I have watched almost every installment of the “To Catch a Predator” series on NBC and I enjoy the show. However I don’t think that it is ethical the way they do their stings, showing these men on national television. In case you have never seen the show Dateline hires decoys who pose as minors who cruise chat rooms and find men and invite them over for intercourse. The problem I have with this show is that more often now the decoys are the ones initiating the sexual talk and asking the men to come over. I believe this is what they call entrapment; entrapment is a law that basically says “an officer or an agent of an officer can not coerce anyone into committing a crime they didn’t intend to”. So the question stands; if the decoy never offered up the sexual talk and rendezvous would these men have tried to talk the teens into a meeting?
So is it ok if the decoys initiate the conversation that brings the predator over? Many people say yes, and they say yes for the same reason I would say yes, it puts a criminal behind bars. I used to say yes but now I think what these decoys are doing is illegal. I think that Dateline is guilty of entrapment; they are seeking out people and coercing them into committing a crime. I mean how many men would have asked to meet if the decoys didn’t bring up a meeting?
Dateline says that these men seem like guys who have done this act before and that is the basis for them being allowed to use their methods of enticing the men over to the house. How can Dateline make that assumption? How do they know this isn’t their first time, you can’t just assume things about a person through an internet chat session.
If Dateline is so sure the men will as to come to the house then why not just let the men ask for a meeting or start the sexual conversations? The answer is because before they started to bait the men, not many showed up to the house. If you have seen all the episodes of “To Catch a Predator” you have seen the steady increase in the amount of men who arrange meetings and get arrested. I think that makes it pretty obvious that the changing to more aggressive techniques is what is coercing more and more men into becoming “predators”. It seems more like the decoys are the preying on the men!
You can argue both sides, you can say the men would have set up a meeting even if the kids didn’t invite them, or you can say they wouldn’t have. Either way we will only know the truth if Dateline does another installment and this show and the decoys are restricted from initiating any sexual conversations or invitations. I think it would be interesting what they would find, and it could put this whole theory to rest. The matter would be solved and the two sides could stop arguing.
I think that Dateline is to much into the monetary side of this whole program now, they started out with a goal and now they have turned their goal of catching predators into trying to catch ratings. They say they are only doing the show to expose these predators, well then how about not having any commercials and not making any money off the situation? If you are only trying to protect the communities and expose what is going on.
Bottom line is that Dateline is lying to us, which if they would say “hey we want ratings you want to see perverts get caught and go to jail” then I would be fine with it. Chris Hansen has to try and fill me with this Good Samaritan act, like all he and the network care about is catching these men. Come on give us some credit, we aren’t as dumb as the guys you catch; we know why you do the show. The ratings have sky rocketed and Dateline has found something that people can’t turn away from and now Dateline is using different techniques to lure more men into the program. The network is getting great ratings and making a lot of money off the ruins of these men’s lives.
Another thing I don’t understand about this is the show has had 7 episodes thus far and men still show up, even ones who have seen the show. They come in and as soon as Chris Hansen walks out they say “I knew it”, then what the hell are you doing at the house. These idiots deserve to be caught. Chris Hansen needs to be more careful though, I guess he has never seen cheaters, one day someone with nothing to lose will come through that door and they will have a weapon and Chris Hansen is in trouble on that day.
Overall the show is good; I just don’t think the men deserve to be on national television being exposed to the world. They are already in enough trouble with the law and their lives will be forever changed. Why show these poor men to the world for more hardships and embarrassment? I agree they deserve to be dealt with harshly and quickly but I don’t think that Dateline has the right to profit off the downward spiral of these men’s lives that will certainly ensue after they have been on the show “To Catch a Predator”.