Did Dateline Producer Go Too Far?

By Brian 

On Public Eye today, Vaughn Ververs reacts to reports that a Dateline NBC producer begged two governors to grant a convicted criminal a death penalty waiver so that he could help crack several murder cases.

(Why am I writing you to beg you take up this effort? Because it’s the right thing to do. … But I am certain Dateline NBC would give substantial coverage to the solving of these three cold case murders tied to a serial killer, and the essential roles played by the Governors of Texas and Florida,” producer Shane Bishop wrote.)

“NBC spokesperson Jenny Tartikoff is quoted in the story as saying Bishop wrote the letter on his own, not on behalf of ‘Dateline.’ Still, the hint of ‘substantial coverage’ of the cases, and especially the emphasis on the ‘special roles played’ by the governors in solving these murders shows just how far journalists are sometimes tempted to go to get a story. To me, Bishop clearly went way too far in this case, what do you think?”

A commenter on PE agrees. “Shouldn’t this be pursued by prosecutors and attorneys general of the respective states? I was always under the impression that the journalist (or, in this case, the producer) should tell the story and not insert themselves in it.” More…