Justin Bullock, FISM News
Daily Caller Reporter Thomas Catenacci is suing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot due to Mayor Lightfoot’s decision to only allow reporters of color to interview her. Mr. Catenacci, a white man, believes that Mayor Lightfoot is engaging in racial discrimination violating his equal protection rights as well as his First Amendment rights as a member of the press. Mayor Lightfoot said her reason for imposing interview restrictions was due to her view that reporters of color are in the significant minority and regularly discriminated against. Mayor Lightfoot tweeted,
I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn't just in City Hall.
It's a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) May 19, 2021
The Chicago Mayor’s position has been met with significant blowback from local leaders and especially members of the local and national press. Gregory Pratt, a Latino man and reporter with the Chicago Tribune, tweeted in response to the Mayor’s proclamation,
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
Jacqueline Serrato, the editor-in-chief of South Side Weekly, a publication that largely covers news for Chicago’s heavily Black and Latino neighborhoods, tweeted her displeasure with the mayor as well,
Yes, for those who are asking, South Side Weekly did request an interview with @chicagosmayor and unsurprisingly received no response and no fancy letter. But we’ve never relied on the mayor’s script to do our groundbreaking work. So it’s just another day over here.
— Hecha en Chicago (@HechaEnChicago) May 19, 2021
Finally, George Cardenas, a local Chicago politician and leader tweeted short and sweet in direct response to the Mayor,
How is that even true, be serious
— George Cardenas (@aldcardenas) May 18, 2021
It should be noted that the Mayor’s decision is not unprecedented, as “U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to lead a Cabinet department, granted the first interviews after confirmation to Native American journalists” as reported by the Associated Press. However, no court has made a ruling on any case with a similar fact pattern to the current one, so the outcome of Mr. Catenacci’s suit is very much up in the air. Some legal experts like University of Chicago Law professor Geoffrey Stone have expressed doubts that the pending lawsuit will hold any water in court, but much is to be decided in the coming days.