A warmup act of the pre-dawn tube, “Fox & Friends First” is analogous to CNN’s “New Day” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe First Look.” It airs daily, in two adjacent hour-long slabs, in a preamble to “Fox & Friends” proper, the morning show popularly acknowledged as a hot spring feeding the spumes of angry blather and prideful bluster that Donald Trump emits on Twitter on any given morning. “Fox & Friends First” offers a news-desk approach to the main program, which, with its sofa-central format, is a coffee klatch distinguished by the anchors’ “folksy, disingenuous outrage,” as my colleague Andrew Marantz wrote, earlier this year.

On Monday, at 5:50 A.M., the hosts Jillian Mele and Rob Schmitt introduced Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat running for Congress in Arizona’s Second District. Kirkpatrick’s name had been on the network’s mind for a few days: on Sunday, “Fox & Friends Weekend” identified her as a “Dem candidate booed” at a debate “for backing ICE.” It aired footage of the candidate raising a hand to declare her approval for the immigration-enforcement agency.

“Tell us why you do support ICE,” Mele said to the guest, as if inviting a stock answer from a sympathetic soul. She was the choir asking to be preached to, and the seventy-odd seconds that followed constituted a splendid glitch. “Good morning,” the guest said. “I’m actually here to speak directly to Donald Trump. I feel that what’s happening at the border is wrong.” She quickly pressed out a basic condemnation of Trump’s immigration policies as “illegal and inhumane,” before any plug could be pulled, and she only then corrected the record: “I’m actually Barbara L’Italien”—a Democratic candidate for Congress in the Third District of Massachusetts.

L’Italien was transmitting from a laptop camera (or something like it), with her headphones in. The expanse of exposed brick in the background gave her the look of an executive patching into a meeting from a coffee shop. Perhaps the show did not understand its mistake sooner because the guest comported herself not as person who had hectically crashed a stage but as one straightforwardly warning that the theatre was collapsing, as she condemned the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border. Schmitt, perturbed into asserting order, stutter-stepped into the guest’s path, asking, “But, that that that practice has stopped at this point, Ms. Kirkpatrick, right?” Mele backed him up with a miserably incomplete assertion. “Kids have been reunited with their families,” she said.

To which L’Italien said, “My name is Barbara L’Italien,” and continued her good grievances about the situation at the border. Near the end of the clip, as Schmitt’s bewilderment coagulates into comprehension—“Who is this?” he says. “Who is this?”—L’Italien makes a move as if to lower the volume in her headphones in order to liberate herself from the jabber of the anchor-desk interruptions in her head. The hosts get wise and cut it off. “That didn’t go as planned,” Schmitt said. “That’s what happens sometimes,” Mele added, with a sunniness that hoped to clear the haze. “Time for a break?”

As the clip made the rounds on Monday morning, it was possible to daydream, with the kind of wishfulness to which one becomes increasingly susceptible as the distress of this Presidency continues, that the bad booking was the work of a saboteur. Later, a spokesman from L’Italien’s campaign explained to the Boston Globe that Fox News had reached out to them thinking that they had got hold of Kirkpatrick’s campaign, and took care to insult the enterprise. “This would not have happened to an actual news station. Fox’s lack of attention to the facts normally is a disaster for the country; it just so happened that today it was embarrassing for them,” he said.

Fox placed a call, and L’Italien, the receiver, played an honorable prank for the common good. Disturbing the flow of a state-sanctioned telecast with a civil mouth and a civic mind, she did the right thing with the wrong number. It was an accidental anti-hack, like a pirate broadcast invited to oscillate on an imperial frequency.

Sourse: newyorker.com

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