Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot doubled down on her controversial policy to grant interview requests only to minority members of the media, saying she would 'absolutely do it again.'
Speaking on the New York Time's Sway with Kara Swisher Monday, Lightfoot, a Democrat, said that despite the backlash to the temporary policy, which she put in place for a day in May to mark her two-year anniversary as mayor, it had sparked a discussion.
'I would absolutely do it again. I'm unapologetic about it because it spurred a very important conversation, a conversation that needed to happen, that should have happened a long time ago,'
Lightfoot said that despite the backlash from journalists who criticized the decision as allowing politicians to choose the reporters who cover them, it was important for her to use her position in an advocacy role.
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot doubled down on her controversial policy in May to grant exclusive interviews only to reporters of color, saying she would 'absolutely do it again' in an interview on Monday
Lightfoot made the remarks to New York Times' Kara Swisher, who while noted the importance of diversity in the newsroom, disagreed saying politicians should not be able to choose which reporters cover them
'Here is the bottom line for me, to state the obvious, I’m a black woman mayor. I’m the mayor of the third-largest city in the country, obviously I have a platform, and it’s important to me to advocate on things that I believe are important,' she said. 'Going back to why I ran, to disrupt the status quo. The media is critically important to our democracy. the media is in a time of incredible upheaval and disruption but our City hall press corps looks like it’s 1950 or 1970.'
In particular, she called on news outlets to focus on hiring more diverse slates of reporters.
'People that make the hiring decisions have to be focused on diversity. In Chicago, we have a huge amount of diverse media talent. We’ve got schools that are of journalism that are best in class across the country, and I would say, really, across the world. So the absence of journalists of color, covering the mayor of the third-largest city in a country is absolutely unacceptable,' she said. 'And so I decided to say something about it.'
Swisher, who is white, echoed the concerns of some of her fellow journalists that politicians cannot choose the journalists that cover them.
'I just taught at the University of Chicago. You have amazing diverse journalists studying there that I taught. And I agree with the need for more diversity in media. But politicians don’t get to choose who covers them,' she said.
'No, it’s not about me choosing who covers me, right? I gave exclusive interviews. And we do get to choose who we talk to in exclusives,' Lightfoot