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05-29-07, 11:55 PM #1
NBC "To Catch a Predator" producer quits and sues, claims shows violates ethics
MAY 29--In a scathing broadside at NBC's popular "To Catch a Predator" series, a former producer charges that she was canned last year after complaining that the show violated "numerous journalistic ethical standards" and many of the network's own "policies and guidelines." In a breach of contract lawsuit, Marsha Bartel, 49, alleges that her 21-year career at NBC ended months after her August 2006 appointment as "sole producer" of "To Catch a Predator," which conducts sting operations targeting men seeking illicit liaisons with children they've met online. According to her complaint, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Bartel charges that many of the program's ethical lapses stem from its relationship with Perverted Justice, a shadowy vigilante group that the show uses to "troll for and lure targets into its sting." A copy of Bartel's lawsuit can be found below. According to Bartel, by paying Perverted Justice, NBC has given the group a "financial incentive to lie to trick targets of its sting." The identities of the group's 50-plus volunteers were kept secret from her, Bartel says, adding that Perverted Justice does not provide "complete transcripts from its trolling operations," so network officials "cannot independently verify the accuracy" of the group's transcripts. In some instances, Bartel claims, sting targets are "led into additional acts of humiliation (such as being encouraged to remove their clothes) in order to enhance the comedic effect of the public exposure of these persons." She also charges that NBC has unethically covered up the fact that law enforcement officials have acted improperly while working in conjunction with the "To Catch a Predator" crew, such as "goofing off by waving rubber chickens in the faces of sting targets while forcing them to the ground and handcuffing them." Bartel says that when she "raised concerns" about controversial comments made by Perverted Justice's founder, David Corvo, executive producer of the newsmagazine "Dateline," responded, "We all know they're nuts." Bartel, who signed a four-year contract in March 2006, contends that soon after reporting her concerns about "To Catch a Predator" to NBC management, she was terminated effective December 24, 2006. While NBC told her she was part of a "mass layoff precipitated by general business factors," Bartel alleges that she was canned in retaliation for insistence on "ethical and accurate reporting on the Predator series." NBC, she adds, was "more interested in sensationalizing and dramatizing the Predator series for profit than news reporting." Bartel is seeking at least $1 million in damages from NBC. In a statement, NBC said it has been "transparent about our reporting" on the Predator series, for which audience reaction has been "overwhelmingly positive. NBC News is proud of its reporting and we believe this lawsuit is without merit."
05-29-07, 11:57 PM #2GrasshopperVerified LEO
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05-30-07, 01:58 AM #3
The major downside is that this woman is alleging ethics violations against the police involved in the sting. She's basically trying to write a blank check to a bunch of perverts, to not only walk on the sex charges, but sue the various law enforcement officers and agencies involved in the sting operations.
If she has a labor dispute with NBC, fine, but helping a bunch of perverts walk free to continue to prey on kids just so she can seek personal revenge against NBC is unconscionable. In my mind, she has just become no more than an accessory to the crimes that these detestable subhumans are committing.
Then again, her kids haven't been victims of a sexual predator, so what does she care?
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05-30-07, 02:02 AM #4YEAH, IM THE BERRIES, AND CHERRIES IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR.
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05-31-07, 12:26 AM #5"financial incentive to lie to trick targets of its sting."
This whole time I thought they put in there, "Hey. We are setting up a sting to catch perv's, can you show up?"
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05-31-07, 12:58 AM #6
Lying to catch a suspect is perfectly acceptable as long as it isn't entrapment (i.e., the pervert comes to the Perverted Justice actor voluntarily without them actively soliciting an illegal act).
I don't see anything wrong with Perverted Justice's sting operations, as long as the transcripts are complete and accurate - And several Police Departments have partnered with them, so they must not see anything wrong with it either.
She didn't question the transcript accuracy, she just said that they didn't verify them. Well they COULD have by immediately requesting a copy of the file, so that isn't Perverted Justice's fault unless they refused to make a copy (I could also see where the Police Department may have requested that all evidence be protected until they had time to review and filter it for the news media, maybe? - That would prevent the producers from making a copy, too).
Waving a rubber chicken is wrong? Who cares!
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05-31-07, 01:16 AM #7Banned
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Perverted Justice is aptly named. Before they got famous they were internet infamous and I read some of their encounters after they got /.'d.
If soliciting is a factor some of the PJers don't care. Those guys will chat and seek all night, introducing themselves as teenage girls early on, (often in a chat burst) then not mentioning it again in the conversation while making references which make them sound older. That one line they slipped in makes the entire transcript look damning upon review. What those reviewing it fail to notice (or are excluded from seeing through selective editing) are the guys who noticed at the time and broke off contact.
Do I think the guys they have on the hook are great guys? No! Whether they think they're showing up to meet a 13 year old, a 18 year old or a 44 year old they're still freaks. My only point here (one I should probably keep to myself) is so are some of the PJers.
Not a big vigilante fan. They don't tend to pay much more attention to rules than criminals.
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