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". . . How exactly do we assess such a thing [undercover stings]? It’s not scientific. But Poynter’s Bob Steele has ventured in the past to provide a checklist of rather strict guidelines that must all be adhered to if deception is to be justified in journalism. These include: the information obtained being in the public interest; all alternative methods of obtaining the information being exhausted; the story being told fully; any harm prevented outweighing the harm caused by the deception; and all ethical and legal issues being closely considered. With those in mind, and the particulars of each case on hand, here’s our trip down an ethically murky memory lane. . . . "
Columbia Journalism Review 2011-03-10
Over the line: the questionable tactics of "To Catch a Predator" - Deborah Potter - American Journalism Review
". . .The 'To Catch a Predator' series on 'Dateline NBC' has been a smash hit for the network's news division since it launched more than two years ago, drawing a substantial audience and public praise for bringing sex offenders to justice. But the program's tactics have always been controversial, and now they've landed NBC in court. The charge is breach of contract, but the complaint paints a picture of a program willing to cross ethical lines to win ratings. Former 'Dateline' producer Marsha Bartel, who worked at NBC for more than 20 years, was let go last December just a few months after being promoted to sole producer of the 'Predator' series. Bartel says the company told her she was being dropped in a general round of layoffs. While there's no question that NBC has been downsizing, Bartel believes she was forced out because she complained to her supervisors that the 'Predator' series repeatedly violated the standards of ethical journalism. . ."
American Journalism Review 2007-08-01
The online watchdog group Perverted Justice lures sexual predators by posing as minors online and inviting them to meet up in person. And Dateline NBC's wildly popular "To Catch a Predator" series has captured audiences nationwide with a mix of fear and voyeurism. Guests: Douglas McCollam, attorney and contributing writer for Columbia Journalism Review Chris Hansen, host of NBC Dateline series "To Catch a Predator" Richard Rapaport, San Francisco-based freelance writer, author of "Dying and living in 'COPS' America" a critique of "To Catch a Predator." Xavier von Erck, founder of pervertedjustice.com
Talk of the Nation 2007-01-16