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I’ve seen a couple of episodes of this show on YouTube, and it really made me want to discuss the ethical dilemma it poses.
To explain shortly what the show is about, it is an American TV series that focuses on the sexual abuse of children and catches sexual predators by having decoys pose as young children in chat rooms on the internet and lure paedophile men to reveal themselves by claiming they’re home alone and agreeing to meet the men. When the men arrive at the decoy’s house, they’re instead confronted by the show’s host, Chris Hansen, who usually manages to interview them briefly before they run off and are apprehended by waiting security staff. More information can be found on Wikipedia, here.
You can also see an interview with Chris Hansen about the show here (warning, graphic content!) and watch part of an actual episode here.
While I agree with the apparent purpose of this show, namely putting sexual predators behind bars before they can molest any more children, I am also at the same time slightly disturbed by the fact that there’s a network company earning ratings on turning such a serious topic into a sensationalist TV show. Somehow it grates with my sense of what is ethically justifiable, destroying a man’s life by branding him a sexual predator on international television before he has even appeared in court, and having the investigation and arrest performed by people with a financial incentive to ensure a dramatic confrontation and apprehension. On one occasion, a man even committed suicide after appearing on the show.
On the other hand, the men chatted with and sought out the decoys voluntarily with the intent to engage in sexual acts with a minor, so they’re hardly innocent. Without this show all the sexual predators apprehended by the crew would still be walking free and preying on children unopposed. And I also admit that there’s a certain enjoyable schadenfreude in watching these creeps being confronted and brought to justice for their despicable crimes.
So, what do you think? Should we have more TV shows like this one around the world, or do you think it’s over the top?
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
Isn't that what our current society is all about? Making money with "sensational" products with no regards for morality (or quality for that matter)?
Anyhow, I don't think there should be a tv programme for this, for the simple reason that it alerts these predators as you call them. Initiatives to catch them would work a lot better if they weren't made public, this program seems like a huge warning sign telling pedophiles to be more careful.
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Creating awareness of this heinous act is very good.
Catching them prior to abuse is very good.
But why sensationalise it.
They aren't doing it because they give a damn about children. They're doing it because it makes good television.
An interview with a sicko, behind the comfort of your television.
There's something very twisted about the situation - the fact that at the end of the day this is called 'entertainment'.
LO RulesOriginally Posted by AnonymousOriginally Posted by Cyric
Dateline NBC is all about sensationalism. They don't know how to do real news - all of their 'stories' are about victims of heinous crimes. From the girl who was murdered and the criminal went free for a whole six months, to the family that paid for a surrogate mother, only to find out that the lady they hired wasn't even pregnant for the eight months she led them along.
Dateline NBC has no clue how to do real news. They thrive on making their viewers feel shocked and amazed. What better way to do that than humiliate other human beings, and then claim it's all about protecting the children?
Personally, I think Perverted Justice is a great idea, and anybody that gives them funding to continue their work is aces in my book. But Dateline NBC is a blight upon the Earth, and has yet to ever serve a useful purpose. Perverted Justice could easily operate on their own without having to have their work aired on public television.
On the other hand - some of those idiots admit to having seen the previous shows, and knew the risk of them being caught was very real. Anyone that idiotic deserves the humiliation.
From what you have described the show turns the whole system of law and order into a farce. If the system works to trap sexual predators then the police can use it without the TV cameras.
Why not bring back public executions?.
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I think the show is pretty ridiculous. I also don't think it's catching sexual predators, more like stupid men. While they are incredibly gullible, I'm not convinced they are rapists. That said, dateline did catch a few men who actually are sexual predators, so more power to them there.So, what do you think? Should we have more TV shows like this one around the world, or do you think it’s over the top?
However, it seems the vast majorette, are taking advantage of a situation presented to them. Which may still be a crime, but how often is that situation presented.
In my many years of perusing the internets, never have I seen a girl inviting men over to her home. The biggest problem I see with the whole set-up is why would a girl need to go on the internet to find a partner for intercourse. I'm pretty sure that would make the day of just about any 13-17 year old male. Wouldn't it be easier to find a suitable candidate in school or something?
The type of internet sexual predator Id like caught, is one who uses say a problem like myspace to find people, and locates further information about them such as address, and then shows up at the door announced. Thats the type I want caught, but they are harder to catch. So basically while the men in datelines shows are probably committing a crime, I don't really think they are a danger to society, like real internet predators are.
Although this has always seemed like common sense to me, if a person wants to meet some one off the internet, bring a friend, or two, or ten. Meet in a public place..
Owell, stupid men should learn to think with their heads anyway.
I'm pretty sure its illegal for the police to set-up the sting, as it would be considered entrapment, which is why the need date line, and that other organization. Also, I'm sure dateline also fronts a lot of the costs, which is probably why the police agree to do it.
Its just to handy for the police, since date line brings cameras for evidence, and the organization provides young looking girls.
The show, when it first aired, was a very interesting piece of journalism. It gave some insight into the techniques used to catch this type of criminal. But it is no longer news/journalism when it is a regular segment of the show.
These types of baiting techniques are in wide use by law enforcement and I have no problem with that, but to sensationalize it is morally at odds with real justice. Are we to delight in the capture of a criminal such that it is entertainment? The method, I believe, is justice, but the profiteering twists that justice into a sick delight. This goes for many aspects of morality and justice. I see justifable use for the death penalty, but I don't take delight in seeing a human life extinguished.
Karmoon: "well.. any kore = good kore" 12:35pm PST 23 May 2007
Well basically its a horrible show. But it's very effective way to protect the kids before they get abused. I don't have a problem with baiting. The exhibition of these sad people is unsettling as hell as it deprives the criminals of any anonymity before trial and thats pretty scary as they could start to do some show like this about other "crimes" for instance homosexuality... too slippery slope for me. They should keep up the baiting though.
Though the show sounds ingenious as a protective measure for kids. I worry that there's not a loophole in it that can be exploited legally (defamation or somesuch).
I'd like to see something similar aimed at abusive parents as well.
Unfortunately, I won't ever watch these kinds of shows......I've got better things to do than watch TV.
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