Why is it that the people who often find their way into positions that allow them to loudly and publicly condemn others are often secretly involved in the activities they are condemning?
Take Mark Foley, the head of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, who gave fiery speeches calling for tougher laws to protect children from internet predators, but who was actually using instant messaging to set up dates with underage congressional pages.
Or Ted Haggard, the preacher of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, who frequently proclaimed the evils of a homosexual lifestyle from the pulpit, while carrying on a series of methamphetamine-fueled trysts with a gay prostitute.
Both of these men worked very hard to achieve highly successful careers that allowed them to talk about, think about, and obsess about something in themselves that they were trying to keep hidden from public view. Their public scorn for their own secret behavior allowed them each to live out a hypocritical lie, until each was eventually discovered.
So what does this suggest about NBC Dateline’s Chris Hansen? As a correspondent for NBC for 14 years, Hansen has recently become a household name as host of the popular “To Catch a Predator” series, where he moves from town to town luring potential sexual predators to houses where they are arrested - but not before he can shame them in front of his camera crew!
Now let me be clear - I have no problem with a carefully run police sting operation designed to arrest these people.
But why does it have to be done with the sanctimonious Hansen and his camera crew crouching behind the drapes, and then running out to show everyone in America how much these alleged predators look like their friends and neighbors?
It’s bad enough that we are being conditioned to suspect anyone who looks different from us, or doesn’t share our religious beliefs, of being a potential terrorist. Do we need to fear that our co-workers, schoolmates, neighbors, and even relatives, are sexual predators too?
Of course we don’t want our children exposed to real predators! So, by all means, catch those individuals and prosecute them to the full extent of the law!
But don’t turn the process into a TV reality show, so that the same people who secretly dream of becoming an “American Idol,” or of “Dancing With the Stars,” can secretly dream of watching their neighbor being frog-marched to jail!
And please give Chris Hansen something else to obsess over for a while! I’m really starting to wonder about that guy!