Dateline NBC crosses the line
If the excruciatingly worthy 10-page pullout section in yesterday’s Globe describing in gruesome detail the most uneventful federal budget in human memory (oh, all right, Canadian memory) left you with the uneasy feeling that journalism was less vacuous, vicious and underhanded than you might have thought, then may I recommend a little story on page C6 of yesterday’s New York Times. In it, the writer Alan Feuer describes a $105-million lawsuit pitting the family of a deceased alleged pedophile against NBC.
The alleged pedophile in question, Louis Conradt Jr., was an assistant district attorney in Rockwell County, Texas, who committed suicide just as he was about to be arrested for “trying to solicit a minor on-line.” A camera crew from a Dateline NBC series titled “To Catch a Predator” was waiting outside the house to film the arrest. The judge rejected NBC’s application to dismiss the suit, writing, “If the allegations of the amended complaint are proven, a reasonable jury could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement.”
Gee, ya think? The manner in which the popular press deals with sexual aberration is sickening in the extreme, and I’ll be keeping an eye on this case as it goes along.
• Suit Against ‘Predator’ Show Advances [New York Times]