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Cop Cools Off Fox News' Hyperventilating Hunt

Reported by Judy - July 13, 2006 -

The breathless Fox News reporter Jonathan Hunt was hot on the trail of two serial killers in Phoenix on Thursday (July 13, 2006), but a Phoenix police officer on "Dayside" finally had to calm him down before Hunt had the entire Valley of the Sun in a panic.

Thursday's piece on the so-called Baseline Rapist and another serial shooter in Phoenix was the second this week on "Dayside." The Phoenix police have begun an effort to enlist the public's help in gathering information about these two serial criminals, which have struck a number of times over the last 18 months. But this time, the Phoenix police thought Fox News was going just a little too far.

Jonathan Hunt, seemingly gasping for air, told viewers, "They won't admit it here at police headquarters, but Phoenix here is nothing less than a city under siege, a city in the grip of growing fear. Roaming these streets are not one, but two serial killers. One is also a rapist, the other is a sniper."

After discussing the serial attackers modes of operation, Hunt concluded that "a dark cloud of fear hangs over the Valley of the Sun."

For a minute, I thought it was a set up for a Superman rerun and that the big man would come flying into the screen to save us all.

"Dayside" substitute co-host Alisyn Camerota picked up where Hunt left off in introducing Sgt. Andy Hill from the Phoenix Police Department.. "Nothing scares the public more than thinking that there is a random shooter, a serial shooter, or killer out there on the loose. Are you telling people to stay inside their homes right now?" she asked.

Hill tried to put out the raging wildfire that Hunt and Camerota were stoking. "It sounds like you're sensationalizing things just a little bit. We do have a very serious problem. People are afraid. These are two criminals. The purpose of the community meeting last night was to let people know that they can be empowered by calling us with information, and that’s really the main point; not to tell people they’re afraid or a city under siege. The point really is that we are a community of people that care and we have a great relationship between the police and the community and we need those calls to help us out," he said.

"Dayside" co-host, who occasionally acts like the only adult on the set, stepped in to calm things down. "I agree with you Sargeant. The city under siege stuff is a little too much, I agree."

Jerrick then tried to steer the discussion away from images of hysterial Phoenix residents barricaded inside their homes to suggestions for what the public can do, including being aware of the people around you and avoiding contact with strangers in certain locations.

Camerota was not about to give up.

"We don’t want to sensationalize anything, but come on, 34 separate shootings some of them murders, you know, it’s hard to take that calmly, if you’re a resident of Phoenix," she insisted.

Not sure what Hunt's reaction was to having his anchor say that he had stepped over the line with his breathless reporting. But Hunt only has one reporting mode -- panic mode. He is a living caricature of the eager-beaver reporter.