Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Thomas Catenacci appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning to discuss his lawsuit against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against Lightfoot on behalf of the DCNF and Catenacci after she denied an interview to Catenacci on the basis of his race. The Chicago mayor, a Democrat, announced last week that she would only grant one-on-one interviews to journalists of color and has refused requests from white reporters.
“My reaction at first was kind of shocked,” Catenacci said. “I think that we shouldn’t live in a country where anyone is treated worse than anyone else or given opportunities that anyone else is otherwise given solely because of race.”
“Like a lot of people out there, I was just really surprised that an elected official would do something like this,” Catenacci continued.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said during the “Fox & Friends” segment: “In this day and age, to have a government official deny access to reporters or any other American based on their race is extraordinary.”
“This is a racist abuse of power,” he continued.
Lightfoot’s policy has been condemned by multiple journalists, including journalists of color.
One Latino reporter at the Chicago Tribune who had the opportunity to interview Lightfoot declined the invitation after the mayor refused to rescind her policy.
“I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled,” Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt wrote on Twitter. “Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”
Lightfoot defended her policy, saying she wanted more diversity among journalists covereing her administration.
“Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions and media,” she tweeted earlier in May. “In order to progress we must change. This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests about POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”
Catenacci, during his media appearance, said he wasn’t sure whether Lightfoot would lift her policy in light of his lawsuit.
“Really all I can do is focus on this case,” Catenacci said. “I feel very confident about this case and I’m just really happy to work with Tom [Fitton] and his team to hold her accountable.”
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, alleges that Lightfoot’s denial violates the DCNF and Catenacci’s First Amendment rights and Catenacci’s right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“It’s absurd that an elected official believes she can discriminate on the basis of race,” DCNF Editor-in-Chief Ethan Barton said when the lawsuit was filed. “Mayor Lightfoot’s decision is clearly blocking press freedom through racial discrimination.”
Catenacci, ahead of his interview, said: “Preventing journalists from doing our jobs in such a blatantly discriminatory way is wrong and does a disservice to our readers who come from all backgrounds. Every journalist and every person who consumes the news should be concerned by Mayor Lightfoot’s actions.”
Lightfoot’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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