As controversial as that was, it's important to note that the policy was for one round of interviews. @chicagosmayor gave a press conference yesterday and answered questions from reporters, regardless of background. A lot of misinformation from national hot-take artists on this. https://t.co/VEM2SzzpRJ— Paris Schutz (@paschutz) May 21, 2021
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.
Regardless of what you think of @chicagosmayor, I think her prioritizing interviews by Black and Latino journalists about her 2-year mayoral anniversary is sort of an interesting idea. It reminds me of when Anthony Bourdain went to Houston with a plan to only interview POC chefs.— John Greenfield (@greenfieldjohn) May 21, 2021
How come whenever we try to balance the scales it's called "racism"— Colin Turner (@dtdaddy13) May 21, 2021
Mayor Lightfoot is right to be concerned about accurate & fair press coverage & the mayor’s proposal of including people of color in one-on-one interviews is morally justified. She is making a strong & righteous case for inclusion & diversity in the press & its coverage.— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) May 21, 2021
I stand with @chicagosmayor. She has done an outstanding job guiding Chicago through unprecedented challenges. The right-wing attacks on her character are abhorrent.— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) May 20, 2021
Our focus in on the call for diversity in political units. I hope managers in newsroom big and small get the message. Political units must include different perspectives and life experiences in order to move diverse stories to the forefront. @NAHJ @NABJCC @aaja @NAJA @NABJ https://t.co/PO9HrVBYfA— Dorothy Tucker NABJ (@Dorothy4NABJ) May 19, 2021