“I’m Chris Hanson of NBC News…”
With those words the cameramen and production crew slither out of the crevices of the simulated suburban home like cockroaches freed by the dark. The would-be pervert is stunned into either silence or stuttering excuses for having shown up for a sexual encounter with a minor. It’s another gripping episode of infotainment that includes all the requisite ingredients for ratings: sex, crime, suspense, confrontation, and instant resolution. It’s great television but it is not news.
NBC’s “To Catch A Predator“ has been manufacturing crimes for three years. During that time they have generated much controversy for “entrapping” suspects without producing convictions. But now they have a bigger problem:
“One of the 25 men caught in the sting – a prosecutor from a neighboring county – committed suicide when police came to arrest him. The Murphy city manager who approved the operation lost his job in the ensuing furor. And the district attorney is refusing to prosecute any of the men, saying many of the cases were tainted by the involvement of amateurs.”
This is what happens when journalists stray from their ethical boundaries and engage in the sensationalistic construction of pseudo-news. However, NBC is unlikely to absorb the lesson. They have made far too much money on this exploitation fare to offer anything other than stuttering excuses for their contribution to perverted journalism.