Gregory Pratt, a Latino reporter for the Chicago Tribune, is pushing back against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s recent reported decision to not provide white journalists with one-on-one interviews.
Pratt responded to a tweet from a NBC 5 reporter Mary Ann Ahern that said, “As [Lightfoot] reaches her two year midway point as mayor, her spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews – only to Black or Brown journalists.”
Pratt responded, “I am a Latino reporter [at Chicago Tribune] 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.”
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
Ahern told The Hill, “Absolutely, they told me only Black and brown journalists are getting one-on-one interviews.”
She said that she was first informed of the policy by Lightfoot’s communications director, Kate LeFurgy, on Tuesday.
“[LeFurgy] said three out of six reporters covering City Hall are people of color and not a single one is a woman of color, while white reporters get the vast majority of access all year long,” Ahern said.
“I think it’s outrageous for an elected official to choose who will ask questions,” Ahern added. “And it’s even more outrageous when it’s based on the color of their skin.”
As reported by The Daily Wire, local reporters began confirming the alleged racial requirement of Lightfoot’s office after Ahern’s original tweet.
Chicago PBS news anchor Paris Schultz responded: “I was told the same thing.”
— Mary Ann Ahern (@MaryAnnAhernNBC) May 18, 2021
Australian political commentator Rita Panahi responded to the allegations by writing on Twitter: “More ‘anti-racist’ racism. Almost amusing how regressive race-obsession is celebrated among the Left.”
More "anti-racist" racism. Almost amusing how regressive race-obsession is celebrated among the Left. https://t.co/VtzpQyfklg
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) May 19, 2021
Chicago PBS political reporter Heather Cherone said that she could “confirm” what Ahern was alleging.
I can confirm, alderman
— Heather Cherone (@HeatherCherone) May 18, 2021
“Racism in the name of wokeism is still racism,” another commentator said. Another added, “So wouldn’t that make her a racist?”
Progressive writer Zaid Jilani wrote: “Is she going to do some kinda DNA test to assure she upholds this rule?”
Is she going to do some kinda DNA test to assure she upholds this rule? https://t.co/9d7rXZTnCV
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) May 19, 2021
Fox News reported, “It is unclear when such a practice was enacted and if it only applies to local reporters, particularly after her MSNBC appearance with Stephanie Ruhle on Monday.”
Lightfoot seemed to respond to the allegations in a Twitter thread on Wednesday, writing, “I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn’t just in City Hall. 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.”
She went on to say, “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.
“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.”
I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn't just in City Hall.
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.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) May 19, 2021
The Chicago Mayor’s office reportedly gave a statement to Fox News reiterating Lightfoot’s comments.