Fox News contributors Deroy Murdock and Leslie Marshall ripped into Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to only grant one-on-one interviews to “black and brown” reporters.
Murdock and Marshall joined host Martha MacCallum on “The Story” to discuss Lightfoot’s announcement and the backlash that quickly followed. (RELATED: Latino Reporter Refuses To Interview Lori Lightfoot After She Decided To Only Give Interviews To Black, Brown Journalists)
MacCallum began with a clip of Lightfoot doubling down on her plan, telling reporters that in an era where many Americans were starting to deal with systemic racism in many institutions, “The press and the media cannot be exempt from that conversation.”
“Is it okay for her to decide to speak with journalists of one color?” MacCallum asked, turning the question to Marshall first.
“No, I don’t think it is,” Marshall replied, noting that the press corps in Chicago was primarily white and male but that Lightfoot’s response was not really sending the message she wanted to send.
“Diversity includes white people, not just people of color. That’s what diverse means,” Marshall continued. “The rainbow has many colors, white included. The First Amendment, freedom of the press is clear. It’s all press regardless of their skin color, religion, sexual orientation. I don’t think this is the right way for her to go about the message that she’s trying to send.”
“We talk about identity politics. This is identity journalism, I guess. You’re only allowed in the room if you have a certain color skin,” MacCallum replied.
“Identity journalism,” Murdock repeated. “This is appalling. You have to go back to the 1960s to the Jim Crow South, I think, to find an example so blatant of outright racism by a public official.”
Murdock went on to say that it would be fine for Lightfoot to encourage newsrooms to hire more minority journalists or to start scholarship programs.
“But to say I won’t talk to any journalists that are white is just pure straight out racial prejudice and bigotry and it’s got to be a violation I’m sure of the Chicago, the Illinois and certainly the federal civil rights statutes, which specifically say government cannot discriminate against people on the basis of skin color,” Murdock continued. “That is exactly what’s going on here right now.”
MacCallum went on to ask whether society was effectively moving backward as graduations and housing were being segregated.
“Why would anyone want to be chosen to do an interview because of the color of their skin rather than the content of their character or the ability that they have as a reporter?” MacCallum asked. “That’s why you want that person in the room. Not the color of their skin.”
“What she’s doing is not progressive. It’s discriminatory in my opinion. The wrong way to get the message out there,” Marshall agreed, pointing out the fact that even some of the Chicago reporters who stood to benefit from Lightfoot’s policy were arguing that it was a bad idea. Latino journalist Gregory Pratt, of The Chicago Tribune, was granted an interview under Lightfoot’s policy — he declined the interview and said he would not reschedule until she agreed to see reporters regardless of race.
“Why are we becoming more segregated?” MacCallum pressed.
“You have people like Lori Lightfoot that are focused on race, race, race all the time,” Murdock replied. “I mean, it’s a bit like somebody complaining about the white house paint on the house while it’s burning to the ground. We’ve got shooting incidents up 33%, murders up 22% in Chicago, I think sexual assaults up 12% I think, if I’m not mistaken. She ought to declare a war on crime rather than white journalists.”