On Wednesday morning, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) announced she would be “prioritizing media requests from [people of color] reporters.” On Tuesday, her spokeswoman said Lightfoot would only grant 1-on-1 interviews to “black and brown journalists.” The mayor granted one such interview to a Hispanic reporter at the Chicago Tribune, but he turned the interview down in order to protest the racist policy.
“I am a Latino reporter [at the Chicago Tribune] whose interview request was granted for today. However, 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,” Gregory Pratt tweeted on Wednesday.
I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today. However, 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. https://t.co/YMW8M8ZgJm
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) May 19, 2021
Lightfoot’s new explicitly racist policy may not involve granting access to all “black and brown journalists,” however.
“I wish Lightfoot’s office would have granted one interview to our [City Bureau] budget team last year who were mostly young women of color covering policy,” Sarah Conway, a senior reporter at the Chicago-based nonprofit media organization City Bureau, lamented on Twitter. “Instead, they declined every. single. interview. request. and complained about multiple FOIA requests.”
I wish Lightfoot's office would have granted one interview to our @city_bureau budget team last year who were mostly young women of color covering policy. Instead, they declined every. single. interview. request. and complained about multiple FOIA requests. https://t.co/i1OXNiXqWj
— Sarah Conway (@sarahanneconway) May 19, 2021
Ironically, Lightfoot’s explicitly racist “anti-racist” policy seems little more than virtue signaling of an extremely bizarre kind. Her staff will likely screen interviews for more than just the skin color of the reporter — but her explicit announcement that she will only do 1-on-1 interviews with reporters “of color” provides an excuse to reject many more requests than usual.
This selective access weakens the freedom of the press. As Pratt declared, “Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”
Yet the blanket racism remains arguably the worst and most terrifying aspect of this whole situation. In the name of balancing the racial scales, Lightfoot adopted a policy explicitly privileging people based on the color of their skin, rather than the content of their character.
Lightfoot defended the explicitly racist policy by complaining that there are too many “White” people among the press.
“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,” the governor tweeted. “Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change. 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.”
Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) May 19, 2021
The real shame isn’t that too many reporters are — or, in Lightfoot’s words, “identify as” — white, but that the mayor of America’s second most populous city is resorting to outright racism to score political points. She is willing to contradict the spirit (and perhaps the letter) of civil rights laws by discriminating against reporters due to their skin color because the “anti-racism” movement — fueled by Marxist critical race theory — dictates it.
This nefarious ideology is extremely mainstream, and it is eroding the foundational tenets of the United States of America. That is truly terrifying.