Fraud Or Flub? 'FOX And Friends' Accidently Books Sen. L'Italien And She Rips Into Trump
Jul 23, 2018 03:14PM
By Bill Gilman
The Andover Democrat, generally regarded as one of the most progressive/liberal members of the State Legislature, was an unexpected guest Monday morning on FOX & Friends, the flagship morning show of FOX News. L'Italien, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Congress from the 3rd Mass. District, used the opportunity to call out President Trump directly and hammer his policies on immigration, border security and treatment of immigrant children.
“I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump. I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong. I’m a mother of four, and I believe that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane," said L’Italien.
President Trump speaks glowingly of "FOX & Friends" and has admitted to being an avid viewer. He reference the show often during speeches and in Tweets and has been a frequent guest, either in person, on via phone.
So why would "FOX & Friends" book, and give a forum to, a congressional candidate that has been openly contemptuous of President Trump and his policies?
The answer appears to be that the person in charge of booking guests contacted the wrong campaign and booked the wrong person.
Or FOX staffers were intentionally duped by L'Italien and her campaign manager, Joe Katz.
Fox and Friends had intended to book Ann Kirkpatrick, an Arizona congressional candidate and the only one of six Democrats running for the nomination in Arizona's 2nd District to speak out in favor of Immigration and Customs Enforment (ICE) and its agents at a debate last week.
FOX & Friends co-host Heather Childers introduced L'Italien as Kirkpatrick at the start of the segment and a visibly confused co-host Rob Schmitt referred to her as "Ms. Kirkpatrick" in the midst of the live interview.
“I’m actually Barbara L’Italien, I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community and running for Congress in Massachusetts," said L'Italien, whose 2nd Essex-Middlesex District includes both Tewksbury and Dracut. "I keep thinking about what we’re putting parents through, imagining how terrifying that must be for those families. Imagining how it would feel not knowing if I’d ever see my kids again. We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms, stop putting kids in cages, and stop making 3-year-olds defend themselves in court.”
Realizing some type have error had taken place, the hosts interrupted L'Italien and abruptly ended the segment. L'Italien later posted a Tweet with a video of the entire statement she had intended to read on FOX. Her Tweet and video can be seen below.
The confusion surrounding L'Italien's appearance on FOX is centered around Katz, who has done work in the past for Kirkpatrick on previous campaigns. In fact, according to a FOX spokesperson, Katz was listed as the contact person for the Kirkpatrick campaign in the FOX files.
As a result, a FOX staffer reached out to Katz to book Kirkpatrick on FOX & Friends. By all accounts, Katz did not go out of his way to correct the staffer and accepted the booking.
This is where the accounts related by Katz and FOX differ dramatically.
FOX & Friends Executive Producer Desiree Dunne claims Katz pretended to be working for Kirkpatrick and accepted the booking on her behalf. She says he sent them a follow-up email with background information on Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick's campaign logo.
Moreover, Dunne claims L'Italien spoke with staffers off-camera prior to the segment and pretended to be Kirkpatrick.
"Despite speaking to producers prior to the interview, L’Italien did not identify herself as anything other than Kirkpatrick until she was live on air, at which point we ended the interview,” said Dunne, in an official statement.
Schmitt, in a Tweet, following the episode, called it a "publicity stunt" on the part of L'Italien and showed she was "desperate for attention."
In an e-mail to Boston.com, Katz said the confusion was caused because FOX employees did not do "their due diligence." He said FOX & Friends is "where you go to talk to President Trump" and that L'Italien was simply taking advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.
L'Italien is locked in a tight race for the MA-3 Democratic nomination in a bid to succeed retiring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. With only about six weeks to go before the primary, none of the candidates has managed to separate from the field, which includes Dan Koh, Alexandra Chandler, Rufus Gifford, Jeff Ballinger, Leonard Golder, Albhijit Das, Juana Matias, Lori Trahan, Bopha Malone, and L'Italien.
Desperate for attention - @teambarbara pretended to be someone else to multiple people within Fox News and get on tv— Rob Schmitt (@SchmittNYC) July 23, 2018
I've always fought for vulnerable people, and in Congress I will use every opportunity I have to make sure powerful people like @realDonaldTrump hear their voices. Here's the full statement I would've given @FoxNews if I hadn't been cut off. #ma3 #mapoli https://t.co/SAe7HoBVRV— Barbara L'Italien (@teambarbara) July 23, 2018