During an appearance on CNN on Thursday, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times Lynn Sweet defended Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reported decision to temporarily suspend one-on-one interviews with white journalists.
On CNN’s “New Day,” co-host John Berman discussed Lightfoot’s reported decision with Sweet, who stated, “I just want to say from the beginning, I am not troubled by this. I’ve been part of the Chicago press corps for a long, long time, and Lori Lightfoot did not say anything that we did not know.”
She added, “For one day she’s trying to shake everybody up and shine a spotlight on the lack of diversity in the City Hall press corps,” saying that the city of Chicago is very diverse, but the newsrooms are not.
Berman brought up the recent decision by a Latino Chicago Tribune reporter, Gregory Pratt, to cancel his granted interview with Lightfoot because the mayor’s office refused to change the discriminatory policy.
As The Daily Wire reported, 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
In the CNN interview, Sweet told Berman that she respects Gregory Pratt, saying, “He is a regular in City Hall. He’s there every day. But I respectfully want to point out that big newsmakers pick who they want to talk to for one-on-one interviews all the time. I only live in the real world, John, as you do. And we know that when you’re a big newsmaker with many interview requests, you pick and choose.”
“Today marks the second anniversary of Lori Lightfoot being mayor. That’s why this is coming to a head today,” she continued. “So she had a bunch of interview requests, so she did pick and choose, and some of the outlets that she is talking to today are community outlets that don’t have the resources to staff City Hall every day like the big legacy outlets do. And what’s wrong with that?”
Sweet noted that anyone can go to a press conference and ask Lightfoot a question.
As reported by The Daily Wire earlier this week, local reporters began confirming the alleged racial requirement of Lightfoot’s office after Ahern’s original tweet.
“In a two-page letter to the media, Lightfoot, the first Black woman as well as the first openly gay mayor in Chicago’s history, praised her own 2019 election for ‘breaking barriers’ and took a shot at media organizations in the city for not adequately addressing ‘institutionalized racism’ in their ranks. Her decision to temporarily speak only to Black and Brown reporters, she said, was part of her lifelong battle to fight for diversity and inclusion,” Fox News reported late Wednesday.
In her letter, she accused Chicago media outlets of embracing “overwhelming whiteness and maleness,” claiming it is the mayor’s job to address the lack of diversity by filtering those who get direct access to the mayor.
— Tahman Bradley (@tahmanbradley) May 19, 2021
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