UPDATE: Fox News Responds to Mistaken Identity L’Italien TV Booking

Sen. Barbara L'Italien appeared on Fox and Friends July 23 in place of intended guest Ann Kirkpatrick. (Screen capture)

Sen. Barbara L'Italien appeared on Fox and Friends July 23 in place of intended guest Ann Kirkpatrick. (Screen capture)

Andover Sen. Barbara L’Italien surprised Democrats across the Merrimack Valley Monday morning when she popped up on the conservative Fox News program “Fox & Friends” – and the appearance has resulted in a battle of the candidate versus the network.

Booked in what the L’Italien campaign calls a case of mistaken identity, the local legislator was introduced as Ann Kirkpatrick, the Democratic congressional candidate from Arizona booed for supporting U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).

In a split screen segment, host Jillian Mele asked L’Italien why she supports ICE, leaving the candidate to take advantage of unexpected airtime.

“I’m here to speak directly to Donald Trump: I feel like what you’re doing at the border is wrong. As a mother of four, I’m appalled that we are separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane. I’m actually Barbara L’Italien. I’m a state senator representing a large immigrant community and running for Congress in Massachusetts,” she said.

“I keep thinking what we’re putting parents through, imagining how terrifying that must be for those families….We have to stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents’ arms,” added the senator. “Stop putting kids in cages, and stop making three-year-olds defend themselves in court. Stop hurting Latino children to score political points with your base.”

Mele and cohost Rob Schmitt called her by Kirkpatrick’s name again before realizing their network’s error.

“That didn’t go as planned,” reasoned Schmitt, before his colleague closed the segment out and went to break.

Contacted by WHAV for comment Monday, “FOX & Friends First” executive producer Desiree Dunne said her network was duped by the L’Italien campaign.

“This morning we invited Ann Kirkpatrick to appear on “Fox & Friends First” through her press contact on file, Joe Katz, who accepted the invitation on Kirkpatrick’s behalf. Katz followed with an email confirming the segment, which also included background information and a campaign logo for Ann Kirkpatrick,” Dunne told WHAV through a network press representative. “During the actual segment, Barbara L’Italien appeared on camera instead of 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.”

The network issued an on-air correction to viewers Monday for the segment, telling viewers that they were looking into how “someone else stepped in front of that camera.”

L’Italien Communications Director Katz tells WHAV the candidate was compelled to speak up for her constituents.

“Fox News is where you go when you want to talk to Donald Trump, and Barbara felt she had an obligation to her constituents to take advantage of that opportunity. But this would not have happened to an actual news station,” said Katz.