Why Documentaries Lie

The Cracked Podcast #68 March 30, 2015

Anthropomorphic goatee and director of ‘The Jinx’ Andrew Jarecki has recently taken criticism from many sides regarding the ending of his documentary series. Some condemn the way he sat on critical evidence and withheld it from the police, while others criticize how he inserts himself into the story of ‘The Jinx’ and how its final episode fraudulently plays with chronology. But if Robert Durst goes to prison, do the ends justify the means?

Other popular documentaries have an even less legitimate relationship with the truth. Morgan Spurlock’s results from ‘Super Size Me’ haven’t been able to be replicated; ‘Searching for Sugarman’ conveniently leaves out that Rodriguez knew he was world famous in a number of other countries; and ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ is basically pure propaganda, yet their entertainment value is undeniable and carries weight despite these criticisms.

This week on the podcast, Jack O’Brien is joined by editors Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) and Josh Sargent to talk about the recent documentary boom and some of the genre’s most popular entries from the last 10 years. They have a spoiler-filled discussion about ‘Serial’ and ‘The Jinx’, talk through the tricks documentarians use to manipulate truth, and whether their ultimate obligation should be to honesty or entertainment.

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