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Protesters picket Fox and Friends broadcast in Colonial Williamsburg

jojacobs@vagazette.com, rarriaza@vagazette.com

Fox and Friends was met with protestors as well as fans of the show when it broadcasted live from Colonial Williamsburg Tuesday morning.

Television anchor Anna Kooiman took to the Palace Green alongside the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums and visited other parts of Colonial Williamsburg for footage shown during Fox and Friends.

Protestors lined up a few yards from the set on the Palace Green, toting signs with slogans such as “no more child prisons” and “dissent is patriotic.” About a half dozen protestors started to picket when the broadcast began and that number ebbed and flowed during the morning.

According to Colonial Williamsburg spokesman Joseph Straw, the organization regularly invites national media outlets to visit its grounds, regardless of their editorial positions.

“These collaborations are critical to promotion of Colonial Williamsburg in support of guest visitation and the regional economy,” Straw wrote in a statement. “They also reflect the founding ideals of our nation that we interpret every day, including the importance of a free and independent press and robust civic discourse in public spaces.”

City resident David Parker is a former Colonial Williamsburg employee and led chants against the event. He said the foundation is implicitly endorsing the policies of the Trump administration by allowing Fox News to broadcast on its property.

“Colonial Williamsburg is making a political statement by hosting an immensely political show,” he said. “It’s the president’s favorite TV show, which means they’re aiding and abetting his policies, his cruelty and the derangement our country is suffering through right now.”

A desire to exercise her First Amendment rights encouraged Lindsey Foster to turn out bright and early at 6 a.m. to protest the Donald Trump administration and Fox News. She said Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election motivated her activism.

“It got real,” Foster said.

Cathy Neal said she heard about the event from her son. Although she didn’t want to protest, Neal said she questions why Colonial Williamsburg would allow the channel to broadcast from the location.

“I’m here to see what’s going on rather than do any protesting,” she said. “I just think this is a fake news organization, and unless they’re here to re-write history to Trump’s liking, I don’t understand why they would be here in Colonial Williamsburg.”

Down Spotswood Street, a larger cluster of fans also gathered to watch.

Robin Reinhardt said he watches the show regularly with his wife and wanted to show his support.

“We’re fans of Fox and Friends. We watch the Fox News channel, we feel like it’s at least fair and balanced news, so you get more of a complete picture,” Reinhardt said. “Having them actually come down and use Colonial Williamsburg for the Fourth of July is fantastic.”

DeLois Stallman is also a Fox News fan and was curious to see the outlet come to Colonial Williamsburg. Since Colonial Williamsburg was used as a backdrop, the visit helped raise the area’s tourism profile.

“I like to see when any national group comes out here,” Stallman said. “It’s a positive for tourism.”

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007. Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313.

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