Friday, 6 May 2016

Why Are We Still Re-Hashing the Same Making a Murderer Questions?

Some of you may recognise the name Tom Kertscher from the wildly popular Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. At the time of Steven Avery's trial, Kertscher covered the events as they unfolded. These days, he's still reporting, and most recently, Kertscher did an interview of sorts with three other journalists who also covered the trial: Colleen Henry, Aaron Keller and Dan O'Donnell. Henry and Keller answered their questions very diplomatically. Dan O'Donnell... not so much. 

The question was asked: Do you think Avery was guilty?

There is not a person in the world who knows whether Steven Avery is absolutely guilty aside from Avery himself - and the person or persons who may have really killed Teresa Halbach. For O'Donnell to outright say, "Absolutely" in answer to that question is - to my mind - further proof that the media in Wisconsin was and still is biased against the Averys.

I truly don't blame the people of Wisconsin for believing Steven Avery was guilty at the time of the trial. They were told over and over about the "proof" of his guilt and when so much was obviously against him, of course people believed it. But surely, with the magic of hindsight, should there not have been a slight shift of attitude and opinion by now? 

The other thing that troubled me was the extreme arrogance of O'Donnell's last answer. (Seriously, read the link above, it'll blow your mind!) But more worrying than the assumption that the people who watched Making a Murderer didn't do their own research to form their opinions was that he said MaM doesn't really expose flaws in the justice system.

Well, excuse me, but: 

You only have to take a look around to see that the flaws in the criminal justice system are being pointed out all over the place and because of Making a Murderer, people are listening. 

The thing that makes me saddest about Kertscher's interview is that it keeps the focus on the wrong thing. The documentary has been in the world since last December. Yes, Steven Avery MIGHT be guilty. Or he might not. Right now, it's Kathleen Zellner's job to worry about Avery. At this point, people have reached their verdicts and continuing to only ask whether Avery is guilty does a huge disservice to Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi's work. (Not in any way saying his guilt or innocence isn't important, it is, but the only people who can help him are already working on it. I'm just saying Steven Avery is not what MaM was all about). Just because Making a Murderer was centred around this one case does not mean it doesn't expose wider issues with the criminal justice system. People are interested now. They are learning now. They are trying to find a way to help now. If that isn't proof that Making a Murderer has made a difference, I don't know what is. 


  1. It's sad that Brendan Dassey is so much of an afterthought if he's even that. Ask people if they think Brendan is guilty and you tend to get a much different answer, even in Wisconsin.

  2. It's sad that Brendan Dassey is so much of an afterthought if he's even that. Ask people if they think Brendan is guilty and you tend to get a much different answer, even in Wisconsin.

  3. Dan O'Donnell is a fruitcake. He was part and parcel of the corrupt system in which he played a significant role in bringing Ken Kratz case to the media for trial without giving Avery and Dassey their due process. What else is he going to say now without having to feel bad besides being man enough having to admit wrong? I can't believe he graduated from law school. Can you?

  4. @Daniel - It's funny you said this as I was thinking about Brendan while I wrote this. He's not an afterthought for me - in fact, most times he is my first thought. But in this case, I wanted to keep focus on the interview. I do agree with you entirely on all points though!

  5. @Shan That is my favourite quote of the day! And again, I have to agree with you on all points!