2006/04/09

When You Can't Break the News, Make the News

Hot on the heels of local TV stations being exposed for using fake news reports, we have Dateline NBC's ethically challenged investment in "news manufacturing". The SF Chronicle reports on how Dateline NBC paid over $100,000 to the pedophile watchdog group, Perverted Justice to run sting operations in which hapless would-be pedophiles are solicited in Internet chat-rooms, confronted by Dateline reporters, filmed, and then turned over to police.

Now you may say, "These are pedophiles. Who gives a sh*t what happens to them?" But the question arises, if Dateline is willing to "pay to make the news" what's to stop them from say... hiring someone to bribe a public official that's already suspected of wrongdoing just so that they can film the result? Or, in an example that hit's a little closer to home:
  • Going on the Internet to incite right-wing bloggers to express their coup fantasies, informing on the bloggers to the FBI, and filming the results when the Feds arrive...
  • ...or maybe encouraging left-wing bloggers to discuss presidential assassination so that Dateline can turn 'em in to the Secret Service.
Or, in a really extreme case, how about engaging a third party to commit a high-profile murder that Dateline then prevents by informing the police at the last moment. If fact, once news organizations unshackle themselves from the yoke of "reporting the news", to what depths won't they sink?

But really, this is an easy call. In order to protect the watchdog group, Dateline got it's participating members deputized, something they neglected to do that for their own producers and reporters. I say arrest every participating NBC employee as an accessory and give them a pedophile rap that will follow them for the rest of their f*cking lives.

10 Comments:

You're right, this is a dangerous path and could have the potential to get way the hell even more dangerous.
Perverted Justice is an apt name for this sting operation.

Even with law-enforcement sting operations, I'm never clear on where the legitimate sting part ends and entrapment begins.

But this seems completely out of line. It's not like there isn't lots of legitimate news to cover.
Yah, I like the idea of prevention but not when a Media Giant is the one settin' out the bait.

They're supposed to observe and record, not instigate and convict.
How about manufacturing a war for ratings? I know it's been suggested before such as in the movie wag the dog.

But now we have all these mercenaries for hire like USIS and BlackWater, maybe Fox news can hire them to carry out military strikes anywhere in the world so they can cover it.

My guess is we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. It remains to be seen if the truth will come out about how many other news stories are just paid corporate advertisements or scripted plays designed to boost ratings.

Everyone loves a young pretty missing white girl story...
But to reiterate, what really gets me about this article is: Why do these clowns feel that they are above being fingered for aiding and abetting? I mean, there's an argument to be made that without the sting, there would be measurably fewer number of opportunities for the would-be pedophiles to prey on someone.
Isn't this the same type sting operation which nailed Brian Doyle?
I think NBC is able to get away with it because they're pushing everybody's child molester buttons. It's not that far off from an episode of COPS really, just another reality type event where people get to feel sanctimonious because they're not child molesters or drug users them selves. News is entertainment, that's why CBS hired Katie Couric.
Well Kvatch,

when Americans see the President repeatedly breaking the law, lying, commiting acts of treason, and violating the Constitution with absolutely no consequences, it makes people (especially corporations) pause and think "hmm, maybe I can get away with some stuff".

Indeed we are more and more a pay to play society. If you have the money to grease the Bush Machine you can ensure you won't get in trouble.
...that's why CBS hired Katie Couric.

Know what you mean Ron. S'all a big puppet theater, but still seems to me like NBC is close to breaking the law themselves.

PoliShifter...right you are. No decently ethical at the top, and of course the crap rolls...well...you know where.
Fred! Minority Report? OK now that I've guessed, time to test the link...Cool!

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