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Ethical question

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by markvid, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. markvid

    markvid Guest

    I just want to get some opinions on this one, if you folks are so inclined.

    An investigative report in Pittsburgh (or, I should say, one that got promoted all week, but did not air), resulted in the suicide of a pastor.

    Original story from Sunday:

    Today's update: P-G's TV critic weighs in (and nails it, in my opinion).

    Do sweeps make us TV folks lose our perspective on what is good taste and what is not?
  2. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Along those same lines, a Texas DA killed himself yesterday after NBC's Dateline nabbed him as a sexual predator, as part of its ongoing sting operation. Police surrounded the guy's house to make an arrest, and heard the gunshot (self-inflicted).

    He was caught after soliciting sex via internet from someone he thought was a 13 yr old boy.

    No ethical question there.

    As for markvid's story, it seems unclear what the 'unethical' behavior was. Did they catch him doing something worth reporting, or were they just being salacious without a story?
  3. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    I hope you don't mind a comment from a print guy.

    I agree with the critic. This story smells of something designed only to boost ratings. I'm sure it was produced with its promos in mind: "YOUR pastor may be up to no good! Watch Channel XX tonight at 11 to find out if your minister is the pervert!"

    I can't believe anyone thought that running this story would be any kind of public service. I don't see anything that refers to rape or pedophilia or anything else. This was just, as the critic said, a gotcha story, designed to boost ratings.

    TV people do a lot of good journalism. This wasn't one of those times though.
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    It's hard to say without knowing the specifics about what he did that was illegal. If he was a pedophile, those TV gotcha jobs--although designed to get trainwreck ratings--actually do a public service. You have to figure there are some pedophiles who are thinking twice about acting on their urges because of those Dateline stories. But let's be honest... Most of us watch for the same reason people rubberneck when there is a highway wreck.
  5. ThomsonONE

    ThomsonONE Member

    The particulars of this case will come out eventually, but if you are in a position to influence people as a pastor of a church, telling people what is right and what is wrong, you'd better be squeaky clean. If not, keep your mouth shut about morality etc.

    As for the Dateline shows on child molestors, this is one instance where they can't do enough. I wish all the people caught by Dateline would kill themselves. That might sound heartless, but a child molestor deserves it.
  6. Peg McNichol

    Peg McNichol Member

    So sad.

    Here's another series of thoughts, taken from Poynter's ethics column, on the decision-making process at various news outlets after a blogger (Rogers) accused a political candidate (Larry Craig), well ... does the accusation really matter if this is the reaction:

    Source: http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=113327&sid=32
  7. markvid

    markvid Guest

    I agree with you, Thomson on that child predators are scum, however, it's not Dateline's job to seek them out and punish them. That's why we have a legal system. They are not doing it to be responsible citizens, it's because the whole thing is a car wreck we can't stop watching, and they know it.
  8. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    The Pittsburgh case sounds like a bad story to me. I hope they had more than the promo leads me to believe. If they were going to attack a pastor for going to an adult bookstore, they need someone new determining what's newsworthy at that station.

    As for the charge that "it was only designed to boost ratings"... Uggh. As a TV guy, I suppose my reaction is about the same as the print folks who get to hear "You're only trying to sell newspapers!" everytime you print something more hard-hitting than the TV listings.

    No sympathy for the guy nailed by Dateline, though. Not a bit.
  9. markvid

    markvid Guest

    That's exactly what the problem was with the story, PC. In this reporter's radio show, as the week went on, his was promoing the story by saying the pastor WAS doing illegal activity, then it became POSSIBLY illegal and at the very least, against the rules of his church. I sense what happened is the suicide threat became a good out for the station, as even they started to internally doubt whether or not the story had legs. And, oh, the reporter refused to address the issue on his show this morning, but somehow, the activity became illegal again. Guess it can when the dead guy can't fight back.
  10. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    My favorite line from the P-G story:

    "Mr. Dugan died of an overdose of alcohol and aspirin and ruled that his death was a suicide."

    Didn't know you could rule on your own death like that ...
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Ryan Sonner can.
  12. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    If they're going to go after someone for violating the rules of his church he'd better be damn prominent. Jimmy Swaggart prominent. Otherwise, leave that crap to the church newsletter.
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