George Soros and Those Tribune Flies

By Steve Huntley

August 7, 2022

 

“You are sure to be censured by malevolent Criticks and Bug Writers, who will abuse you while you are serving them, and wound your Character in nameless Pamphlets, thereby resembling those little dirty stinking Insects that attack us only in the dark, disturbing our Repose, molesting and wounding us ….”

 

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin wrote that warning to the Revolutionary government official charged with the thankless task of getting recalcitrant states to adequately fund the war. But it struck me that those words, notably “resembling little dirty stinking insects,” applied to the attack by ankle-biting woke union officials at the Chicago Tribune who tried to smear columnist John Kass.

To recap what happened: Kass wrote a column taking note of billionaire George Soros funding the election of prosecutors across the nation, including Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who are utterly uninterested in putting criminals behind bars. On their watch, a reign of violence, robbery and mayhem plague the streets of so many cities.

For stating this self-evident truth and calling out Soros for his role in it, the Tribune guild accused Kass, a distinguished newspaperman who enhanced Tribune journalism for four decades, of anti-Semitism.

Soros’ financial aid to woke prosecutors was not secret. It had been reported and commented on before in media elsewhere in the country. Since the Kass column was published, Soros himself wrote an op-ed recently in the Wall Street Journal saying he funds campaigns of progressive prosecutors and has no intention of stopping. He’s proud of it.

There’s nothing wrong with any American citizen, let alone a wealthy American contributing to candidates he supports. And there’s nothing wrong with a journalist reporting that a rich man is bankrolling political candidates and commenting on it.

You can read the Kass column for yourself. There’s not a hint, not a suggestion, not any insinuation of a Jewish conspiracy to control America’s big cities, as the Tribune guild falsely claimed in trying to malign Kass.

To Kass, Soros is an individual using his wealth and influence in ways the newspaperman, and millions of Americans, think is wrong. To the Tribune guild, Soros is a Jew. And even though Kass did not reference Soros in any way as a Jew, the liberal guild used Soros’ Jewish identity as a weapon to attack Kass, whose well-argued conservative views the union honchos hate.

Given the history of discrimination against and persecution of Jews, culminating in the horrors of the Holocaust, and given a recent surge in Jew-hating incidents in our society, a charge of anti-Semitism is a grave accusation, one of the worst that can be leveled against someone.

An allegation of anti-Semitism should be based on facts and evidence, not political motives.

What do you call what the Tribune guild did?

Well, I guess it didn’t rise to the level of the Jussie Smollett phony hate crime (which, by the way, Foxx wouldn’t prosecute). No laws were broken by the Tribune guild.

But simple standards of decency and fair play were breached. It was something ugly, perverse and offensive to the concept of justice. It tracked closely with the kind of race-baiting that progressives resort to in hurling a racist label against anyone who disagrees with far-left politics.

It also was an example of the radical cancel culture that’s intolerant of any view not progressive. Resorting to Orwellian language contortions, progressives demonize dissent by calling it disinformation or misinformation.

And Kass’ dissent from the prevailing far left culture of the Tribune could not be tolerated.

Kass is an accomplished individual who takes positions on controversial issues and is open to criticism and rebuttal on his writing. But he didn’t sign up for his character to be vilified by unethical, immoral political foes who seized on a public figure’s Jewish identity to manufacture a false, malicious accusation for political ends.

Nor, I suspect, did he ever expect to be betrayed by a Tribune publisher and editorial executives who would not stand up for basic journalistic and constitutional standards of free thought and free speech.

 

Tribune readers might well ask themselves what this sorry episode says about news coverage by the paper. For one thing, it’s hard not to conclude that it’s the guild, and not editorial management, that’s running the newsroom.

For another, a newspaper guided by a political agenda won’t be a reliable source for any news that might contradict that agenda. And seeing what happened to Kass, why would any Tribune reporter risk his reputation and livelihood by breaking a story contrary to the progressive dictates of, to borrow from Kass, the Jacobins in charge at the Tribune?

Because of this sad chapter at a once great journalistic institution, Kass did the only honorable thing. He took a buyout, left the Tribune and established this website, johnkassnews.com, to continue affording readers the knowledge and insights gained in his four decades of experience in Chicago journalism.

Now that Soros has acknowledged in print his financial bankrolling of woke prosecutors, Kass says he doesn’t expect an apology from the guild and, if one were offered, he’d have no time for it.

To quote the ancient proverb, the eagle does not catch flies, or in this case, “little dirty stinking insects.”

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About the author:

Steve Huntley, a retired Chicago journalist now living in Austin, Texas.

For almost three decades Huntley his long and distinguished journalism career in Chicago journalism at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a feature writer, metro reporter, night city editor, metropolitan editor, editorial page editor and a columnist for the opinion pages and editor of the Sun- Times Editorial Page.

He has contributed several fine pieces to johnkassnews.com, from his examination of Chicago’s secret political jail housing Christopher Columbus and other politically problematic statues, to Americans suffering from Joe Biden Gas Pain, and “Orwellian Warning: Newspeak, Public Safety and Chicago’s Rising Violent Crime.

Previous to his work at the Sun-Times, Huntley was a reporter and editor with United Press International (UPI) in the South and Chicago, and Chicago bureau chief, and a senior editor in Washington with U.S. News & World Report.

Huntley is also author of an award-winning book, “Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America, by Truman K. Gibson Jr. with Steve Huntley, a memoir of a Chicagoan who was a member of President Roosevelt’s World War II Black Cabinet working to desegregate the military.

It is an honor and privilege to have Mr. Huntley, who spent decades in the news business in Chicago, writing here.