Did you see any of the endless Dateline series where sexual predators show up to meet their teen Internet love interests only to be surprised to find themselves on way too candid camera?

Did you lie awake at night worrying about…the rights of the predators? Or whether it was fair to have cops waiting outside to arrest the scumbags after the TV confrontation?

That’s the sort of thing a writer for Columbia Journalism Review worries about: 

“The police busts are the emotional capper to the encounter, one that highlights the show’s uncomfortably close affiliation with law enforcement. On the first two ‘Predator’ stings, the show didn’t involve arrests, an omission that garnered complaints from viewers and cops alike. Though certain individuals from the initial episodes were subsequently prosecuted, the lack of police involvement from the outset made it hard to make cases that would stick. ‘The number one complaint from viewers was that we let them walk out,’ says Keller. Starting with the third show and in the five subsequent stings, police were waiting to take down the suspects. In our interview and in his congressional testimony, [on-air reporter Chris] Hansen is careful to refer to those arrests as ‘parallel’ police investigations, as if they just happened to be running down the same track as Dateline, but the close cooperation is always evident. At a time when reporters are struggling to keep law enforcement from encroaching on newsgathering, Dateline, which is part of NBC’s news division, is inviting them in the front door — literally. Hansen tried to deflect this criticism of the show by saying that the volunteers from Perverted Justice serve as a ‘Chinese wall’ between the news people at Dateline and the police.

“But as we’ve learned from recent corporate scandals, such Chinese walls are often made of pretty thin tissue. In the case of ‘To Catch a Predator,’ Perverted Justice does most of the groundwork preparing the shows and roping in the men. Initially, Dateline‘s responsibility was to cover the group’s expenses, procure the house and outfit it with hidden cameras and, of course, supply Chris Hansen and airtime. However, after the third successful ‘Predator’ show, Perverted Justice hired an agent and auctioned its services to several networks. NBC ended up retaining the group for a fee reported in The Washington Post and elsewhere to be between $100,000 and $150,000.”

Just as long as they put them away, I say.