Per the New York Times, “NBC has settled a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who killed himself when confronted with cameras for the documentary series To Catch a Predator.”
As you may recall, back in February “a judge dismissed some of the lawsuit’s claims, but declared that a jury ‘could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement.’ The two parties reached a settlement before a trial could begin.”
Here’s some of what Douglas McCollam had to say about all of this in a piece from the January/February 2007 issue of CJR:
Dateline hasn’t so much covered a story as created one. In the process it has further compromised the barrier between reporters and cops that is central to the mission of journalism. If humiliating perverts and needlessly terrifying parents is the best use that newsmagazines can make of hours of primetime television, then perhaps they should be allowed to die and the time given over to the blood sport of reality programming. At least no one would dare to call it news.
Liz Cox Barrett is a freelance writer and graphic designer in Kalispell, Montana. She worked as a newspaper journalist in Denver and Kalispell for 20 years.