Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot is only accepting interview requests from “black and brown journalists” as a matter of policy, according to a spokesman.
“As @chicagosmayor reaches her two year midway point as mayor, her spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews-only to Black or Brown journalists,” local political journalist Mary Ann Ahern tweeted.
— Mary Ann Ahern (@MaryAnnAhernNBC) May 18, 2021
On Twitter, Lightfoot defended the policy, writing that she “ran [for mayor] to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn’t just in City Hall. It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.”
“This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city” Lightfoot added, before noting that “we must be intentional about doing better.”
Lightfoot’s conception of “better” is left undefined in her explanation, but her actions would lead one to believe that it includes overt racial discrimination that impairs the ability of some journalists to do their job, punishing them for their skin color.
Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune covering City Hall responded to the new policy by not only critiquing it, but pulling out of an interview he had been granted with Lightfoot.
“I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”