Fox Highlights Illegals Plotting July 4 Attack as CNN, MSNBC Bury

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On Thursday morning, Fox News Channel forthrightly informed their viewers that police in Richmond, Virginia, believe they stopped a mass shooting plot by two illegal immigrants that would have targeted July 4th celebrations. CNN, MSNBC, and the other networks have barely touched the story and mostly buried the illegal immigration angle.

At 7:54 a.m., Fox & Friends set up a three-minute interview with Richmond police chief Gerald Smith:

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well. just days after the horrific parade attack in Highland Park, police in Richmond announcing they foiled plans for another mass shooting on the 4th of July.

STEVE DOOCY: They say it was a tip from a “hero citizen” anonymous which led to the arrest of two illegal migrants before they could carry out the plan on the 4th of July.

After Chief Smith recalled that his officers began investigating the suspects after an anonymous tip from someone who overheard them, Doocy followed up by noting that one of the two had been deported several times: “They’re both in this country illegally, and one of them has been deported a number of times, and yet he keeps coming back,…”

A Nexis search finds only two instances when CNN has mentioned the story — once on Wednesday afternoon and again that evening when host Erin Burnett interviewed Chief Smith in a five-minute segment. In neither case did CNN anchors mention that they were illegal immigrants or even that they were being charged for being non-citizens in possession of firearms.

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These details were withheld from CNN viewers even though when Chief Smith took questions at a press conference earlier that day, he was asked about the fact that one suspect had been deported several times. Just under 10 minutes in, one reporter, referred to as “John,” asked: “The suspects, I’ve been told from sources, that one of them, at least, got deported several times. Can you comment on that, how frustrating it is for — to have someone come in like that time and time again and this is the outcome?”

Chief Smith responded: “It can be frustrating when things like that occur — that people who actually shouldn’t be here who are criminals actually continue to be able to do those type of things – it can be frustrating.”

MSNBC buried the story early Thursday morning on Way Too Early, but did at least mention that the perpetrators were in the country illegally. The broadcast networks similarly downplayed the story.

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Transcript follows. Click “expand” to read more. 

Fox & Friends

July 7, 2022

7:54 a.m. Eastern

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well. just days after the horrific parade attack in Highland Park, police in Richmond announcing they foiled plans for another mass shooting on the 4th of July.

STEVE DOOCY: They say it was a tip from a “hero citizen” anonymous which led to the arrest of two illegal migrants before they could carry out the plan on the 4th of July.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Richmond police chief Gerald Smith joins us now. Chief Smith, can you rebuild how the tip got to you and what you did after and what you found when you got there?

GERALD SMITH, RICHMOND POLICE CHIEF: Sure, the tip came in on July 1st from what you described as a “hero citizen” and what I describe as a “hero citizen.” They contacted our second precinct, and our officers in the second precinct took the call. They didn’t blow it off — they sat there on the phone and listened, took copious notes, and, at that point in time, our investigation started. Within a few hours, our officers were knocking at that residence wanting to know what was going on. And from that point on, once inside, our officers started to see other evidence that corroborated the hero citizen’s statement. And the investigation continued until we locked up two individuals. And we prevented a disaster, I think. There is no other term I can think of to describe the citizen who called up but a “hero.” One phone call prevented a tragedy.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: This is exactly what you — we’ve been saying we need to have happen — it’s amazing.  So this hero citizen overheard a phone call? is that correct?

SMITH: No, hero citizen heard conversation between the suspects — a conversation. They had contact — direct contact — and heard this plan and knew that they had to do something. You know, many of us go by our day every day, but this person said, “No, I’m not going to go on with my life — I’m going to stop and make this phone call.”

DOOCY: Sure. You see something, you say something. Obviously, this person said something. Officers went to this location, and they found two AR’s, one handgun, over 200 rounds of ammunition. And we’ve also got this shot of these two suspects. They’re both in this country illegally, and one of them has been deported a number of times, and yet he keeps coming back, and now, you know, you guys are lucky you were able to avert tragedy by these guys.

SMITH: Yeah, that’s true. And, you know, we know that there are — there’s work to be done with the immigration policies throughout the country, but officers just, well, officers were just concentrating on the behavior — they were looking at the criminal behavior that actually they had to concentrate on, and that made the difference. We can’t get into the immigration issues that surround the country — we had to look and we had to prevent that violence from occurring.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Gerald, really quick —

SMITH: I have to commend the officers.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: No motive yet?

SMITH: I’m sorry?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: No motive?

SMITH: No motive, no motive, but the officers — we did know there was the intent — the intent was clear — the intent was to cause a mass shooting and to take lives and to do damage unto untold depths. We have no idea the depths of what this citizen hero prevented.

DOOCY: And they certainly did. Chief, thank you very much for joining us today from Richmond.

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