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‘Making a Murderer’ Filmmakers: Doc Is Not ‘Advocacy Journalism’

TCA 2016: Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi defend their objectivity and omitting evidence from Netflix hit

Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi do not consider their hit Netflix docuseries “Making a Murderer” an example of “advocacy journalism,” nor do they feel obligated to justify why evidence that unearthed since the documentary aired was left out.

“We do not consider this advocacy journalism in the least,” said Demos during the show’s panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “We are not taking sides. If anything this is a social justice documentary. We chose Steven Avery because we thought his experiences offered a window into the system. We don’t have a stake in his character, his innocence or guilt, that was not the question we were raising.”

The two directors also remained adamant that they did not deliberately leave out biographical details from Avery’s life in order to characterize him in a certain way.

“It would have been impossible for us to include every piece of evidence submitted or attempted to submitted to the court,” said Ricciardi. “We took our cues from prosecution, what they thought was the most compelling evidence. Of course we left out evidence, there would have been no other way to do it. We were not putting on a trial with the film. The question is, of what was ommited, was that really significant? And the answer is no.”

In particular, the two denied deliberately leaving out allegations of domestic abuse against Avery from former girlfriends, including Jodi Stachowski, who was featured prominently on the series.

“How is any of that relevant to this individual’s right to a fair trial?” asked Ricciardi when pressed on why the domestic abuse allegations were left out of the doc.

Both filmmakers all but admitted to justice not being served in the Avery case.

“My main takeaway is that each and every one of us is entitled to justice,” said Ricciardi. “Each and every accused, despite how they’ve been characterized or demonized, is entitled to justice.”

“What we document in this series is a long list of irrregularities,” said Demos. “If I was accused of a crime, this is not how I would want to be treated. The level of pre-trial publicity, the fact that there was a department who said it would not be involved because of conflict of interest, and then they were. And I’m supposed to trust that evidence? I think there are so many questions about the reliability of this prosecution. It’s hard to rely on these verdicts.”

The filmmakers have also began working on potential new episodes, and said they will follow significant developments in the case in the future.