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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on "injustice porn"?

    I haven't watched the documentary. I'll say that up front. But within days of it going viral, I noticed that some of my coworkers, all male and youngish, seemed to be really enjoying being outraged on behalf of Steven Avery. It was a little unsettling, and I've been grappling with why this has been bothering me. I didn't know the case beforehand, so it's not because I already thought he was guilty.

    I was looking at Ann Brocklehurst's blog tonight. She's a journalist who covers a case I do follow (accused triple murderer Dellen Millard), so her links are considered "kosher" on WS. Anyway, she's posted an opinion piece that puts into words these disquieting feelings I've been having about these "trial by Internet" cases. Just curious what others think.

    http://www.annrbrocklehurst.com/2016...use-women.html

    I'm sorry for the inevitable gender stuff this brings up, but the very first thing I noticed about this whole thing was how excitedly angry my younger male coworkers are. In any case, interested in others' thoughts, as I'm still trying to figure out if this kind of doc is a good thing or a bad thing, at least when it comes with this level of hype. Obviously it's a very good thing for Netflix.
    Last edited by shadowraiths; 01-11-2016 at 10:42 PM. Reason: fixed title
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  2. #2
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    I have been wondering about the real benefit of this type of documentary lately as well. I binge-watched it as soon as it was available, recognizing that it was not unbiased.

    My internal conflict (for lack of better word) with popular "injustice porn" kicked into high gear when I watched Following the Friedman's (I think that's the title). It was directed and released in 2003 by Andrew Jarecki and is readily available on YouTube. One of the guys that pled guilty was using it to try and gain momentum for exoneration. It is was a powerful piece. There is also a 10 min response video made by the original defense attorneys discussing key facts that were completely omitted from the documentary since it was incriminating. It really irked me.

    I mention this because my concern is that I believe in the need for integrity in our criminal justice system. Corruption, unfortunately, occurs. Exoneration through appellate courts is part of the checks and balances set up to fix injustices as a result of corruption, etc. If the appeals process becomes corrupted then we lose that built in safeguard. Mostly though, if a popular documentary ends up being picked apart and the person ends up being actually guilty then it may cast an even deeper shadow on people that go through the appeals process and are exonerated. They already have a tough road with many people assuming that they are guilty regardless.

    I feel like omitting key facts or making it too biased is irresponsible and may possibly bring the public to doubt all exonerees or convicts that are actually innocent* and still fighting. By not disclosing or even addressing information that may not be favorable to the subject it makes one wonder why they need to hide.

    *I recognize that the appellate process does not address actual innocence

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArianeEmory View Post
    I haven't watched the documentary. I'll say that up front. But within days of it going viral, I noticed that some of my coworkers, all male and youngish, seemed to be really enjoying being outraged on behalf of Steven Avery. It was a little unsettling, and I've been grappling with why this has been bothering me. I didn't know the case beforehand, so it's not because I already thought he was guilty.

    I was looking at Ann Brocklehurst's blog tonight. She's a journalist who covers a case I do follow (accused triple murderer Dellen Millard), so her links are considered "kosher" on WS. Anyway, she's posted an opinion piece that puts into words these disquieting feelings I've been having about these "trial by Internet" cases. Just curious what others think.

    http://www.annrbrocklehurst.com/2016...use-women.html

    I'm sorry for the inevitable gender stuff this brings up, but the very first thing I noticed about this whole thing was how excitedly angry my younger male coworkers are. In any case, interested in others' thoughts, as I'm still trying to figure out if this kind of doc is a good thing or a bad thing, at least when it comes with this level of hype. Obviously it's a very good thing for Netflix.
    Not keen on her description of Steven Avery as having fetal alcohol syndrome and linking his brother's offences as a strike against SA. I don't pretend to know whether SA is guilty or not, but she obviously doesn't care, he's just another hillbilly who deserves to be out of sight, as well as his family.

    She asks the same questions as everyone else too, the 67* calls and SA asking for TH. Nothing groundbreaking.

    I don't like her style at all, jmo.

  4. #4
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    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moxie Vi View Post
    I have been wondering about the real benefit of this type of documentary lately as well. I binge-watched it as soon as it was available, recognizing that it was not unbiased.

    My internal conflict (for lack of better word) with popular "injustice porn" kicked into high gear when I watched Following the Friedman's (I think that's the title). It was directed and released in 2003 by Andrew Jarecki and is readily available on YouTube. One of the guys that pled guilty was using it to try and gain momentum for exoneration. It is was a powerful piece. There is also a 10 min response video made by the original defense attorneys discussing key facts that were completely omitted from the documentary since it was incriminating. It really irked me.

    I mention this because my concern is that I believe in the need for integrity in our criminal justice system. Corruption, unfortunately, occurs. Exoneration through appellate courts is part of the checks and balances set up to fix injustices as a result of corruption, etc. If the appeals process becomes corrupted then we lose that built in safeguard. Mostly though, if a popular documentary ends up being picked apart and the person ends up being actually guilty then it may cast an even deeper shadow on people that go through the appeals process and are exonerated. They already have a tough road with many people assuming that they are guilty regardless.

    I feel like omitting key facts or making it too biased is irresponsible and may possibly bring the public to doubt all exonerees or convicts that are actually innocent* and still fighting. By not disclosing or even addressing information that may not be favorable to the subject it makes one wonder why they need to hide.

    *I recognize that the appellate process does not address actual innocence

    Sent from my Nexus 5X
    Capturing the Friedman's, actually.

    I am aware of that case from a different pov. I was admittedly quite disgusted with regard to the slant that attempted to make these people victims of an overzealous legal system. Then again, I was aware of and had researched that case quite extensively well before the show had even become an idea in Jarecki's mind.

    I do think Jesse was abused as a child, which, in this particular case, put him squarely at risk to become an abuser. And not due to the debunked cycle of abuse theory, rather, the fact that Arnold, the pedophile father, still exercised control over this young man's life. I am not saying this excuses his behavior but I do think it explains it.

    But that is a sad story for another day.

    In any event, I guess that is why I tend to view these sorts of docuseries with a grain of salt, sprinkled with as much research as I can find. There are glaring problems in both cases. And those are what I am more interested in and tend to focus upon. In the Friedman case, I felt more forgiving toward Jesse, than did my colleagues. In this case, I feel more forgiving toward Brendan. In both, the adults (i.e., Arnold & SA) innocence or guilt, only mattered to the degree of "did they receive a fair trial."

    Brendan's interrogation tapes is what drew me to this particular case. While I am still reading his court transcripts (I keep getting distracted with real life, darn it!), I find the interviews to be quite troubling, and an area we, as a nation, sorely needs to address.



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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimeSuspect View Post
    Not keen on her description of Steven Avery as having fetal alcohol syndrome and linking his brother's offences as a strike against SA. I don't pretend to know whether SA is guilty or not, but she obviously doesn't care, he's just another hillbilly who deserves to be out of sight, as well as his family.

    She asks the same questions as everyone else too, the 67* calls and SA asking for TH. Nothing groundbreaking.

    I don't like her style at all, jmo.
    Seems like you're nitpicking the smaller details because you don't want to acknowledge the bigger problem she's addressing.

  6. #6
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    Shadowraiths~

    I also feel that Jesse was a victim and that if his confession was the truth that the root cause was his father's abuse and control of him.

    I also think that the interrogations with BD were too suggestive given his age & IQ, etc.

    My issue is with the filmmakers because they intentionally omit facts and tell an incomplete story. It may incite people and cause collateral damage. I do like the fact that corruption may be less likely to occur if people are afraid their actions will publicly come to light. I'd like to not feel like documentaries have to be fact checked or researched for the complete picture.


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    "He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuther87 View Post
    Seems like you're nitpicking the smaller details because you don't want to acknowledge the bigger problem she's addressing.
    I don't know what to make of it. It's sad that she reduces the documentary that exposes the unfair criminal justice system to some kind of plot against women. Would she have the same issue if the victim were male? The irony is that the film makers are women.
    I abhor injustice. If men are watching MaM and think violence against women is acceptable, it would deeply disturb and shock me. I had no idea this was the case, even the term 'injustice porn' makes my skin crawl.

    Steve Avery is undoubtedly a despicable man who deserves to be in jail, but his nephew is a victim of circumstance.

    Is it okay to try and right a wrong? Is Brendan Dassey's life less value than of a woman, or a man of better standing/breeding? Should we mock their family because they're poor uneducated simpletons?

    Teresa Hallbach is the victim and deserves justice. When does it become agreeable that anyone will do?

    JMO

  8. #8
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    I think it's good to have a journalist go in and report on these cases; and bring things to light. We may not like how it goes, but the fact is; there are questions in both cases that need to be discussed. Juries don't always get it right; neither do judges. The journalist or filmmaker who generates discussion is not so much being disrespectful of the victim, or their family, as they are helping to insure that we're paying attention; doing the right thing. I've followed both cases; Avery and Dassey; and also Sayed. The documentary or podcast was simply a jumping off point - I certainly don't blindly make assumptions just on one source; and I hope that others do the same research as I do. I do feel horrible for the families of the victims, first and foremost; and the families of those convicted. They, too, are suffering.

  9. #9
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    I said from the very day I finished the series, that I had the feeling of being manipulated.

    I was certain there was far more to this case than what I saw. I get the point of the documentary, so it wasn't about thinking the whole point was guilt/innocence.

    But there is no denying that the perception of innocence , results in a far more emotional response to the documentary. It's outrage.

    If I knew some of the things I know now, I wouldn't have been nearly as outraged, and I'd still get the point of the documentary.

    So , on that level, I understand why they decided that not mentioning the *67 calls or brendan's bleached pants which his mother told police brendan said were used to clean steve's garage floor, or Steve using B.Janda to call Auto Trader, or the message on Barb Janda's machine from teresa saying she needed to make contact before she could stop by.

    These are all small details, all that can be explained to be innocent, etc. But together, they start to tell a story about what was suspicious about that day. That's all. No proof of murder.

    But the emotional response from the viewer changes because they are now going....hmm. that's a bit odd too! So now the viewer, while outraged, is suddenly not so certain what to think without some kind of explanation. Which can only come from Steve. Right ? They suddenly are a step closer to understanding why a juror might be conflicted. right ?

    So, they can say none of those things were important to the case or didn't change the documentary, but .. cmon. lets not lie to ourselves about how the combination of all those things, wouldn't have had an effect on the emotionally charged outrage we all felt during that series.

    Again, not saying Avery is guilty, but those details are important in terms of maintaining a maximum emotional response. So, it feels like manipulation, and I understand why they did it.

    They felt that too much suspicion about Avery would divert from the central theme of the larger systemic failings. noted.

    So the manipulation wasn't about convincing us of guilt/innocence, but manipulated to get maximum emotional reaction via leaving out the suspicious stuff about avery.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuther87 View Post
    Seems like you're nitpicking the smaller details because you don't want to acknowledge the bigger problem she's addressing.
    Seems like she is just trying to incite feminist social justice warriors to me. I don't like her style either. Why turn it into something it is not? And "Injustice Porn" ??? What the heck?


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoBeCzar View Post
    Seems like she is just trying to incite feminist social justice warriors to me. I don't like her style either. Why turn it into something it is not? And "Injustice Porn" ??? What the heck?
    Using the word 'porn' in this context is cultural shorthand for something that is being done for superficial thrills but possibly lacks merit if you dig deeper.

    e.g., for a while Game of Thrones was being described as 'torture porn'.

    Also 'competence porn': http://www.vice.com/read/the-martian...ence-porn-1002

    In short, she is implying the documentary is leveraging humans' innate tendency to get outraged about perceived injustice in order to garner buzz. Read MaxManning's post just before yours.

    I don't want to be emotionally manipulated for this sort of thing; I want the facts laid as bare and as dispassionate as possible. I don't want 'porn'.

    I am also beyond sad to see that the pejorative 'social justice warrior' has made its way to websleuths. There is nothing wrong with being a feminist.
    “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.” -- Terry Pratchett

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArianeEmory View Post
    Using the word 'porn' in this context is cultural shorthand for something that is being done for superficial thrills but possibly lacks merit if you dig deeper.

    e.g., for a while Game of Thrones was being described as 'torture porn'.

    Also 'competence porn': http://www.vice.com/read/the-martian...ence-porn-1002

    In short, she is implying the documentary is leveraging humans' innate tendency to get outraged about perceived injustice in order to garner buzz. Read MaxManning's post just before yours.

    I don't want to be emotionally manipulated for this sort of thing; I want the facts laid as bare and as dispassionate as possible. I don't want 'porn'.

    I am also beyond sad to see that the pejorative 'social justice warrior' has made its way to websleuths. There is nothing wrong with being a feminist.
    You wrote:
    In short, she is implying the documentary is leveraging humans' innate tendency to get outraged about perceived injustice in order to garner buzz. Read MaxManning's post just before yours.
    How the heck does that respond to outrage that two people, both with IQs in the 70's, are convicted on a murder when investigated by LE involved in a multimillion dollar lawsuit are convicted for a murder even though conflict of interest, questionable confession, tampered evidence, coercion, and on and on upsets people that before hand had no knowledge of this. We are talking LE abusing authority. But this lady belittles it until it becomes "perceived' injustice. Well, I think I have a better indication of what is perceived and what is real.
    And as far as feminism, yeah nothing wrong with it. That is why I qualified my response with social justice warrior feminist.
    You alerted me saying you had used this journalist before so she was ok. That is an opinion. We all have one and can make up our own minds.
    I'd recommend reading about journalism and what is required to establish fact and knowing the difference between an opinion piece. Opinion pieces may seep thru here but websleuths goes by facts, always facts.



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