Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) went on CNN on Friday to defend her decision to only talk to reporters of color.
When CNN “New Day” host John Berman asked Lightfoot about the discrimination lawsuit that she is facing for this, the Democrat responded by calling the lawsuit “frivolous” and by arguing that she “started a long-overdue conversation about diversity in newsrooms.”
“Well, the lawsuit is completely frivolous,” Lightfoot began. “I’d use a more colorful term if we weren’t on TV. But here’s the thing. I’m the mayor of the third-largest city in the country. I’m an African-American woman, to state the obvious. Every day when I look out across my podium, I don’t see people who look like me. But more to the point, I don’t see people who reflect the richness and diversity of this city.”
“So, yes, I started a long-overdue conversation about diversity in newsrooms, in coverage,” she added. “You all are the mirrors on society. You reflect, with a critical and important lens, the news of the day. You hold public officials like me accountable. You must be diverse. It can’t be that in a city like Chicago, with all the talent that we have, that we can’t find diverse journalists of color. Of course, we can. What they need is opportunity. And I hope my conversation has pricked the consciousness of the people who do the hiring decisions in media rooms all across the city and hopefully across the country. We’ve got to do better.”
This comes after Lightfoot received tons of backlash last month when she celebrated her two-year anniversary of her taking office by saying that she would only be granting interviews to reporters of color moving forward. She also lashed out at the Chicago media for what she sees as its “overwhelming whiteness.”
“In looking at the absence of diversity across the City Hall press corps and other newsrooms, sadly it does not appear that many of the media institutions in Chicago have caught on and truly have not embraced this moment,” the Democratic mayor said.
“I have been struck since my first day on the campaign trail back in 2018 by the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps specifically,” she added.
Not stopping there, Lightfoot boasted about the diversity in Chicago leadership, including the “majority Black and Latinx City Council,” before calling it “unacceptable” that most reporters covering City Hall were White.
“Many of them are smart and hard-working, savvy and skilled,” she continued. But mostly white, nonetheless.”