Thursday, May 27, 2021

Delmarie Cobb offers her take on Chicago's press corps

Delmarie Cobb on Hitting Left radio in 2017. 

Veteran media and political consultant, Delmarie Cobb responded, in her recent newsletter, to Lori  Lightfoot's decision to give preferential interviews to journalists of color on Lightfoot's second anniversary as Mayor of Chicago. 

Cobb agrees with Lightfoot's assessment of the current predominantly-white City Hall press corps and then takes it to the next level. 

Yes, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a point about the predominantly white press corps. With the retirements of Charles Thomas of ABC/7 and Derrick Blakley of CBS/2, there is a small number of high profile, seasoned political reporters covering City Hall and Springfield for the mainstream media who are Black.

That still doesn’t address the near extinction of community media outlets and the role they play in nurturing and cultivating qualified journalists. It was the Chicago Defender that produced political journalists Vernon Jarrett and Lu Palmer. Currently, there are a number of working reporters in Chicago who got their start in the field thanks to Black newspapers.

Cobb's point is well taken. While local media workers and staff, along with Guild leaders, like the Tribune's Gregg Pratt, we're righteously outraged about the Alden hedge-funder's takeover of the Tribune Co. and even went begging for some benevolent billionaire to replace Alden,  they've been deadly silent for years about the takedown of community media outlets, especially those that were Black-owned. 

They were much more vocal and militant when it came to pushing back on Lightfoot's affirmative-action move, even joining in chorus with the likes of Tucker Carlson and Ted Cruz in their condemnation of supposed "reverse racism."

As the Alden hedge-funders dismantle the last of the city's remaining newspapers, it's worth recalling Ben Franklin's old dictum: Hang together or hang separately.

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