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Reporters: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Only Gives Interviews to Black or Brown Journalists

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Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot is no stranger to controversy (her hypocrisy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic speaks for itself), but her most recent escapade probably takes the cake.

Fox News reported earlier this week that Lightfoot appears to now only be granting interviews to “journalists of color,” which she appears to define as “black or brown” people.

The story was first broken on Twitter by WMAQ-TV political reporter Mary Ann Ahern. “As ⁦[Lightfoot] reaches her two year midway point as mayor, her spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews – only to Black or Brown journalists,” Ahern tweeted on Tuesday.

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WTTW-TV political correspondent Paris Schultz echoed Ahren’s claim, saying, “I was told the same thing.”

Such a story seems absurd on the surface, even by progressive standards. How can someone in such a position of power engage in blatant racial discrimination with a straight face? George Cardenas, the alderman for Chicago’s 12th Ward, believed there had to have been some mistake.

However, WTTW politics reporter Heather Cherone replied, saying that she, too, could confirm that Ahern’s original tweet was true. To his credit, Cardenas immediately revised his original position, and demanded that Lightfoot’s policy be “corrected.”

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Lightfoot decided to get involved before the situation got out of hand — massaging her language to make the racist policy sound better.

“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,” Lightfoot tweeted on Wednesday.

“Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change,” she said.

Lightfoot also said she would be “prioritizing” minority journalists — one Twitter user pointed out this did not mean the Chicago mayor was “excluding” white reporters. This was probably a poor method of damage control more than anything else.

Such a blatant display of racism is unbecoming of an elected official, or any citizen of good moral character.

Public servants ought to make themselves available to all questioners, regardless of race, unless that questioner is conducting his or herself improperly (looking at you Jim Acosta).

Lightfoot will probably try to depict herself as a hero, winning a decisive victory in a conflict that could result in identity politics occupying a hegemonic position in American life. In reality, she’s a woefully ineffective mayor who enjoys luxury and self-adulation while her city crumbles.

If nothing else, it’s nice to see the mainstream media unite around a progressive for once. The journalism industry has always been toxic, but it’s clear that there are still some wisps of integrity when their jobs and voices are on the line. Maybe now they’ll understand how we feel.

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Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
Garion Frankel is the senior policy advisor for the Texas Federation of College Republicans. He enjoys and has published articles and academic works on public policy, philosophy and political theory.
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