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Chicago Mayor Lightfoot complains that 'heads exploded' over decision to speak to only minority reporters, again defends race-based interview policy

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Chicago's left-wing mayor, Lori Lightfoot, set off a firestorm in May when she announced that she would grant interviews to only "black or brown journalists" to mark the two-year point of her stint as mayor.

Lightfoot received a lot of negative reaction to her decision — and not just from white reporters and critics. For example:

  • City Alderman George Cardenas was at first incredulous, tweeting, "how is that even true, be serious," and then saying, "This should be corrected," when he found it was for real.
  • Gregory Platt, a Latino reporter with the Chicago Tribune, canceled an upcoming interview with the mayor over her policy.
  • Liberal journalist Zaid Jilani accused Lightfoot of using "PR stunts" to distract people from her failure as a mayor who has "presided over an enormous increase in homicides, almost all of them in African American or Latino communities."
  • Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) wanted the mayor to resign over the policy, saying, "Mayor Lightfoot's blatant anti-white racism is abhorrent."

It turns out that the mayor is not just unapologetic for the move, she's still actively defending it.

What did she say now?

In an interview with the New York Times' "Sway" podcast with Kara Swisher posted Monday, Lightfoot continued to back her race-based policy and complained that people were upset about it.

"I gave exclusive interviews with journalists of color, right? One 24-hour period and it was like people's heads exploded," Lightfoot said.

"I had journalists saying, 'Does the mayor think I'm racist?' No, it's not about individuals," she continued. "It's about systemic racism. It's about calling it like I see it and challenging the heads of the media companies here in town to do a better job of bringing journalists of color, women into the fray. That's what this is about."

When asked whether she would do it again, Lightfoot responded, "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," she added. "But I don't want just a conversation. I want results. I want to see these networks, these companies, these producers, the decision makers take this seriously, because it's a serious issue."

Naturally, Lightfoot threw in a dig at "white guys."

"As I said before, the media plays a very important role in our democracy," the mayor said. "And if the only voices in the media are white guys, that's a problem."

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