Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement on Twitter Wednesday that she is "prioritizing media requests from POC reporters," or people of color, after some journalists accused her of giving interviews only to Black or Brown journalists.
Chicago political reporter Mary Ann Ahern tweeted that the mayor’s “spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews - only to Black or Brown journalists."
Other members of the media covering Chicago politics backed up Ahern's assertion.
However, Lightfoot, who is a Democrat, was interviewed earlier this week by MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle, who is White, casting confusion about when and if the mayor is actually applying such a standard.
The mayor herself, nevertheless, issued a comment on Twitter on Wednesday that appeared to confirm the practice.
“I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn't just in City Hall, she wrote. “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 mayor continued on the same thread that "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.”
She stressed that “This is an imbalance that needs to change. Chicago is a world-class city. Our local media should reflect the multiple cultures that comprise it. We must be intentional about doing better. I believed that when running for office. I stand on this belief now. It’s time for the newsrooms to do better and build teams that reflect the make-up of our city."
Fox News reported that the Chicago Mayor's Office issued a statement reiterating the comments made by Lightfoot, who is Chicago’s first female black mayor.
Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt, who is Latino, said that he was among those who had been granted an interview by Lightfoot, but his newspaper canceled it when the mayor refused to lift her ban on other reporters, according to the Daily Mail.
Pratt criticized Lightfoot’s policy in a tweet on Wednesday, writing that “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.”
Other critics also slammed Lightfoot’s policy, labeling it as racist.
Richard Grenell, the former acting director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration, tweeted “Condemn racism no matter where it’s found.”
Ryan Saavedra, a reporter at @realDaily Wire, articulated a similar theme on Twitter, writing that a “Democrat elected official bases whether or not you get access to her based on the color of your skin, which is racist.”
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