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Originally, I was going to write a post on how a Chicago Tribune writer was accused of making anti-Semitic attacks on billionaire George Soros. The accusation was a lie.
Whenever conservatives point to the financing of violent and disruptive groups, George Soros is one name that often shows up. And he happens to be a Jew, at least by birth. So when John Kass, the only conservative columnist working for the Chicago Tribune, criticized Soros in his column, the knives came out. But that’s not the end of the story.
(If you want to know more about Soros’ activities, you can go here.)
The attacks made on Kass were nasty. The Executive Committee of the Chicago Tribune Guild (the paper’s union), demanded an apology from Kass and the paper. They called Kass’ column “shocking” and “anti-Semitic.” The fact that Kass made no reference, direct or indirect, to Soros’ religion or ethnicity wasn’t relevant to them. The Editor-in-Chief, Colin McMahon “demoted” Kass from the page 2 location that Mike Royko had held and put him on the page where the other columnists were published. (The editor said this move had been planned, to help readers distinguish between news and opinion. I guess the timing was a coincidence.)
But the most significant news comes from John Kass himself: he refuses to apologize and has held his ground. Here are a couple of excerpts from the follow-on column he wrote:
The past several days have been rough, after I was defamed as a bigot by the Chicago Tribune Guild for daring to write a column about left-wing billionaire George Soros funding liberal candidates for prosecutor in several states.
The union demanded that the newspaper and I apologize for something I didn’t do — foment Soros conspiracy theories. I reported facts about his political work that were reported by other reputable news organizations.
And so, I told the union, in effect, to go pound sand.
He also wrote about a movie, “Mr. Jones,” that had an interesting parallel to Kass’ situation:
The larger story is about the spreading of false narratives. And to enforce them, to shut people up, there is a tactic. Now we call it cancel culture. It’s happening to professors, people in media, and to millions of Americans out there without a voice.
But I still have a newspaper column. I haven’t been canceled. And I expect to keep writing as long as I can. In the few letters I’ve been able to answer, I’ve been asked, with all that’s gone on, with all the pressure and the trolls, why do I keep on writing?
To encourage the others, I say. To encourage the others.
Mr. Kass is a brave man. He may be risking his job to speak the truth. I think he is trying to embolden all of us to speak up when others try to silence our voices, when instead we could give many reasons for the wisdom and practicality of keeping quiet.
Let’s tell those who would silence us to pound sand.Published in