Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Doubles Down on Giving Exclusive Interviews Only to Journalists of Color

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot redoubled her controversial policy of granting interview requests only to minority members of the media, saying she would “absolutely do it again.”

Speaking on the New York Time’s Sway with Kara Swisher Monday, Lightfoot, a Democrat, said that despite the backlash against the temporary policy, which she put in place for a day in May to celebrate her two-year anniversary as mayor, it had led to a discussion.

“I would absolutely do it again. I’m not ashamed of it because it led to a very important conversation, a conversation that had to happen, that should have happened a long time ago.”

Lightfoot said that despite the response from journalists who criticized the decision, because it gave politicians the ability to choose the reporters to cover them, it was important for her to use her position in an advocacy role.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot redoubled her controversial policy in May of giving exclusive interviews only to reporters of color, saying she would “absolutely do it again” in an interview Monday.

Lightfoot made the comments to Kara Swisher of the New York Times, who noted the importance of diversity in the newsroom but disagreed that politicians shouldn't be able to choose which reporters cover them.

Lightfoot made the comments to Kara Swisher of the New York Times, who noted the importance of diversity in the newsroom but disagreed that politicians shouldn’t be able to choose which reporters cover them.

Here’s the bottom line for me, to put the obvious, I’m a black female mayor. I’m the mayor of the third largest city in the country, of course I have a platform and it’s important for me to advocate for things that matter to me,” she said. “Going back to why I fled, to disrupt the status quo. The media is vital to our democracy. the media is in a time of incredible upheaval and disruption, but our town hall press corps looks like it’s 1950 or 1970.”

In particular, she called on news outlets to focus on hiring more diverse slates of reporters.

“People who make hiring decisions need to be focused on diversity. In Chicago, we have an enormous amount of diverse media talent. We have top of the class journalism schools across the country, and I would say all over the world. So the absence of colored journalists covering the mayor of a country’s third largest city is absolutely unacceptable,” she said. “So I decided to say something about it.”

Swisher, who is white, echoed the concerns of some of her fellow journalists that politicians cannot choose the journalists who cover them.

“I just started teaching at the University of Chicago. You have an amazing variety of journalists there that I have taught. And I agree with the need for more diversity in the media. But politicians can’t choose who covers them,” she said.

“No, it’s not about me choosing who covers me, is it? I gave exclusive interviews. And we get to choose who we talk to in exclusives,” Lightfoot replied. ‘Didn’t I give exclusive interviews with colored journalists? A 24-hour period and it was like people’s heads exploded. I had journalists say, “Does the mayor think I’m racist?” No, it’s not about individuals. It’s about systemic racism.’

Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said he was among those given an interview in May, but the paper decided to cancel it when Lightfoot refused to lift its ban on other reporters.

Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said he was among those given an interview in May, but the paper decided to cancel it when Lightfoot refused to lift its ban on other reporters.

When Lightfoot first announced the controversial policy, it was met with some trepidation, even from colored reporters.

Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune, said he was among those given an exclusive interview, but the paper decided to cancel it when Lightfoot refused to lift its ban on other reporters.

“I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request has been granted for today. However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift others’ terms and when they said no, we respectfully canceled,” Pratt tweeted.

“Politicians can’t choose who covers them.”

Pratt was dumb on Monday about Lightfoot’s doubling down on her decision to retry the policy, focusing instead on other aspects of Lightfoot’s interview, such as seemingly conflicting proposals for coronavirus.

Pratt was doubling down on mama Lightfoot's policies, but instead focused on other aspects of the interview, such as Lightfoot's seemingly conflicting views on coronavirus policy

Pratt was doubling down on mama Lightfoot’s policies, but instead focused on other aspects of the interview, such as Lightfoot’s seemingly conflicting views on coronavirus policy

For example, Lightfoot warned that if positivity rates increase by about 200 a day, she could reset mask mandates. At the same time, however, plans to bring the Lollapalooza music festival to Chicago at the end of July are continuing.

“At the same time, threatening potential restrictions if the number of cases rises above 200 a day, Mayor Lori Lightfoot continues plans to bring 100,000 a day to Grant Park for Lollapalooza,” Pratt tweeted, noting that the city held a meeting last week. one point saw 193 cases.

In addition, he noted that Lightfoot was hesitant to run for re-election when she told Swisher that “it wasn’t a gimme” that she would run again, especially as crime has remained an issue in the city.

‘Whether she is walking again will be clear in a year’s time. If the crime continues as it is, she may not have a choice,” he tweeted.

Journalists noted that Lightfoot's comments, as well as those about whether or not she would seek re-election, came as gun violence continued to plague the Windy City in 2021.  years and a 60 percent jump from 2019

Journalists noted that Lightfoot’s comments, as well as those about whether or not she would seek re-election, came as gun violence continued to plague the Windy City in 2021. years and a 60 percent jump from 2019

It came as the Chicago Suntimes reported on Sunday that Lightfoot’s policies to stem the tide of violence in the city appear to be failing, with the most troubled communities seeing gun violence on the rise.

For example, the number of fatal shootings in West Pullman was up 566 percent from this time two years ago, the outlet reported, in North Lawndale at 201 percent, South Lawndale at 160 percent and Chatham at 116 percent.

According to the analysis, there were only three areas Lightfoot has focused on since 2019.

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