May 20, 2021
The Chicago Tribune canceled an interview with Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday in protest at her decision to exclude white reporters from one-on-one interviews on the occasion of her second anniversary in office, reporter Gregory Pratt noted.
Pratt, who is Latino, noted that he had been granted an interview under Lightfoot’s racially exclusionary policy, which was revealed Tuesday, but had used that opportunity to ask her to end that policy. When she refused, the Tribune canceled the interview.
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. https://t.co/YMW8M8ZgJm
— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) May 19, 2021
Lightfoot attempted to defend her policy on Wednesday in a letter to news outlets, attacking “systemic racism” in the media.
When she took the oath of office in 2019, Lightfoot swore to “support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Illinois.” The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted to imply that racial discrimination is prohibited; the Illinois Constitution bars racial discrimination in employment and housing, and also condemns “communications that … incite violence, hatred, abuse or hostility toward, a person or group of persons by reason of or by reference to” race.
Other journalists have been happy to endorse the mayor’s policy, notably Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, a favorite of the Obama administration, who told CNN that she was “not troubled” by Lightfoot’s exclusion of white journalists.
My take on @CNN @NewDay on @LoriLightfoot @chicagosmayor decision to grant 2nd anniversary in office one-on-one interviews only w reporters of color. I am not troubled by this. BTW – Lightfoot has a press conference coming up in a few hours – any reporter can attend. https://t.co/cGUEopU6SH
— Lynn Sweet (@lynnsweet) May 20, 2021
Other journalists noted that Lightfoot had declined interviews with journalists “of color” who had seemed to be critical of her.