Making a Murderer is not a documentary

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

29 December 2015

There are two sides to every story

One of the pleasures of having a few days off around the holidays is catching up on the television and movies I had been meaning to watch.

My son, always the Netflix enthusiast, encouraged my wife and I to watch the documentary series, Making a Murderer. His excitable review was enough to entice us to binge 11 hours in three days.

“It’s not that they are wrong, but Making a Murderer never once shows another point of view.”


Making a Murderer

Making A Murderer is one sided.

Here’s the thing, while I watched the totality of the series, I felt duped by its directors.

Making a Murderer broke a cardinal rule in presenting research (as do so many documentaries do now). Its problem was that it was made to be entertaining and not a vehicle for presenting unbiased facts. Presented research must always be without a slant. When it does, we should call it what it is. As in this particular case, a mini-series.

Making a Murderer brings up questions it can’t answer

More often than not, documentaries blur the lines between contrivance and distorted reality with hints of truth speckled in. Unfortunately, that distorted reality (the director’s take) shades our worldview. Don’t think so? Just type “Steven Avery” in Google and see the breath of biased articles and blog entries that you find. Not surprisingly, they share the same stance as the directors of Making a Murderer.

It’s not that they are wrong, but Making a Murderer never once shows another point of view.

Perhaps this is a symptom of the dumbing down of America. Daniel Patrick Moynihan seemed to think so when he stated that, “Dumbness has been steadily defined downward for several decades by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans’ rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.”

“Cast a cold eye on life.”

These words are etched on the tombstone of the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, and also serve as the final stanza to his premonitory poem, “Under Ben Bulben.” I implore you to read this great work and apply it to this paradigm.

We must cast skepticism on the ideologies presented us and demand the information given has integrity and merit, and presents all sides without a self serving agenda.

These tenants are the bedrock of why Stealing Share works. We cannot help an client grow market share unless that client is willing to look at all perspectives first. Without this, be prepared to be a ship without sail.

After all is said, Making a Murderer was interesting and troubling. Moreover, it raised questions, as it should. But those questions like “What’s the flip side to this argument?” are not the questions I should be seeking to find answers to.

See more posts in the following related categories: Documentaries Making a Murderer Netflix


  1. Phil Harrison

    I agree with Ketosis Diet’s conclusion. The so-called “documentary” presented the case for Mr. Avery and Mr. Dassey in the same way that a good defense attorney would present their cases before a judge. If you research carefully and thoroughly, you’ll learn that they left out substantial and compelling evidence that makes the “innocent” claim to be extremely questionable.

    It’s clear that the cases were mishandled in many respects. The interrogations of Mr. Dassey were particularly appalling. However, if you conclude that the system was entirely corrupt without thoroughly researching the cases, you’re doing the same thing that you’re accusing them of. You’re making judgments and conclusions based solely on a source that is biased and used unfair techniques to try to prove guilt.

  2. Mike Turner

    Interesting piece, Tom. I love the Moynihan quote, even though it is downbeat. I’ll have to look it up to see the context. I’m not 100% sure I buy your premise that a documentary must present opposing viewpoints. True, I do invest more trust in a documentary that does that, but I wouldn’t say that presenting a viewpoint without reference to opposing viewpoints disqualifies a work from being labeled a documentary. Still, you’ve given me something to ponder.


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