Mayor Lightfoot Facing Media Outcry Over Reported Race-Based Access Policy

There is a controversy in my hometown of Chicago after various reporters confirmed that they were told by the spokesperson for Mayor Lori Lightfoot that she is only giving interviews to black and brown reporters. Reporters wanted interviews to mark the halfway mark of Lightfoot’s first term. The Mayor has faced controversies from her breaking her own COVID rules to surging crime rates.  The question is whether a race-based criteria for reporters is not just actionable but whether the media is prepared to sue Lightfoot for discriminatory policies.  Lightfoot’s “Bring in the Light” campaign for mayor was based in part on promises of greater transparency.

NBC 5 Chicago political reporter Mary Ann Ahern took to Twitter on Tuesday to state that “As ⁦@chicagosmayor reaches her two year midway point as mayor, her spokeswoman says Lightfoot is granting 1 on 1 interviews – only to Black or Brown journalists.” The same message was given WTTW Chicago Tonight anchor and correspondent Paris Schutz who tweeted “I was told the same thing.” Chicago politics reporter Heather Cherone also tweeted “I can confirm.”

These are well-known and respected journalists.  The mayor’s office has thus far declined to respond to the stories.

One of the most significant aspects of this controversy is that Lightfoot ordered staff to enforce the race-based criteria. That means that the policy was carried out with city staff and resources.

The use of race criteria ordinarily violates anti-discrimination laws. Indeed, businesses are warned by Lightfoot’s government that they will not tolerate any race-based discrimination:

The City’s primary goal is that business and property owners know about these laws so that (1) you will be able to comply, (2) you will prevent discrimination claims, and (3) your employees and clientele will be protected from discriminatory practices.

The Illinois Human Rights Law states that unlawful discrimination

“means discrimination against a person because of his or her actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, order of protection status, disability, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or unfavorable discharge from military service as those terms are defined in this Section.”

Obviously, reporters are not “employees” of the mayor and this is not one of the specific areas like housing with separate anti-discrimination frameworks for complaints.  However, it is possible to seek an injunction to bar Lightfoot from barring reporters based on their race, including federal injunctive relief.

It is hard to find cases on discriminatory policies of access in the media. In 2020, YouTube was sued in California by black creators who alleged the company was systematically removing their content based on race. In that case, the plaintiffs said that the software limited access to the platform based on race. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki responded during a Washington Post Live event with a categorical denial, noting “It’s not like our systems understand race or any of those different demographics.”

Here the reporters are alleging that Lightfoot is openly and knowingly barring White and presumably Asian reporters.

Such policies are difficult to litigate and often politicians will back away when confronted on such discrimination. Even the EEOC admits that “[f]iguring out whether or not a state or local government is covered can be complicated…It is also important to keep in mind that, if an employer is not covered by the laws we enforce, the employer still may be covered by a state or local anti-discrimination law.” Nevertheless, the EEOC stresses that “if you have a complaint against a state or local government agency that involves race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, the agency is covered by the laws we enforce if it has 15 or more employees who worked for the agency for at least twenty calendar weeks (in this year or last).”

Since Lightfoot’s office has simply not responded, it is not clear why she has reportedly imposed a race-based criteria or how long it would remain in place.  She has previously insisted that “[w]e can’t address systemic racism, inequality and injustice without having hard conversations.”  However, reporters say that her office has not responded to inquiries on a race-based criteria for interviews.

The Mayor could assert that this was just a brief preference based on race to empower minority reporters. Politicians often reach out to minority stations and media, though this alleged policy would bar anyone from any media outlet based on their race.  She has campaigned against all forms of racial discrimination:

“We are also challenging all kinds of institutions from corporations to community-based organizations to think about what they can do better to end systemic racism and make sure that we are uplifting quality of life in communities, but also the voices of people that traditionally don’t have a seat at the table.”

This includes special programs to address systemic racism including the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT) during the pandemic.

However, the use of race criteria by government officials has long been treated as presumptively invalid unless it is a program designed to remedy past systemic discrimination. Such programs however face closely scrutiny in their conception and implementation. Race-based criteria are not meant to be casual or informal rules imposed by city leaders.

129 thoughts on “Mayor Lightfoot Facing Media Outcry Over Reported Race-Based Access Policy”

  1. Paul says:

    “I don’t know if we would agree on a list of everyone that you would term a racist. Maybe we would. But disagreements should not Trump
    ( no pun intended) what is totally obvious to any non biased fair minded person.”

    First, you did intend that pun in spite of your denial!

    Second, I was in favor of Clinton’s impeachment for the very same reason Turley was- a lie about sex under oath is perjury even though it’s about sex. I hold Clinton with the same contempt as I do Trump. As far as I am concerned, both are inveterate liars and sexual degenerates, but neither racists!

    I hesitate to call people racists because I can distinguish between racist conduct/speech and a racist. The former is easy to spot, the latter is much more difficult to fathom. Typically, racists and anti-semites self-identify because they are not ashamed to admit it. If a person denies that he is a racist/anti-Semite, I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt because who truly knows what lies in a man’s heart. I’m satisfied to just condemn bigoted behavior unless and until the behavior is so unremitting and so egregious that the individual’s hatred is unmistakeable, undeniable and irrefutable.

    1. Snopes.com just rated the issue “Did Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Refuse To Give Interviews to White Journalists?” and rated the claim as “Mostly False.” Clearly, what is actually mostly false is Snope.com’s assertion that they are an independent and reliable fact checker.

    2. Jeff, I agree with your hesitancy in calling out people as racist. I do find it somewhat puzzling that we agree on this. Maybe I have misinterpreted your political loyalties but, the rampant calling of others as racist is a favorite tactic of those on ” your side” . That as well as a undeniably liberal press is how Obama survived virtually any criticism. If you opposed Obama in any way you were a racist.
      And just to stay ahead of the curve I will make a prediction. In my opinion there’s no way Biden completes his term. When Kamala takes over, she will be untouchable. Female and a POC. Teflon! And the only reason that she was on the ticket is that Joe was boxed in after the ” then you ain’t black ” comment.
      But again, I ask you, if Lightfoot’s position is not racist, what is? Maybe I missed it but do you have a position on her stance as far as interviews?
      And I know you don’t believe me but the pun was unintended.

      1. Paul,

        It is not helpful to attack people’s motivations. But unfortunately it’s the oldest trick in the book. And it happens on BOTH sides since we are both subject to human failings. The Left resents being called Socialists for favoring raising taxes on corporations every bit as much as the Right resents being labeled racists for being opposed to affirmative action. The Right resents being called fascists for defending the police every bit as much as the Left resents being called anti-semites for speaking up for the cause of Palestinian statehood. It happens on both sides, and it is despicable, but it works to inflame passions and win arguments.

        As a lawyer, I abhor these tactics. Just give me the provable evidence and good faith arguments, and I’ll make a sober decision. I don’t care to pass judgment on the Mayor Lightfoot matter because I can’t do so by hearing Turley’s arguments. I would have to do more investigation and to learn the other side of the story in order to make a truly informed decision. Because of Turley’s understandable prejudice in favor of Fox’s narratives, I can’t trust his analysis any longer. I’m not saying he is necessarily wrong, but I don’t accept his opinion at face value.

        I see my role as simply questioning his silence on matters about which he should speak out, e.g., the Big Lie, Liz Cheney’s cancellation, bad faith attacks on the motivations of the Left by his Fox colleagues. Exposing these hypocrisies is more important than taking a position on each every controversy which he presents daily. I don’t have time enough to satisfy myself that I have learned sufficient facts and heard both sides in order to render an informed opinion. Instead, I always question and often denounce Turley when I observe that he is picking the speck out of the Left’s eye while ignoring the plank in the eye of Fox and Trump.

        1. I’m a lawyer,too, jeff silberman,and I find your diatribes quite self-serving, and laughable. It would e nice if you stopped waxing prolix on your ego-feeding reasoning, and simply made a bottom-line observation that others could agree with…or deflate.

          1. Lin,

            I would not be much of an advocate if my diatribes were not self-serving! I am speaking for myself, not on behalf of a client. By all means, tell me what you find amusing. Be specific. I’ll take the time to respond to your criticism if you will. My bottom line observations are clear enough if you want to challenge them. Be my guest.

        2. You must be a terrible lawyer. How much investigation does it take to determine that Lightfoot is discriminating (out loud) peersons who are not a specific color? If Trump did that ….can you imagine the screaming? have the guts to call it what it OBVIUOSLY is…another racist crying racist while acting like a racist.

  2. If Lightfoot wanted to show a willingness to compromise, she could begin by accepting interview requests from dark-skinned reporters who are considered white, you know, like Greeks and Italians, although it is unlikely she will ever accept requests from the Irish.

  3. OT: The following is a conclusion based on the factors the author mentions earlier. The facts are written in the article. The question under discussion is, “Why Does the Left Hate Israel?” I think our leftist friends might find some objections but I wonder if any of them have a better answer?
    —–

    Hating democratic Israel while it is under attack is not just a reflection of the new woke and ethically bankrupt Left. It is also a symptom of a deeper pathology in the West, one of moral equivalence, amoral relativism—and self-loathing.

    Hating Israel, then, has become the surrogate Western way of hating oneself.

    https://amgreatness.com/2021/05/19/why-does-the-left-hate-israel

  4. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is Dyke.

    Lori is prospecting for black & brown female journalists. Preferably, young, single female virgins who don’t mind doing an interview in a bedroom setting.

  5. Just I had surmised, Tucker Carlson led his program tonight about the story first brought to your attention this morning by our esteemed professor of law concerning Mayor Lightfoot with the TV banner:

    “The Racist Mayor of Chicago.”

    Now, Turley is too decent to call Lightfoot a “racist.” But will he renounce his Fox colleague’s hate-mongering? Need I even ask? So what then do I make of Turley’s plea to cease our “age of rage?” I ask you.

    1. I live here. I will call her a racist. And so what if Tucker led off his program with a statement of fact? How is a statement of fact hate mongering? If a white mayor said that he/ she was only giving interviews to white reporters how would that go over?
      Hypocrite much?

      1. Paul,

        First of all, calling a person a racist is a matter of opinion, not a statement of fact, as a legal matter. I trust you will agree that Turley is far too decent to stoop to the level of appearing on Infowars with the likes of an Alex Jones. And yet Turley will grace the program of a host who makes the kind of furious accusations which he himself deplores and would never make on his own. When you, Paul, publicly decry the deplorable current state of rage and hatefulness in this day and age, as does Turley, but THEN don’t denounce those around you or with whom you work who deliberately contribute to this state of affairs, I will call you too a hypocrite.

        JS

        1. “First of all, calling a person a racist is a matter of opinion, not a statement of fact, as a legal matter.”
          ************************************
          Maybe so but her actions are factually racist. She habitually shows racism. You are what you habitually do. Calling her dysfunctional is too kind. Oh and Carlson is a patriot but you’d wouldn’t know that.

        2. “When you, Paul, publicly decry the deplorable current state of rage and hatefulness in this day and age,”

          Jeff, you are the one who rages and demonstrates hate on a daily basis. Just look at almost every post where you provide the same rant about Turley because Turley chooses to stay mostly in his domain. You choose to rant but when it comes to facts or proof you have always run away.

        3. I totally agree calling someone a racist is an opinion in today’s world. It appears that definitions are maluable in the minds .any of those on the left. My guess is this kind of manipulation of long accepted language started with Slick Willie’s
          ” That depends on what the definition of is, is.”. One of my all time favorites.
          But for our purposes here I will agree that it is my OPINION that Lightfoot is a racist.If favoring one segment of the populace over another strictly by the color of your skin doesn’t make you a racist then what does? And just because someone does not see things totally the way you do does not automatically negate what is addressed in a specific instance. I don’t know if we would agree on a list of everyone that you would term a racist. Maybe we would. But disagreements should not Trump
          ( no pun intended) what is totally obvious to any non biased fair minded person.

      1. “Lightfoot is a racist. You are likely one as well.”

        Is that directed at me?

        My “quacks” comment was about Lightfoot’s racist policy. (Though I realize now that my comment could be plausibly interpreted two different ways.)

        1. Sam, you are not a racist. It was directed towards another who posted under anonymous. The email came in listing an anonymous poster. That other anonymous was likely Jeff.

    2. But will he renounce his Fox colleague’s hate-mongering?

      🙄 JT wouldn’t make your ridiculous error in mistaking truth-telling for hate-mongering.

      It’s a process, but keep at it and you just might activate the left-half of your brain.

    1. Sadly, I am not sure there has been a real “media outcry” as the headline suggests. Fox certainly covered it along with the local Chicago press, but this should be a national story yet CNN and other MSM sources are seemingly ignoring it. Very disappointing. If you want to say anti-discrimination laws don’t apply to whites, males, Christians, straights, etc., then amend the statutes. If you don’t have the votes to do so, enforce the laws as written.

  6. OT: Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID- 19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This evidence includes:
    • China’s history of research lab leaks resulting in infections.
    • Warnings from U.S. diplomats in China as early as 2017 that the Wuhan lab was
    conducting dangerous research on coronaviruses without following necessary safety
    protocols, risking the accidental outbreak of a pandemic.
    • Gain of Function research being conducted at the Wuhan lab that made coronaviruses
    more infectious in humans.
    • Several researchers at Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms in fall
    2019.
    • The involvement in the Wuhan lab of the Chinese military, which has a documented
    biological weapons program.
    • Multiple indications of attempts by Beijing to cover up the true circumstances of the
    COVID-19 outbreak.

    Full report: https://justthenews.com/sites/default/files/2021-05/COVID-19_and_the_Wuhan_Institute_of_Virology_18_May_FINAL_%20%281%29.pdf

  7. EB says: “I think Fox news is dedicated to overthrowing this democratic republic and becomming state tv.”

    While I don’t yield to anyone for my contempt of Fox News, I would not accuse it of trying to overthrow this democratic republic. Fox News is a business, and Murdoch exploited a minority but widespread opinion adverse to the mainstream media. The business plan is simple- whatever our media competitors say, we maintain the opposite to the greatest extent possible within the bounds of plausible deniability. Because of that limitation, networks such as Newsmax, and to a greater extent OAN, can go full Trumpist and accuse Fox of being too mainstream. For example, Fox no longer pushes the “Stop the Steal” narrative now that it is being sued for billions while OAN continues to push the Big Lie come what may. Which explains why Trump praises OAN and criticizes Fox.

    Since Fox’s inception 20 years ago, this country has become exceedingly polarized because of its anti-mainstream stance. Before Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC never disparaged each other’s news coverage. Each did their own journalism and ignored the existence of each other. The reason they did not discredit each other is the same reason that McDonald’s and Burger King never advertised that their competitor’s hamburgers tasted dlike crap. Because the net effect of such negative advertising would be that consumers would eat less hamburgers! Thanks to Fox’s “fake news” propaganda, Americans by and large have lost faith in the news media, and I have no idea how we will recover from this intolerable state of affairs.

    1. Totally agreed on being curious how we’ll ever recover from current affairs. Apologies for dipping into a bit of hyperbole at the end of my post. Lol.

      But I’m finding myself more in the camp of Rick Wilson who is like: Drag them! There is no such thing as bipartisanship with this crew. They sent people to kill you on January 6th. To me, first order of business is using whatever power is available this term in Congress to protect the vote and reverse of clear Repub efforts to squash it. Step on necks if need be. Tell Joe Manchin and Sinema to produce 10 Repub votes while at the same time doing everything possible to keep him from changing parties before ’22. But also knowing he’s headed there. There is no way to do business as usual with these people anymore because they negotiate in bad faith. I’m not sure why that’s so hard to see at this point.

      It’s a pull out all the stops moment. If the Repubs get power in ’22 it’s probably the last open election in the States.

      eb 2022

      1. EB,

        I don’t disagree with your assessment. Politicians- both Left and Right- have been telling half-truths for generations. Comes along Trump who makes up lies out of whole cloth. Unlike politicians who lie with some modicum of plausible deniability, a conman such as Trump lies unabashedly. While the Republicans took the measure of Trump as a fraud and a joke when he announced his candidacy, they soon discovered that the joke was on them! Given that the Republicans are a minority party and destined to remain so, they have come to the ineluctable realization that the only way to prevail in the culture war is to flagrantly lie in the court of public opinion. Trump, an inveterate liar, showed them how to get away with bald-faced lies. It does not matter how implausible the lie is as long as you NEVER admit that you have lied. That is the cardinal rule of confidence men. Once you have admitted you lied- just once- the con is over. Because the Republicans have acceded to Trump’s Big Lie, there is no turning back. They cannot now admit that Trump is a liar. They are all in.

        However, I remain hopeful that our legal system will be our salvation because in that venue evidence, science and reason prevail. And I have faith in Turley that he will never turn his back on the rule of law which the Trumpists would shred if they had their way. As I have repeatedly stated, and no Trumpist here has ever denied it, Turley, when push comes to shove, will never undermine the judicial system and accuse judges and jurors of being part of a “Deep State” conspiracy. When all is said and done, Turley will stand with us.

        1. “Politicians- both Left and Right- have been telling half-truths for generations. ”

          Yet, Trump is the only President that kept his campaign promises as best he could and succeeded in making many of them a reality. None of the others you mention did that. He is also the first President in recent years to be so transparent that he permitted the entire WH to testify.

          It galls you that he is so honest. Your candidates can’t live up to such honesty. We know what I say is true because time and time again, you refused to mention just a few significant lies this President made based on his Presidential duties. You make your generalized statements full of hate but fail when it comes to facts.

          Typical for your type.

  8. Of course she did. Democrats are still the party of segregation. Democrats are fighting hard to create institutional racism in America.

    We told you to fight against this.

  9. I hope this is not true. If it is, I hope the press and everyone else excoriates her. Fighting bigotry by being a bigot is a two prong loss. One: the bigots now feel justified and two: it makes it harder to fight bigotry.

  10. Wait.

    Colored people cannot be racist.

    The onliest peoples what can be racist is dem white fokes.

    1. At 2:00 minutes: Black “Teacher”:

      “Here you go, Mexican racist.”

      “You’re always gonna be a Mexican.”

      “You’ll never be white, ya know that, right?”

      “You’ll never be white, which is what you really wanna be.”

      “You wanna be white.”

      “You wanna be white so bad…”

  11. What would happen if a Republican announced that they were only going to take interviews from people who are white?
    They’d be skewered and out of office within 24 hours!

    1. Take a knee, beg, or stand, and get cancelled or deplatformed anyway. Some, select Democrats have also been aborted through the sociopolitical process when color, sex, gender, or some other politically congruent attribute mattered. But, yeah, white privilege is the not so novel reimagined Jew privilege of a century past. Baby privilege, too. Off with their heads.

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