I personally rate the modern Chicago Tribune right with the New York Times as the worst daily rags in the United States.

Fur
8 days ago

Wapo too. They were also a recipient of the James Wolfe leak.

Maribeth Mcelveen
8 days ago

Mark-
Thank you for the best summation of this ridiculous farce. I am a huge fan of John Kass’ column and am infuriated by the “cancel culture” movement. Perhaps most outrageous was The Chicago Tribune’s response that they feared their readers could not distinguish between actual news and editorials. That’s just pitiful. For my husband and I, no Kass, no Chicago Tribune subscription.

Locke
8 days ago

The flack is heaviest as you near the target.

Richard Poo Millersky
8 days ago

John Kass can be read freely online. 😁

Why subscribe to a newspaper, when it can be read freely online? 😮

Joey Zamboni
8 days ago

Seems John has struck a nerve…?

Like others, he is trying to unmask the corruption & malfeasance occurring at all levels in our society…

When the left (or the right) responds like this, it makes me sit up & take notice…

It adds to the credibility of the reporter…

Benicia
8 days ago

Kass and “Brewster Rockit, Space Guy” were the only two things in that entire rag worth reading. The Trib is not even a worthy floor covering for a car oil change. The good news is that when the paper fails, so does its union.

Benicia
8 days ago
Reply to  Benicia

And, since it’s payday-yay, I’ll direct my savings from dropping the Trib’s on-line special deal for the balance of CY-20 to support the fine efforts of the Wirepoints crew.

Cornflakes
8 days ago

Several months ago I re-subscribed to the Chicago Tribune with the hope that they were going to provide balanced news. After reading this article I’ve changed my mind and have canceled my subscription. Goodbye and good riddance.

philip Tobin
8 days ago

John Kass’s perspective on Soros is what many common sense people believe in as well. Anyone supporting anarchy, and he aggressively does so with his wealth, should be denounced. He really should be tried for treason.

William Kimball
8 days ago

Wealthy donors have contributed to their pet causes for a long time(the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the DeVos Family). It does seem to be a bit of a dog whistle for Kass not to mention these examples. He may have avoided,or at least minimized the reaction he got from the Tribune’s union if he had. Judging from the reaction from some of Wirepoints readers as well, the union may have somewhat of a point. Both sides seems to me had legitimate points. Kass should have known, given the conspiracy laden, vitriolic society we now live in, that his comments might… Read more »

Platinum Goose
8 days ago

I see, he should only write what the Tribune’s union would like him to write, now that’s journalism. Unfortunately that’s is what’s called journalism today. Hard to find an unflattering article about Soros (blame journalism today) but here’s one.
https://www.city-journal.org/html/connoisseur-chaos-14954.html

William Kimball
7 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

Mark – my point was simply that a mere reference from Kass that financial contributions by wealthy donors are made from all walks of life might have saved his beloved front of the Tribune page location. He could have said that, or something like it. To think that the “right of center” doesn’t do the same thing is naive. Maybe they are better at hiding it. The outrage here from your readers seems no different than what you and your readers are complaining about – overly sensitive to “facts”. But I can understand that even Kass’s hint(probably unintentional) of a… Read more »

Chase Gioberti
6 days ago

How often do you see your side giving equal treatment to wealthy donors from your side when railing against people like the Koch brothers.

You belong in a mental institution.

William Kimball
6 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

I’m disappointed in your response here, Mark. I am heartened though that you posted a response from folks in the Soros organization in today’s Wirepoint. You are to be commended for that. Judging from the comments below I tend to doubt that your readers will read it.

UnclePugsly
8 days ago

“Both sides seems to me had legitimate points.”

The militant Tribune unionists fabricated their outrage – nothing legitimate.

Maribeth Mcelveen
8 days ago

Maybe John Kass is not worried about “offending”. His reporting of Soros funding is true and factual. If that “offends”, so be it.

Fur
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

I agree with both of you..

Offended by facts. How delusional.

True believer
8 days ago

The tribune and its reporters are all socialist scum. Pure and simple. The tribune Is garbage. They are as bad as Fusco and his cop haters at the scum Times.

Last edited 8 days ago by True believer
8 days ago

Cancel your subscription to the Tribune if you have one. I did.

Lyn P
9 days ago

As Kass demonstrates, it’s become glaringly obvious in national media and politics that every level of civic life is infiltrated and directed by the global elite cabal. A Fail and Reset of the entire media industry might be one of the few things that can stop this woke-wash of America.

Governor of Alderaan
9 days ago

The union members need to remind the leadership that the union represents the membership, not Soros. The union leadership is clearly and literally owned by Soros, on his payroll and following his commands

UnclePugsly
9 days ago

I would like to see a expose’ on the ‘Guild’ leadership and their political dealings. The Guild thrust itself into the public eye, now lets examine them inside and out and expose them for what they are.

8 days ago
Reply to  UnclePugsly

That would require journalism, and journalistic integrity. Good luck

Mick the Tick
9 days ago

Big surprise…another union in Chicago fights against truth/facts. Why? Because Chicagoans are stupid enough to believe that whoever screams the loudest should be believed. Thanks to my parents for moving our family out many years ago.

Joan
9 days ago

How can people this awful be allowed to work at any paper? Can’t Kass sue for slander? It’s a pure lie they told and they have no defense. Did they have no parents who taught honesty or were they raised by wolves? With Tribune’s financial troubles you would think the owners would just fire all of them. It would be easy to find replacements and they’d make the paper famous.

Bob Out of Here
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark Glennon

+1 on Kristin, she’s awesome.

NB-Chicago
9 days ago

They’ll be trying to run McQueary out next. With aim of zero consevitive vocies in any of chicago’s major news outlets….while all major chicago news outlets are as bankrupt as illinois. Is there some finacial incentive to turn your paper 100% woke? Has nyt & wash post, for example, subscriptions increased since going 100% woke? Or does the mighty trib writers guild care as trib just laid off a stack of employees? Or they probably wish they all had gigs at st with public sector union ownership & tax payer funding!!

NB-Chicago
8 days ago
Reply to  NB-Chicago

Was googling, and I believe a lot of the news outlets that are recently unionizing (like trib writers guild) as writer guilds or whatever are in reallity part of cwa. Or i could be wrong. https://www.influencewatch.org/labor-union/communications-workers-of-america/

Old Spartan
9 days ago

They should add a chapter in ‘Profiles In Courage’ about John Kass. Hooray for him. It must not be easy for him to stand tall in the face of these petty sophomoric attacks. We need more citizens with courage, brains and tenacity like him to stand up to these leftist mobs.

ConcernedExpat
9 days ago

The yahoos at CapitalFax were actually endorsing this smear campaign and used an ADL letter that, no joke, cited random twitter users as evidence of said conspiracy theories. I’m old enough to remember when you could have a general policy disagreement and not be called an “ism”. Kudos to Kass for not cow towing to these reverse conspiracy theorists (you truly need to do mental gymnastics to arrive at their logic).

Dave
9 days ago

Search George Soros at David Horowitz’ website, https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/ you will be shocked where his tentacles reach

nixit
9 days ago

In January 2020, the Illinois Justice & Public Safety PAC is created. Based out of DC, it is a replica of other “Justice & Public Safety PACs” found in other states. Even WaPo claimed it has ties to Soros. A month later, DC-based Democracy Now PAC, which also has ties to Soros, contributes $2 million to Illinois Justice & Public Safety PAC. They turn around and spent that money on negative ads against Foxx’s main competitor in the primaries, Bill Conway. This goes largely unreported by local media, who instead choose to focus on Conway’s billionaire father while completely ignoring… Read more »

Dave
9 days ago

The union Guild is trying to gaslight Illinois citizens. Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a CRUEL & EVIL form of mental and psychological ABUSE in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sometimes sanity. In the neighborhood we used to call it baffling with baloney. Now I just say they are trying to supervise formation of public opinion with lies, total misrepresenting the facts and truth. The first thing they teach in Chicago’s Democrat politics is the end always justifies the means. Nothing is unethical as long as it achieves your… Read more »