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For One Day, Chicago's Mayor Granted Interviews Exclusively to Journalists of Color

Maxim Sorokopud Maxim Sorokopud
24th May 2021
For One Day, Chicago's Mayor Granted Interviews Exclusively to Journalists of Color
Lightfoot hoped to draw attention to racial disparity (Getty Images).

The Claim

Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot has implemented a racist policy by excluding white journalists from one-on-one interviews.

Emerging story

On May 19, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she would exclusively grant one-on-one interviews to journalists of color. She explained this in a two page statement on the day before her two-year anniversary as the mayor of Chicago. 

Shortly after, a range of media outlets and individuals including former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, called Lightfoot’s new policy racist. One of the most prominent critics of the decision was Tucker Carlson, who compared Lightfoot’s policy to Nazism on his nightly television show on Fox News. This segment of the show then appeared on YouTube, where it has gained over 250,000 views within five days.  

Other social media posts that are critical of the policy have gained thousands of interactions. 

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A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation has concluded that Lightfoot is not excluding any interactions with white reporters indefinitely. As numerous Chicago based news organizations highlighted, the mayor’s policy to exclusively conduct one-on-one interviews with people of color was only for the occasion of her two-year anniversary of being mayor. This lasted for one day.

The wording of Mayor Lightfoot’s initial statement does not make the one-day policy extremely clear, but there is plenty of follow up reporting that emphasizes that this event was only for a limited time. Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun Times, confirmed that this policy happened only on the day of the two-year anniversary. She also highlighted that many politicians pick and choose who they conduct interviews with on a regular basis. Lastly, Sweet highlighted that Mayor Litefoot actually held a press conference that day which included white journalists. 

The Mayor was hoping to call attention to racial and ethnic disparities in the Chicago City Hall press corps. She describes being struck by the “overwhelming whiteness and maleness” among Chicago press since the start of her campaign, a population which does not reflect the demographics of her constituents. In 2019, estimates stated that only 33% of Chicago’s population was white, non-Hispanic or Latino. Therefore, it is not surprising that Mayor Litefoot wanted to highlight that this underrepresents 77% of her city’s population.

In conclusion, Mayor Litefoot’s interview policy was only in effect for one day, and she never excluded white journalists from gourd press events. She implemented this brief policy to highlight her city’s underrepresented populations, and to encourage more diverse voices in local journalism. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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