Saturday, May 22, 2021

Mayor's round of interviews with journos provokes cries of ‘reverse racism’

Breaking... Lightfoot gives an exclusive interview to a young, Black, & critical journalist. And guess what? Chicago doesn’t crumble into the lake. 

Of all the attacks on Mayor Lori Lightfoot's challenge to the long-standing, embedded system of white-skin privilege in the ranks of City Hall reporters, there's one that creeped me out the most.

No, it wasn't NBC anchor Mary Ann Ahern's -- "Does [Mayor Lightfoot] think I’m racist?"

Nor was it Trib reporter and Guild Prez Greg Pratt's claim that political leaders shouldn't be allowed to choose who they give interviews to. Of course, that is complete nonsense. It's hard to think of a president, governor, senator, or Chicago mayor who hasn't chosen a journo to interview them. The Mayor's choice of a journalist of color over the traditionally white old City Hall guard was clearly making a point and a good point.

Pratt's pushback against Lightfoot's call for newsroom diversity put him on the same shaky ground with fellow Tribune columnist and Chicago's premier defender of whiteness, John Kass

In case anyone doubts Kass's premiership, check out  his faux-hip Twitter post calling Chicago's first Black, gay, and female mayor, "Mayor Wokeness." Ugh!

No, it wasn't even retired CBS newsman, Jay Levine, also writing in the Trib, who accused MLL of trying to "run the newsrooms." I can't imagine that there were many Black women running Levine's CBS newsrooms back in the day. Levine even claimed that the Mayor's directive was "unconstitutional." He could be proven right if his case against media affirmative action ever came up before the current Trump-packed SCOTUS. 

No one should have been surprised then when a rag-tag chorus of right-wing MAGAs and white supremacists, took the local's lead and chimed in on the issue. From Tucker Carlson ("Lightfoot is a 'Nazi' and a "monster") to Ted Cruz crying "reverse racism." I would expect nothing less from Trumpies. Remember it was Trump himself who used his Twitter feed to launch almost daily misogynistic and racist rants targeting mostly urban, Democratic, female mayors including Mayor Lightfoot.

Although I admit I was somewhat amazed at how Lightfoot's provocative interview offer even became national grist for the Fox News mill. Was it Carlson's folly or Lightfoot's intention? I would guess, the latter. 

Okay, back to my opening point. I admit that what really got to me was the headline on the Sun-Times editorial page with this old saw:

Lightfoot raises the right point about diversity in Chicago journalism — but in the wrong way.
How many times have I heard this mantra over the past 60 years? We support your cause, but not the way you -- protesters, unions, civil rights leaders, King, SNCC, Baker, Harold Washington, Panthers, Black Lives Matter... -- are going about it.  

OK then S-T, Tribune, Washington Post, and the rest of the local and national corporate media. If you don't like the Mayor's way show us your way. Where has it been?


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