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Monday, February 7, 2011
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Videotaped Stings
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has been dutifully promoting the hoax videos of Lila Rose attempting to entrap Planned Parenthood -- even deceiving to do so. But apparenyly only conservatives are allowed to do undercover sting operations.

A Feb. 3 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock complains:

ABC and reporter John Quinones on Thursday stretched the bounds of journalism, hiring an actor to play a racist security guard as a way of testing how the people of Arizona would react to the state's "anti-immigration law."

Previewing the network's "What Would You Do?" segment for Friday's 20/20, Quinones explained the undercover concept: "So, I go undercover, pretending to be someone who is about to be arrested and deported, simply by the way I look."

The piece featured a cartoonish "security guard" harassing Mexican actors in Tucson, Arizona. Presumably, ABC chose a security guard because impersonating a police officer is illegal. The actor walked into a restaurant and spewed, "I'm just looking to make sure these guys are legal citizens. And if they're not legal citizens, they shouldn't be here. They should be deported. They look Mexican."

Of course, having this man pretend to be a security guard really makes no sense. (A security guard is going to deport people?) Secondly, for journalists that often attack conservative sting operations, it's rather odd to see ABC manipulate such a scenario.

The Radio, Television and Digital News Association ethics guide states: "Use surreptitious newsgathering techniques, including hidden cameras or microphones, only if there is no other way to obtain stories of significant public importance and only if the technique is explained to the audience." Was this the only way ABC could do such a story?

Given the MRC's enthusiasm for Rose's bogus sting operation, it's utterly hypocritical for Whitlock to complain about ABC doing something similar.

Will Whitlock apply those same RTDNA standards to Lila Rose? Probably not.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011 2:50 AM EST

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