This should be interesting:
By this time, I’m probably not breaking any news to anybody, but I want to acknowledge that, yes, Park Cities People columnist Merritt Patterson was featured on Channel 8 on Monday night.
Investigative reporter Brett Shipp — a Highland Park High School graduate, by the way — looked into the finances of Surrogate Parenting Center of Texas, a business that Merritt closed last fall. He interviewed at least two infertile couples and at least two egg donors, all of whom had a beef with Merritt over money they say she owed them — and none of whom were named.
Since the piece aired, I’ve been inundated with demands for a response. And that’s understandable. Because if you know Merritt, then you know that if Shipp had focused his attention on any other Park Cities resident, she would have linked to his report from our blog. Remaining silent on the issue would make us look hypocritical.
But it’s not so easy to respond to something like that quickly. I wasn’t nearly as blind-sided as Merritt was, but I was taken aback just the same.
We plan to publish our own report on Surrogate Parenting Center of Texas in our Feb. 25 edition. Because he’s new here and barely knows Merritt, the story will be written by Bradford Pearson. And unlike Shipp, we will name our sources, we will give everyone involved ample time to respond, and we won’t ambush anyone with a camera as they leave home to pick up their kids.
Given the last sentence, I am curious as to how objective and complete this report will be. Moreover, by promising to “name his sources”, Mr. Keller may have created a chilling effect that will deter SPCT clients with legitimate complaints from contributing to the story out of fear of jeopardizing their anonymity with their egg donors. Additionally, if the reporter insists on not allowing confidential sources, complainants will likely refuse to cooperate so as to avoid having their infertility condition published and made known to the community at large, let alone to family members and friends who might be unaware of their medical conditions. Beyond that, egg donors and surrogates are typically prohibited under their contracts with their Intended Parents from disclosing details of their arrangements.
So if the goal is to present a fair and balanced report, then promising to “out” your sources may not be the best approach. Also, as part of his investigative report, I hope that Mr. Pearson contacts Park Cities Banks and asks them whether they freeze account funds for 45 days following stop payment requests. With respect to Patterson, Mr. Pearson should insist she explain how any surrogate or egg donor could justifiably have their payments delayed by months if the money was deposited into a segregated trust account for their benefit.
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