I was getting ready to post today on the fully warranted Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal and then I read the column below by former Chicago Tribune colleague and columnist John Kass. John left the Tribune this past summer, the victim of “cancel culture” primarily because of a column he wrote that was critical of socialist billionaire George Soros.
The Chicago Tribune Guild accused Kass of using an anti-Semitic expression in his column about Soros—a ridiculous and unfounded charge. Kass was the lone conservative voice in a vociferous choir of mostly leftist journalists at the Chicago Tribune and was, to some, a thorn in their leftist flanks. To his credit, Kass didn’t back down and preferred to leave the Tribune rather than kowtow to the liberal mob.
Kass joined the Tribune in 1983 and was promoted to columnist in 1997 after the death of Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Mike Royko. It was a tough act to follow, but John did an exceptional job of it for 24 years.
Here is his column:
If only Kyle Rittenhouse could ask Biden and media: “Have you no sense of decency?”
By John Kass
A jury has loudly issued “not guilty” verdicts in the malignant political prosecution of Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse.
And now, what next?
What happens to corporate media—and its phony social justice warrior pundits–who savaged Rittenhouse and used race, when race had nothing to do with the case? They egged on the mob that screamed for the young man’s head on a pike, and now they’re still at it even after the verdict. They got their clicks out of him, and now they expect what, exactly? That we’ll forget how they howled even before the first witness testified?
And what of the politicians, from President Joe Biden on down, who falsely and maliciously defamed the teenager as a “white supremacist” before trial, though no such evidence was ever presented. Biden and company fed him to the mob, stepping on justice for votes.
Can you sue a president for libel, even a witless meat puppet-like The Big Guy?
The thing is tragic. Two men are dead. I don’t consider him a hero. He’ll carry the stain of this forever. The kid should never have been there that night with his gun in the chaos of the riots in Kenosha. But he was there, as the governor and mayor pulled law enforcement back, leaving Kenosha’s streets to the violent.
And in America, for now, at least, you can still defend your life when a mob tries to take it from you.
At least the jury got it right. They heard the evidence. They considered the testimony and acquitted Rittenhouse. He shot three men in self-defense, one who tried to bash his head in with a skateboard, one who tried to take his gun, and the third who pointed a gun at him. Two of them died. And again, the mayor and the governor had withdrawn law enforcement, turning the streets over to the rioters who burned buildings that some fools in media called a “mostly peaceful” protest.
The prosecution revealed itself to be purely political, rushing to charge Rittenhouse before all the facts were in. And they failed.
If they’d succeeded, the kid who cried on the witness stand could have been sentenced to life in prison. How would he survive inside, a kid like that? He wouldn’t. A kid like that wouldn’t survive five minutes. The media twisted and shaped the facts to suit a political narrative, and politicians who benefitted from narrative support would have moved on with their lives. And as they heaped glory on themselves, Rittenhouse, if put in state prison, would be dead or wish he were dead every minute of his life.
So he’s free. I wonder if Biden and his Democrat and media allies ever read “The Ox-Bow Incident” which was made into a great classic movie in the early 1940s. It is about a posse that becomes righteous and lynches three innocent men. I suspect a few politicians and media read it, at least those who read more than their own Twitter feeds. And I’ve got to believe Biden read it, and watched the movie. He certainly was lucid enough back then to have handled it. Now, I don’t think so.
For years “The Ox-Bow Incident” was a favorite of liberal teachers and professors, who had lived through the McCarthy era and the “Red Scare,” when it was the political right making accusations and stoking anger through media. Sen. McCarthy’s political reign of terror ended as he hunted for Communists in the U.S. Army. Joseph N. Welch, the lawyer for the Army, confronted McCarthy at a public hearing with this withering question:
“Have you no sense of decency, sir?”
Things change and parallels are conveniently forgotten or ignored. Because now it is the left that goes out hunting for witches in the Armed Forces. Democrats shut their mouths and don’t dare ask the inquisitors if they’ve lost their sense of decency. Careerist generals, their fingers in the wind, have eagerly gone woke reading “White Fragility.”
Now that the jury has cleared Rittenhouse, mealy mouths pipe up and ask us to move past it all. I don’t want us to move past it. And I make a simple request: Don’t forget what politicians, prosecutors, and media have done.
If you do want to forget what happened, to make things easier for yourself, at least be honest about the cost of forgetting. Forget, move past it, and you’re inviting the next mob to grab blind Lady Justice by the hair, strip off her blindfold, and bend her to their political will. And if their politics aren’t your politics, you will pay for it. That’s where America is now, lusting for tribal justice, not blind justice.
Imagine your son or daughter in the middle of it all, or yourself or your friends, your neighbors professing innocence and being drowned out by the political barking dogs. In this case, the Kenosha jury stood up, and refused to cave to pressure. They were deliberate. They were careful. They saw that prosecutorial overreach had little in common to the reality they’d lived through in Kenosha. But the next time? Who can say? Is that what you want for America?
If you don’t want to forget, all you have to do is Google your favorite social justice warrior pundit and search out what they said and wrote in August of 2020, when the streets of Kenosha were on fire.
I’d recommend that you also read Miranda Devine of The New York Post. She recently compiled a list of ten debunked lies that were told about Rittenhouse. Or read Bari Weis on Substack, “The Media’s Verdict on Kyle Rittenhouse: Why so many got this story so wrong.”
The media got it wrong the way they’ve gotten other stories wrong, and for the same reasons, from media attacks on innocent Covington, Ky. teenager Nicholas Sandman, or media stubbornly pushing the false “Russia Collusion” narrative that is now completely falling apart. Will the Washington Post and the New York Times return their Pulitzer Prizes that were based on the Russia Hoax lie? They should, immediately. But they won’t.
In a recent column, I wrote that corporate, legacy media, which gave into hyper partisanship years ago, has rotted from the roots. Woke newsrooms push ideology over reason. As Weis and I and many others who once worked in woke mainstream media newsrooms know all too well, woe to those who disagree.
In the current mainstream media world, with American cities under siege, editors outlawed the use of the word “riot.” A riot could not be called a riot lest some be offended. Other Newspeak fig leaves are offered up instead, and the people see how reality is distorted, and the disconnect added to the rot and decay of corporate media. If there is anything positive out of this, it’s that thinking Americans are abandoning the product of woke newsrooms to seek out independent media sites instead.
Weis begins her piece on Rittenhouse and the media this way:
“Here is what I thought was true about Kyle Rittenhouse during the last days of August 2020 based on mainstream media accounts: The 17-year-old was a racist vigilante. I thought he drove across state lines, to Kenosha, Wisc., with an illegally acquired semi-automatic rifle to a town to which he had no connection. I thought he went there because he knew there were Black Lives Matter protests and he wanted to start a fight. And I thought that by the end of the evening of August 25, 2020, he had done just that, killing two peaceful protestors and injuring a third.
“It turns out that account was mostly wrong.”
She argues her misperception wasn’t because of a “disinformation campaign waged by Reddit trolls or anonymous Twitter accounts,” but pushed by mainstream media and the politicians to support a political narrative.
It was a case that should never have been brought but was brought, because of politics. Kenosha’s streets were on fire after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who had allegedly sexually assaulted a woman and pulled a knife on police officers when he was shot. The BLM riots began, Biden and other Democrats rushed to curry favor with the Blake family because they had elections to win. Democrats had to blame someone for the chaos in Kenosha, and Rittenhouse was fitted for the jacket. All of it was political.
The police officer who shot Blake was exonerated. Blake was Black, but Rittenhouse and the three men he shot were white. Race wasn’t an issue in Rittenhouse, though media tried to make it so.
The prosecution saw its case fall apart when prosecution witnesses testified, including the one who admitted to pointing a loaded gun at Rittenhouse. The video shows clearly what happened. The mob attacking, trying to kill him and grab his gun.
The jury deliberated carefully for days, with great political pressure upon them. Even the jury bus was allegedly being stalked by MSNBC news. This begged the question of jury intimidation. And with all that pressure on them, the jury came to a just and responsible verdict:
Not guilty on all counts.
You might think with all the political and media lies being told, with media screeching and MSNBC resident racist and homophobe Joy Reid yammering on and on about “white tears,” that it would be difficult to sort out a truth.
Not “the” truth, but “a” truth, what those who wanted Rittenhouse to be found guilty believe as in an article of faith. It came from the lips of James Kraus, one of the prosecutors in closing argument.
He said that Rittenhouse shouldn’t have defended himself. That he had no right to defend himself. Instead, he should have taken the beating, because, well, everybody takes a beating.
“Where is it that, when you get a couple of scrapes? Everybody takes a beating sometimes, right?” Kraus told the jury. “Sometimes you get in a scuffle, and maybe you do get hurt a little bit. That doesn’t mean you get to start plugging people with your full metal jacket AR-15 rounds.”
Everybody takes a beating?
The Rittenhouse jury doesn’t live in the Washington Media Complex bubble. They live in Wisconsin, in Kenosha. They lived through the Kenosha riots. They’d seen what had happened to their town. They’d already gone through emotional and psychological beatings. And here was a prosecutor telling them that everyone should relax and take a beating.
Kraus didn’t sound like a prosecutor who had just seen his own case blow up. Rather, he was like Henry Hill, the character in “Goodfellas” played by Ray Liotta, the gangster who also said, “Everybody takes a beating.”
Did the prosecution prepare for trial by watching gangster movies?
If you were on the street in a riot, would you take a beating, just so a prosecutor wouldn’t get upset? Would you just lie down and let them put the boots to you? I don’t think that would be a good idea. The jury didn’t think it was a good idea, either.
We’re Americans. We don’t kneel and take beatings.
What the American people want is fairness. Yes, we need the law, but we need what’s behind the law, too. In “The Ox-Bow Incident” movie, the cowboy, Gil, played by liberal icon Henry Fonda, reads a letter from one of the innocent men that the self-righteous posse has just lynched.
It is a letter from the dead man to his wife:
“Law is a lot more than words you put in a book, or judges or lawyers or sheriffs you hire to carry it out. It’s everything people ever have found out about justice and what’s right and wrong. It’s the very conscience of humanity. There can’t be any such thing as civilization unless people have a conscience, because if people touch God anywhere, where is it except through their conscience?”
Is the media stoking rage and racial resentment a civilized act? No. It is an act of force, an exercise in power. There is no restraint in an activated mob. There is no conscience to it. You can’t ride the mob as if it were a horse. Once it’s lathered up, there is no directing it.
Biden and the Democrats won’t apologize to Kyle Rittenhouse. Corporate media won’t apologize. And if you asked any of them that Joseph Welch question: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” they’d look at you as if you were ill or from another planet.
But I’ll ask it again: Have you no sense of decency?
What happened to Kyle Rittenhouse wasn’t decent. There is no decency in power politics and he was the target. There is no conscience in power politics. And no restraint.
And that’s what all this was all about. Power politics.
(Copyright 2021 John Kass)