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NBC STANDS BY CONTROVERSIAL “DATELINE” FEATURE ABOUT DETROIT

April 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

NBC has rejected complaints from the Detroit chapter of the National Assn. of Black Journalists and several community activists that it presented an unbalanced and sensationalized portrait of the city on a recent Dateline program. “NBC News is proud of Dateline‘s recent hour about Detroit, ‘America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope,’ reported on by Detroit-area native Chris Hansen,” the network said in a statement Monday. “We believe our broadcast fairly represented the current situation in Detroit while highlighting positive efforts and the inspirational stories of those in the community.” The statement was issued following a meeting with the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, executive director of the Detroit Assn. of Black Organizations, and his daughter, Mary Sheffield, who voiced their complaints about the program to its producers and NBC News officials. Following the meeting Hansen taped an interview with Sheffield that was posted on the Dateline website in which Sheffield said that the meeting had “opened up a dialogue” between Detroit community groups working to rebuild the city’s image and NBC News. However, his own statement seemed to underscore the difficulties that the groups face. “NBC attempted to convince us that the sheer volume of emails, faxes and other telecommunications was overwhelmingly in support of the Dateline production about Detroit,” he said. “However, those communications are not coming from the people of Detroit, many of whom do not even own a computer.”