I found a lot of interesting information researching To Catch a Predator for this presentation. I was shocked by much of it, and it changed my whole view on the series as a whole and the methods used. I agree with the controversial methods used to catch child molesters. After reading the detailed chat logs on the Perverted Justice website I think the questionable methods are a justifiable means to an end.
The Perverted Justice organization is best known for it's work with Dateline, but they are involved in more than television sting operations. They train law enforcement with their techniques for the benefit of both parties, moderate an online forum for survivors of sexual abuse, and have an internship program for criminal justice students. Perverted Justice is dedicated to bringing child molesters to justice and helping victims recover.
Perverted Justice has done an excellent job bringing attention to the child molestation problem. The 11 To Catch a Predator episodes resulted in huge ratings for NBC. Some believe NBC disregards ethical journalism for the sake of ratings. NBC has reported paying an "undisclosed" amount of money to the organization. According to newsmax.com NBC paid more than $100,000 for their work on the series. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me. It's a lot of money to pay for a story.
NBC employees have had problems with the ethical lapses including former producer Marsha Bartel. Bartel believes she was let go due to complaints about ethical journalism, but NBC insists it was downsizing. NBC defends the methods of the To Catch a Predator series. According to cbsnews.com, Stone Phillips refutes entrapment accusations on the Dateline blog. Host Chris Hansen also defends the media's role in the sting. He says their role is to get the information to the viewer in a complete fashion.