Do you think documentaries should be allowed to take sides?

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I really like Michael Moore's documentaries, at least the four that I've seen so far. However, people I know do not like his movies and they say they don't like how he takes sides, cause it's unfair to represent one side of an issue as positive, and present other side as negative.

However, if a documentary movie just laid out the facts, without having any opinion, than it would be pretty boring with no real theme to argue. But maybe that's better cause it would then be more fair?

What do you think?



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



It depends upon the subject. But in a general sense all facts ought to be presented. Otherwise the film is just a piece of advocacy trying to acquire adherents.

Not too sure about the word "allowed". But it seems to me that documentaries should have the expectation of truth seeking.



Captain Steel's Avatar
"Lois, I never lie."
I kind of hate to admit this because I don't like the radical extremes Moore seems to have embraced in more recent years, but I used to like a series he had called TV Nation - I even bought the set on VHS (ended up selling them on eBay)!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_Nation

It was kind of a debunking, questioning authority, consumer protection show.

It's themes reminded me a little of the current "Adam Ruins Everything" series where he debunks fallacies and corrects misconceptions (which I also like).



Allowed? Of course. It's free speech.

And people should be allowed to point out when they're biased. Which they often are, being made by people and all.

My concern is more with the people who watch them and assume that because something is a documentary, they can simply accept how it frames the issue, rather than taking it upon themselves to seek out contradictions and challenges to it, like you would/should with any argument. Because most documentaries are, indeed, arguments, and ones that use editing and music and a lot of emotional triggers to make things seem simpler than they are, particularly be excluding counterarguments.
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All documentaries have a point of view, just as all movies do.
Yup, very true.

...My concern is more with the people who watch them and assume that because something is a documentary, they can simply accept how it frames the issue, rather than taking it upon themselves to seek out contradictions and challenges to it, like you would/should with any argument...
Agreed. Orson Welles was concerned about the same thing, only then the medium was popular radio news programs. Reportedly he did the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast so as to teach people 'a lesson' about not taking everything they heard on the radio as literally truth.



Captain Steel's Avatar
"Lois, I never lie."
Yup, very true.

Agreed. Orson Welles was concerned about the same thing, only then the medium was popular radio news programs. Reportedly he did the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast so as to teach people 'a lesson' about not taking everything they heard on the radio as literally truth.
Hmm... did Orson set out to teach people a lesson, or was he just trying to put on a show?

Did he assume people would think it was real?

I know he strove for realism, but that could just be the mark of a masterful artist.

My question: did he intend to fool people or just make a very believable sounding production?

I've studied the incident, but never really considered this question.



Hmm... did Orson set out to teach people a lesson, or was he just trying to put on a show?

Did he assume people would think it was real?

I know he strove for realism, but that could just be the mark of a masterful artist.

My question: did he intend to fool people or just make a very believable sounding production?

I've studied the incident, but never really considered this question.
I heard that in a documentary on the Citizen Kane DVD which is kind of ironic if you think about it According to the documentary Orson knew exactly what he was doing with his radio broadcast, despite the fact he later claimed it was only a Halloween radio show meant for entertainment. He reduced the number of station identification breaks, actually I think they never did one during the show which was a break from the usual procedure and he did the show like it was a live on the scene breaking news cast. Reportedly that was done so that he could show people just how damn gullible they could be.

And of course like you said he was putting on a grand show too, that was his trademark...In theater he had done an all black cast in a rebooting of Macbeth called Vodoo Macbeth. And he had done an updated version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar with fascist type's taking the role as Romans in the stage play Caesar So yeah he was all about breaking new ground and in a grandiose way. And he did those plays before he was 21, OMG!



Captain Steel's Avatar
"Lois, I never lie."
I heard that in a documentary on the Citizen Kane DVD which is kind of ironic if you think about it According to the documentary Orson knew exactly what he was doing with his radio broadcast, despite the fact he later claimed it was only a Halloween radio show meant for entertainment. He reduced the number of station identification breaks, actually I think they never did one during the show which was a break from the usual procedure and he did the show like it was a live on the scene breaking news cast. Reportedly that was done so that he could show people just how damn gullible they could be.

And of course like you said he was putting on a grand show too, that was his trademark...In theater he had done an all black cast in a rebooting of Macbeth called Vodoo Macbeth. And he had done an updated version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar with fascist type's taking the role as Romans in the stage play Caesar So yeah he was all about breaking new ground and in a grandiose way. And he did those plays before he was 21, OMG!
Ah, that was the detail I was looking for - if he intentionally reduced the station identification breaks. I had heard they'd been reduced, which led to more people tuning in for longer periods of time without hearing a break that would have announced what they were listening to (such preemption usually would only happen for a special news report or emergency)!



Of course they can take a side, although arguably a documentary that’s so obviously biased can be just as dull as one that’s completely objective. The documentary should give a balance of facts but obviously something has drawn them to make a documentary.
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