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#207690 - 02/27/08 05:21 AM More on "To Catch a Predator"
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
We had a long and heated discussion on the morality of this TV show awhile back. Here is the latest: a court has ruled that NBC can be sued over the suicide of a former Texas prosecutor who committed suicide after he was caught by the show trying to hook up with a 13-year-old boy. The court agreed that there is merit to the lawsuit:

Quote:
Rather than merely report on law enforcement's efforts to combat crime, NBC purportedly instigated and then placed itself squarely in the middle of a police operation, pushing the police to engage in tactics that were unnecessary and unwise, solely to generate more dramatic footage for a television show.


This doesn't mean that the court agrees with the suit, just that the legal action is allowed to proceed and won't be thrown out of court.

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#207711 - 02/27/08 08:06 AM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: roadrunner]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
I wasn't part of the "Predator..." debate -- I think it was before my time here -- or during my hiatus -- but wish I was.

It always scares me when public citizens, with no law enforcement training, or even lawyer-type training, acts as some kind of moralistic police force.

Of course the men are wrong for meeting supposed kids for sex -- that's obvious. Of course they should face consequences (if they weren't entrapped). But Dateline and Perverted Justice (even their name reeks of lynch mob), are shady people. Let's be real here for a second. They exploit societies worst ill for ratings and to line their pockets with NBC's money. There's tons of cases against PJ, and tons of reports saying how they accept huge sums of money from NBC -- even though they're "volunteers."

They don't promote healing. They don't even promote protecting children. They're using a sample 1% of the pedophile population and blowing it up to 100% -- actually hurting society by fueling the "stranger danger" idea.

But everyone gets that safe feeling when they see it on their screens and they can feel rage and anger (and joy): the bad guy is caught...the danger is over. It's just THOSE sickos...no one in MY home could be like them.

I have no problem with catching pedophiles in stings -- but on national television, for millions of dollars?

Can anyone say "hired vigilantes?"

But if you speak out against them (vigilantes), if you're not out for blood, then to most you're "defending" pedophiles. ARGH. Stupid.

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#207793 - 02/27/08 04:09 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: AndyJB2005]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Yeah! YEAH! What he said!

Well said Andy.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#207819 - 02/27/08 05:58 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: LandOfShadow]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
How about a thought experiment? What if the police were not involved in this whatsoever? What if PJ was working completely on it's own accord? What if the only thing that happened was embarrassment, exposure, and at worst, ostracizing of the individual? In this scenario, arguments suggesting entrapment would be moot, and the (presumed) primary goal of protecting vulnerable young people might actually occur. What if "online predators" had to not worry about a salaried cop being paid to flirt with guys in chat rooms, but motivated private citizens?

Just a thought. Nevermind, stupid thought, just thought I would throw it out there for you guys.


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#207822 - 02/27/08 06:22 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: Hauser]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Hauser
How about a thought experiment? What if the police were not involved in this whatsoever? What if PJ was working completely on it's own accord? What if the only thing that happened was embarrassment, exposure, and at worst, ostracizing of the individual? In this scenario, arguments suggesting entrapment would be moot, and the (presumed) primary goal of protecting vulnerable young people might actually occur. What if "online predators" had to not worry about a salaried cop being paid to flirt with guys in chat rooms, but motivated private citizens?

Just a thought. Nevermind, stupid thought, just thought I would throw it out there for you guys.


PJ does do this. They scour the internet and find guys and gals who talk to children in a bad way, and then put that person's personal information on a website along with the chat tran>
_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#207827 - 02/27/08 07:24 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: AndyJB2005]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
In thinking about this more, what SEEMS to be the only REASONABLE way for this (online predators) to be resolved is teaching online safety to kids/teens. I mean, we teach them to look both ways before crossing the road, right? We teach them how to count their change at the local store so that they don't get cheated right? We teach them to not talk to strangers in public right? Responsible parents are OBLIGATED to know what their kids are doing online and who they're hanging out with and what they're doing when they're out of the house.

Parents are the key to this. Shall I give an example?

This was some time ago now, but I remember it very well. I was at a public library that didn't filter their internet access for their patrons. A 10 or 11yo boy sat down next to me to access the internet, and, yes, this is true, I'm NOT lying, his MOM was sitting down with him to watch what he was doing! AMAZING isn't it? That a parent would actually take the time out of her day to see what exactly her child was doing online? (note the sarcasm)


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#207837 - 02/27/08 08:41 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: Hauser]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Hauser,

There are more of us parents watching than you might think. My computer is in the dining room and has been since the day I bought it some ten years ago when my daughter was 10. She never knew, still doesn't know, when I may walk up on her to see what's going on. And yes, I've found out her password to Facebook and MySpace and snoop regularly. I don't like everything I see, but thank goodness, it's been nothing to make me scream and certainly more tame than I was *whew* She never had her own computer until she went to college.

All that being said, bad things could still happen. The computer isn't locked up, it's just out in the open, but I'm not always home and all of her friends have computers too. I've spoken to her about the dangers alot, but in the end, a parent can only hope and pray that it took hold.

Brian, I understand your points about PJ and Dateline, etc. I've been in the legal field for 25+ years so I know how it works and why, but I can't help but smile a little bit when some A-hole who thought he was going to get away with it winds up with egg on his face and sometimes more. That's my evil twin coming out, but sometimes I like her.

ROCK ON.......Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#211107 - 03/16/08 06:30 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: Trish4850]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
This update from the NY Times 3/10/08
Ken

From NY Times, March 10, 2008


Editorial Observer
What’s on TV Tonight? Humiliation to the Point of Suicide
By ADAM COHEN

In November 2006, a camera crew from “Dateline NBC” and a police SWAT team descended on the Texas home of Louis William Conradt Jr., a 56-year-old assistant district attorney. The series’ “To Catch a Predator” team had allegedly caught Mr. Conradt making online advances to a decoy who pretended to be a 13-year-old boy. When the police and TV crew stormed Mr. Conradt’s home, he took out a handgun and shot himself to death.

“That’ll make good TV,” one of the police officers on the scene reportedly told an NBC producer. Deeply cynical, perhaps, but prescient. “Dateline” aired a segment based on the grim encounter. After telling the ghoulish tale, it ended with Mr. Conradt’s sister decrying the “reckless actions of a self-appointed group acting as judge, jury and executioner, that was encouraged by an out-of-control reality show.”

Mr. Conradt’s sister sued NBC for more than $100 million. Last month, Judge Denny Chin of Federal District Court in New York ruled that her suit could go forward. Judge Chin’s thoughtful ruling sends an important message at a time when humiliation television is ubiquitous, and plumbing ever lower depths of depravity in search of ratings.

NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” franchise is based on an ugly premise. The show lures people into engaging in loathsome activities. It then teams up with the police to stage a humiliating, televised arrest, while the accused still has the presumption of innocence.

Each party to the bargain compromises its professional standards. Rather than hold police accountable, “Dateline” becomes their partners — and may well prod them to more invasive and outrageous actions than they had planned. When Mr. Conradt did not show up at the “sting house” — the usual “To Catch a Predator” format — producers allegedly asked police as a “favor” to storm his home. Ms. Conradt contends that the show encourages police “to give a special intensity to any arrests, so as to enhance the camera effect.”

The police make their own corrupt bargain, ceding law enforcement to TV producers. Could Mr. Conradt have been taken alive if he had been arrested in more conventional fashion, without SWAT agents, cameras and television producers swarming his home? Judge Chin said a jury could plausibly find that it was the television circus, in which the police acted as the ringleader, that led to his suicide.

“To Catch a Predator” is part of an ever-growing lineup of shows that calculatingly appeal to their audience’s worst instincts. The common theme is indulging the audience’s voyeuristic pleasure at someone else’s humiliation, and the nastiness of the put-down has become the whole point of the shows.

Humiliation TV has been around for some time. “The Weakest Link” updated the conventional quiz show by installing a viciously insulting host, and putting the focus on the contestants’ decision about which of their competitors is the most worthless. “The Apprentice” purported to be about young people getting a start in business, but the whole hour built up to a single moment: when Donald Trump barked “You’re fired.”

But to hold viewers’ interest, the levels of shame have inevitably kept growing. A new Fox show, “Moment of Truth,” in a coveted time slot after “American Idol,” dispenses cash prizes for truthfully (based on a lie-detector test) answering intensely private questions. Sample: “Since you’ve been married, have you ever had sexual relations with someone other than your husband?” If the show is as true as it says it is, questions in two recent episodes seemed carefully designed to break up contestants’ marriages.

There are First Amendment concerns, of course, when courts consider suits over TV shows. But when the media act more as police than as journalists, and actually push the police into more extreme violations of rights than the police would come up with themselves, the free speech defense begins to weaken.

Ms. Conradt’s suit contains several legal claims, including “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” for which the bar is very high: conduct “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

Reprehensible as “Moment of Truth” is, it doubtless falls into the venerable category of verbal grotesquery protected by the First Amendment. The producers of “To Catch a Predator”, however, appear to be on the verge — if not over it — of becoming brown shirts with television cameras. If you are going into the business of storming people’s homes and humiliating them to the point of suicide, you should be sure to have some good lawyers on retainer.


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#211121 - 03/16/08 07:21 PM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
The basic problem i have with things like TCAP and the like is simply the real motivation: to make money. It's akin to the tawdry news shows that dwell nonstop on any story involving sex and taboo-breaking, whether it be the Ramsey case, Mary LeTourneau, or the more recent female-teacher case, in which it was deemed neccessary to frequently show pictures of said teacher clad in a bikini, astride a motorcycle- all the while pretending that moral outrage, rather than cynical exploitation, is the reason for such attention. Obviously, me being who i am, i would love to know that more abusers are caught, and kept away from children; but there is a difference between effective awareness-raising/law enforcement, and a profitable circus...

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#211217 - 03/17/08 06:52 AM Re: More on "To Catch a Predator" [Re: dgoods]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
dgoods,

Originally Posted By: dgoods
The basic problem i have with things like TCAP and the like is simply the real motivation: to make money.


That was one of my main objections the first time around. The second is that this show stresses the element of "stranger danger" when it comes to protecting kids, while the reality is that over 90% of boys are abused by people they know and trust.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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