Over the line: the questionable tactics of "To Catch a Predator" - Deborah Potter - American Journalism Review

Over the line: the questionable tactics of "To Catch a Predator" - Deborah Potter - American Journalism Review

by: Deborah Potter | publication date: August 1, 2007 | Publication: 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. . ."

In the aftermath of the suicide of a man caught in the "Predator" trap, this piece questions the ethics of the popular Dateline series of reports.

Access to online material.