But let’s be clear: this is no Eliot Spitzer or David Vitter case where their public roles or positions were in direct conflict with their private conduct. No, this was just a guy who has been tirelessly exposing bad guys, sometimes placing himself in harm’s way to do so, allegedly getting caught cheating on his wife. Does that make him a “bad guy”? Well it makes him a bad husband; but this is not remotely comparable to the sleazebags and dangerous practices he has exposed. If he were simply exposing cheating husbands, I would agree that this was a clean hit. But that is not what he covered.
Chris Hansen is everything I want in a reporter: tough, unafraid and willing to to do the sort of undercover investigations that are all too rare these days. He doesn’t just investigate online perverts either. He has uncovered counterfeit drug rings, child sex traffickers, international identity theft and even exposed a group with ties to Al Qaeda attempting to buy missiles with nuclear components from American citizens.
For whatever it’s worth, he has also long been viewed as one of the few “good guys” in the business. I didn’t get to know Chris that well during my tenure at NBC, but I know that he is one of those rare souls who never let his fame (or infamy) get to his head.