Sometimes reporters become part of the story they are covering whether they want to be or not.
Such was the case for Fox News Channel correspondent Dan Springer, who was with his crew in Seattle on Monday reporting on disruptions from the outskirts of that city’s Capital Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP, zone when demonstrators surrounded his vehicle.
According to a member of the Black Lives Matter movement and other protesters on the scene, the encounter began when the reporter shoved a woman and told her to get out of his way. She allegedly responded by dousing him with a cup of coffee.
Soon after Springer, his crew, and their armed security detail retreated to a nearby SUV for safety, dozens of protesters reportedly surrounded it and refused to let the group leave the area until he apologized to the woman he was alleged to have shoved.
In addition to surrounding the vehicle, demonstrators reportedly began to beat on it as one jumped on the hood and screamed at the reporter through the windshield. Other participants laid on the ground in front of the SUV. After about 20 minutes, the heated encounter reportedly cooled down enough for Springer to exit the trapped vehicle and enter a waiting car that transported him from the scene.
A Fox News report provided a somewhat different account, including its correspondent’s assertion that he was “chest-bumped” by a protester, leading to a cup of coffee being spilled on his face and shirt.
Just prior to the incident, Springer reportedly contacted his producer to cancel a planned live shot because of the “filthy language” being used by those protesting in the area. The news team retreated to the SUV, which was then boxed in by demonstrators — some of whom claimed they had been struck by the vehicle, according to Fox News.
“Unable to drive away”
Reports show the news crew and security detail attempted to defuse the situation and negotiate with protesters throughout the standoff. Springer reportedly attempted to summon police assistance at one point, but that help never arrived.
Fox News Channel Vice President of Domestic Bureaus and Los Angeles Bureau Chief Nancy Harmeyer issued a statement asserting that the reporter was “confronted” by a protester who overheard his comments about inappropriate language.
“The protester started yelling at him and threw a cup of coffee in his face and on his jacket,” Harmeyer continued. “Attempting to de-escalate the situation, the crew returned to their vehicle, which was then surrounded by protesters. Unable to drive away, the crew turned the car off and walked away from the scene.”
She added that no one in the news crew attempted to “physically instigate or retaliate in any way against the protesters.”
After a mob prevents a reporter and his crew from exiting a public space without any apparent intervention by law enforcement, it would not be surprising if more Americans started to favor President Donald Trump’s get-tough position the CHOP and other ongoing nationwide protests.