There is reason to resist, and not just because the shows are more hype than anything else. Some excerpts from an Associated Press report about a sting gone awry in Murphy, Texas:
"Dateline" works with an activist group called Perverted Justice, which supplies adults who troll Internet chat rooms, posing as underage boys and girls, and try to collect incriminating sex talk.
City manager Craig Sherwood approved such an operation in this well- to-do community of 11,000 after being approached by "Dateline" and Perverted Justice, but he never informed the mayor or the City Council. He said secrecy was necessary for the sting to be effective.
Over four days in November, 24 men were arrested at a two-story home in one of Murphy's newer neighborhoods after allegedly arranging to meet boys or girls there.
Some other suspects contacted Perverted Justice decoys online but never showed up at the house. Among them was Louis Conradt Jr., an assistant prosecutor from neighboring Kauffman County, who allegedly engaged in a sexually explicit online chat with an adult posing as a 13-year-old boy.
As police knocked at his door and a "Dateline" camera crew waited in the street, Conradt shot himself. ...
last month, Collin County District Attorney John Roach dropped all charges. He said that in 16 of the cases, he had no jurisdiction, since neither the suspects nor the decoys were in the county during the online chats.
As for the rest of the cases, he said neither police nor NBC could guarantee the chat logs were authentic and complete. ...
Two weeks ago, the City Council voted to buy out the city manager's contract for $255,000.
NBC's Chris Hansen said Murphy is the only place the show has encountered such resistance.
"I don't want to get involved in the DA's business or the police business," he said. "I can tell you in the other locations, these issues did not come up."