Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently told Sway host Kara Swisher in a New York Times interview that she is “unapologetic” over her controversial decision to only grant non-white and female reporters interviews. She said that diversity and inclusion are “imperative” across all institutions, including the media. Diversity and inclusion to a Democrat mean banning white reporters left and right. And according to Lightfoot, it was the right move.
“I would absolutely do it again. I’m unapologetic about it because it spurred a very important conversation, a conversation that needed to happen, that should have happened a long time ago,” Lightfoot told The New York Times.
She said the bottom line is that she is a “Black woman mayor” of the third-largest city in the country and has a platform to advocate on things she believes is important. She said she was willing to “disrupt the status quo” since media is critically important to our democracy and prioritize “POC reporters.” She even referred to the city hall press corps looking like it’s “1950 or 1970.” But even non-white reporters haven’t cared for Lightfoot’s behavior.
The Chicago Tribune’s Gregory Pratt wrote that his interview was granted because he is a Latino reporter but said he respectfully canceled when Lightfoot refused to lift the policy. He said he didn’t believe a government official should be telling a newspaper or the media who covers what. He agreed with Lightfoot that there are diversity problems in the media but said her decision was “very polarizing”
Another reporter, Newsmax’s William Kelly, also brought up her policy on treating reporters. He shouted “White reporter in the house!” during a heated exchange with Lightfoot related to crime in the city and how he was being treated as a reporter.
But Lightfoot has continued to defend her position on providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of color. She said “as a person of color” she has spent her whole life fighting diversity and inclusion in every institution and putting a spotlight on making it the “most important issue.” She described how she was struck by the “overwhelming whiteness and maleness” of the Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, political press corps, and City Hall press corps.
Lightfoot has emphasized that the move is meant to resist “systemic racism,” but even NBC 5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern expressed her outrage and said nothing has changed. Mayor Lightfoot continues to blame the uptick in city crime on the fact that Chicago-area news outlets are predominantly White.
Former 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard also slammed the move as “anti-white racism” and insisted that President Biden, Kamala Harris, and other leaders of the world call on Lightfoot’s resignation.
But Lightfoot has pushed back and claimed that hiring decisions “have to be focused” on diversity. She said Chicago is seeing a huge amount of diverse media talent and insisted that schools with diverse journalism are the best in class across the country. While reporter Swisher tried to agree with her on diversity being an important issue, she pushed back on the claims that the government should be allowed to pick specific reporters. Lightfoot has a different story.
“I gave exclusive interviews with journalists of color, right? One 24-hour period and it was like people’s heads exploded. I had journalists saying, ‘Does the mayor think I’m racist?’ No, it’s not about individuals. It’s about systemic racism,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot pushed back and said she doesn’t just want a conversation, but results. She said these networks, companies, and producers weren’t taking their claims seriously and that she’s seen the same issue “plague” reporters who cover the tech community.
Somebody should tell Lightfoot that reverse discrimination is still discrimination and that openly admitting you should hire people based on the color of their skin is just plain wrong. People should be hired based on their ability to do a job and nothing more.
Lightfoot will talk about diversity in the press all day but nothing about the record-breaking crime rates in her own city. Everything her platform stands for is all about issues that are important to her and nothing about serving Chicagoans. With at least 70 people shot and 10 people killed over a single weekend, it shows.