JonBenet Reflective Essay

The JonBenet Ramsey documentary definitely caught my eyes as well as nearly all sets of eyes in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean everything is valid or credible, which is why I watch with popcorn and a side of skepticism.

First and foremost, the sources they use appear to be credible, which is why the documentary is so popular. For example, among their stars, or investigators, are James Kolar, Dr. Henry Lee, and Dr. Werner Spitz, all of which are well known leaders. They also bring in the original 9-1-1 operator, which, as you can see, really gives the documentary a credible aura.

Along with these sources, their apparent credible is further supported as the documentary takes place in the “war room”, which is the main investigative room. This is where all the paper, evidence, and whiteboards are located, as well as where hours upon hours of critical analyzation of evidence takes place. When viewing the documentary, the audiences gets a “Law & Order” or “CSI” type of feel, which makes everything seem real.

Credibility is also stressed as they bring the original 9-1-1 operator from the tragic event onto the documentary. After replaying the phone call to her, she says “something wasn’t right” with the phone call, and that it seemed “rehearsed”. As an audience, we really have no choice but to believe this as she was the person who handled the phone call. She also says “something wasn’t right” with the phone call, and that it seemed “rehearsed”.

About the actual sources, we’ll start with Dr. Henry Lee. Lee is a well-known forensic scientist. Along with receiving degrees from extremely prestigious schools in John Jay College and New York University, Lee also as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety. Similar to Lee, Dr. Werner Spitz is also a well-known forensic scientist, however, Spitz has a little more experience under his belt. Spitz has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including the investigations of Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy. He also testified in other highly-controversial trials such as the trial of Casey Anthony and the infamous O.J. Simpson trial. These two scientists, as you can see, are extremely credible sources that give viewers nearly no choice but to trust them, no matter how bizarre a theory or idea may be.

For example, at one point they review the ransom note. This is a very intense segment as they find out out that 76% of the ransom note matches another Hollywood ransom note. They also mention how the word “business” was misspelled as “bussiness”. They then speculate that this was on purpose in an attempt to make it appear that the composer of the ransom note, or killer, was someone not native to America or someone that doesn’t speak very good English. This seems bizarre, but due to the the background of the investigators, we as an audience really have no choice but to buy into the speculation.

Overall, this documentary is very interesting, but it definitely has a “movie-like” feel to it. This is because of the re-enactments of scenarios. This documentary has my attention, however, I am skeptical and not sure how serious I am taking all of the evidence and speculation that is mentioned as true, or at least fully true. I know that the main goal is revenue, so speculation and suspense is added to increase viewership, which ultimately increases revenue.


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