New Kids On the Block singer and Wahlburgers star Donnie Wahlberg has penned an editorial about Making A Murderer for the Chicago Sun-Times. What a genius idea, right? And hoo boy, is it ever a doozy. The format, “how this one thing you’ve heard of is actually a lot like this other thing you’ve heard of,” has been a mainstay of hot take columns for years. The only difference these days is that we’re outsourcing them to celebrities. First it was Josh Gad comparing the legacies of Mike Nichols and Bill Cosby (spoiler alert: one was tarnished). Today, it’s D-Wahl, comparing Steven Avery to… O.J. Simpson.
Whaaat!? But how are those people the same? The answer may shock you! Donnie Wahlberg brings it on home, with a mastery of both comparison and logic.
Like most of America, I did some binge watching of “Making a Murderer” this weekend. And, like most Americans, I followed that up with some binge reading, thinking and debating about it (mostly debating).
At first I was like, “wait, most Americans are binge reading? That doesn’t sound like us.” Then I realized, “Oh wait, he means blogs.”
But, unlike most Americans…
Donnie Wahlberg is just like you… until he’s not. DUNT DUNT DUNNNN…
I can’t help but be surprised by almost every reasonable person’s knee-jerk rush to judgment — in response to the police’s alleged rush to judgment — in the Steven Avery case. The public’s intense passion surrounding this case has an all-too-familiar feeling, but with a very unfamiliar, and rather ironic, public outcry. Let me explain …
Yes, Donnie, go on. If anyone is qualified to unpack Donnie Wahlberg’s clunky sentences, it’s Donnie Wahlberg.
Wahlberg then goes on to outline some of the Avery case.
If you assume this sounds like a quick rundown of the facts in the Steven Avery murder case, featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” you would be correct.
It is also a quick rundown of the facts in the O.J. Simpson murder case.
Yes! That O.J. Simpson murder case.
OH SNAP. Clearly we are dealing with a man who is supremely confident in his ability to create suspense using one-word paragraphs here.
Have you noticed that every time a dumb person has a thought they think is clever they assume that it’s “ironic?” To Donnie Wahlberg, I think the word “ironic” basically just means “I’m slyly raising one eyebrow right now.”
Here are some more ironies to consider:
In “Making a Murderer,” the police are made to look like “evil” men by the defense. Just like Johnny Cochran argued about the cops in the O.J. case. But did the Manitowoc officers ever show anything in their history that would make us think that they were any more evil than Detective Mark Fuhrman was in the O.J. trial?
Well, there was that whole falsely convicting a guy of rape and then willfully ignoring evidence of his innocence while he rotted in prison for 18 years, but other than that, no, nothing in their history that would make us think they were evil in any way.
Then there’s the “key” piece of evidence, which was found by the “evil” cops in both cases. The evil cops in the Avery case randomly found a “key” (the victim’s car key) in Steven Avery’s bedroom, which the defense claimed was planted by the police (it may have been). Meanwhile, the evil cop (Fuhrman) in the O.J. case, was the same cop who found the infamous “bloody glove” outside of O.J.’s house (a glove that he “found” after he illegally climbed the wall to O.J.’s property without a warrant). Again, the defense claims it was planted (it may well have been).
So you see, in both cases, sketchy cops were alleged to have planted evidence in high-profile cases. And twice in 20 years! Oh the irony!
Then there is the EDTA blood testing done by the FBI. A testing method that has been allowed to be used in only two cases in the last 20 years.
Can you guess which two cases?
Hmmm, The People Vs. Larry Flynt? Batman V. Superman? Give me a hint here.
Yup, the O.J. case and the Steven Avery case.
DAMN I WAS SO CLOSE!
There is one last irony that these two controversial, and compelling, cases share: We were allowed to watch both of them play out on TV. And boy, did we! We not only watched them, we obsessed over them.
Forget the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, I want to know what’s going on over at the Sun-Times. Did anyone edit this? They just let the boy band guy puke some words out with no oversight and left their names at the top? That seems like a really chill publication.
But were we really, actually, ever allowed to watch them? All of them?
Actually, we were not.
Okay, but what about figuratively? Were we figuratively allowed to watch them? Proverbially? Essentially? FIND ME THE CORRECT ADVERB, WAHLBERG!
In the O.J. trial, nothing was withheld from viewers.
We heard both sides infamously give their colorful arguments, going over every single piece of evidence that we could possibly digest.
Sure, they infamously gave their colorful arguments, but did they really, actually give their colorful arguments? The answer could fill you with irony.
But in the Steven Avery trial, we really only heard one side of the story. The side that served the shows [sic] narrative (and the defense’s theory), that the police framed an innocent man.
I’m pretty sure I saw lots of footage of the prosecution’s case in Making A Murderer, but let’s see where he’s going with this.
It seems the show’s apparent goal was for the audience to believe that the police, in a rush to judgment, “created” a murderer in Steven Avery (hence the title of the series).
But one can’t help but wonder if it is the producers — and now the viewers — of the series, who are actually the ones doing the “creating.”
By creating a martyr of Steven Avery.
DAMN, SON. You always know he’s leading up to a damning one-sentence paragraph, the most self-satisfied of paragraphs. This is truly written like a guy who cut his teeth on Boston-area sports columns.
Before rushing out to join the hundreds of thousands signing petitions and demanding that the president pardon Mr. Avery (which is not possible unless it were a federal case), take a look at some more of the many compelling, inflammatory and very incriminating facts. Facts that have surfaced in the press recently. Facts that the producers of “Making a Murderer” failed to share with the audience. Facts that present a very different picture of who Steven Avery is:
1. The documentary said that Avery’s criminal past included animal cruelty. Specifically, he doused a cat with kerosene and set it ablaze in a bonfire. (The same fate that the victim in his case allegedly suffered).
“Here are some facts that the producers of Making A Murderer failed to share. Number one is this thing I learned from watching Making A Murderer…”
Most experts will tell you that this behavior is a precursor to later, more violent, acts.
Sorry, I’m going to need to know which experts you’ve been discussing this with, Donnie Wahlberg. Did you mean real experts you’ve talked to in real life, or characters on Law and Order?
Some would also suggest that burning a cat to death is a crime worthy of a life sentence in prison, as well.
Bro, don’t give us that “some” sh*t, we know it was your wife, Jenny McCarthy.
2. Avery’s past criminal activity also included threatening a female relative at gunpoint.
3. In the months leading up to Ms. Halbach’s disappearance, Avery had called Auto Trader magazine several times and always specifically requested the victim, Ms. Halbach, to come out to his home and take the photos.
4. Ms. Halbach had complained to her boss that she didn’t want to go out to Avery’s trailer anymore, because once when she went out, Avery was waiting for her wearing only a towel. Avery clearly had an obsession with Ms. Halbach.
5. On the day that Ms. Halbach went missing, Avery had called her three times, twice from a *67 number to hide his identity.
6. The bullet with Halbach’s DNA on it came from Avery’s gun, which always hung above his bed.
7. Avery had purchased handcuffs and leg irons (like the ones co-defendant Brendan Dassey described were holding Halbach) only three weeks before the murder.
8. In Brendan Dassey’s illegally obtained statement, Dassey stated that he helped Avery move the RAV4 into the junkyard, and that Avery had lifted the hood and removed the battery cable.
Even if you believe that the blood in Halbach’s car was planted by the cops, there was also non-blood DNA evidence on the hood latch. The police would not have known to plant that evidence.
Okay, well now you’re just parroting the prosecution’s exact talking points.
And remember this critical point as well:
9. Avery’s lawyer told the jury, in closing, that “I do not believe the police frame innocent people, they frame people that they think are guilty.”
Avery’s lawyers seem very admirable and incredibly competent, but if you build a case on the premise that “the police framed an innocent man,” and subsequently tell the jury “I do not believe the police frame innocent people,” haven’t you essentially told the jury your client is not innocent?
Wow. Do you ever get slapped with the harsh reality of how dumb the person you’re trying to convince of something is? This, in a nutshell, is why the defense failed. In trying to explain how the police might frame an innocent person without trying to, they inadvertently created a new line of ironclad dumbass logic: “But how could he be innocent if the police think he’s guilty?”
The worst thing the defense did was give the police an out, admitting the possibility that they could’ve framed someone without being inherently evil. When they should’ve just admitted some video of Sheriff Lenk kicking a pigeon. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, didn’t I tell you he was an ornery sh*tass?”
It seemed pretty clear to me, while watching the series, the moment his lawyer said those words to the jury, that Steven Avery would be found guilty.
He might be right, and that is so, so sad.
Ironically, despite all the similarities between the O.J. and Avery cases, there is one striking dissimilarity that has been revealed: that while most people assumed O.J. was guilty, most of those same people assume Steven Avery is innocent.
I now break into a laughing fit every time Donnie Wahlberg mentions irony.
Two different cases, sure, but why the hypocrisy?
“Other than the plausible reason I just prefaced it with, I mean?”
I’d like to think there is also another reason for the hypocrisy. That is that the viewers were only given half of the story — and that if most viewers looked at all of the evidence in the Steven Avery case objectively, and considered the many facts from the docu series that were conveniently withheld from them, that those people would come to this very logical conclusion: that all signs point to only one man, Steven Avery.
It’s perfect that the guy married to the famous anti-vaxxer would hit us with the old “Do your research!” chestnut. “I read the prosecutor’s statement on a blog, bro, did you?”
Because if you truly believe the cops were guilty of framing this man, and if you truly believe the evidence was planted, and if you truly believe that an injustice occurred involving an innocent man and “police with an agenda,” or if you simply believe that the cops who had an agenda shouldn’t have been allowed to investigate this murder case at all, and if you actually believe that Steven Avery is innocent after hearing only HALF the evidence in his case …
Then shouldn’t you at least be willing to consider the same for O.J. Simpson, after hearing ALL of the evidence in his case?
I’ll admit, I did NOT think that was where he was going for this. Then again, after reading Donnie Wahlberg perform that many slow-motion mental gymnastics, I wouldn’t be surprised if his conclusion was that dinosaurs weren’t real.
Shouldn’t you at least believe that Mark Fuhrman’s evidence should have been thrown out of the O.J. case?
Shouldn’t you believe that the bloody glove was planted by a racist cop on O.J.’s property?
Shouldn’t you believe that the blood was planted in O.J.’s SUV, too?
Nope, no, and nuh-uh, for the record.
I mean, at least the blood found in the O.J. case actually had EDTA in it (supporting the theory that it was planted).
From the New York Times, 1995: “DNA tests have all but proved that the blood on the sock was Mrs. Simpson’s, and that the blood smeared on the gate matched Mr. Simpson’s. But Mr. Martz said there was no proof that the chemical on the two exhibits was EDTA and even if it were, that it was not of the concentration found in preserved blood.
“Everyone is saying that I found EDTA, but I am not saying that,” said Mr. Martz, chief of the F.B.I.’s chemistry toxicology unit, with a hint of frustration. “I was asked to determine whether those blood stains came from preserved blood. Those blood stains did not come from preserved blood.”
There is zero chance anyone from the Sun-Times even read this to the end, let alone fact checked it.
Unlike the blood in the Steven Avery case, which was proven to have no preservatives in it.
No, it wasn’t– Ugh, I give up.
And if you won’t change your opinion about O.J.’s guilt, then shouldn’t you change your opinion that Steven Avery is innocent?
All that set up and I’m not supposed to change my opinion about O.J.’s guilt? If you just assumed I’d still think he’s guilty, why did I have to read all those one-sentence paragraphs?
Because if we are basing our opinions of guilt/innocence of these suspects — on which “evil” cop is more likely to have planted evidence — I’d put my money on Mark Fuhrman.
Yes, definitely the L.A. cop who used the N-word was more likely to have planted evidence than the ones who demonstrably put an innocent man in jail for 18 years, your logic is ironclad there, sir.
Truthfully, I wouldn’t expect you to do any of those things.
GOD DAMMIT, JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO SO I CAN STOP READING THIS HORRIBLE COLUMN!
But I would expect you to demand to hear ALL of the facts in the case, before joining hundreds of thousands of people signing petitions, demanding Steven Avery’s release.
“Do your research!”
Those doing so, without all the facts, are guilty of exactly what the police in both of these cases have been accused of doing: rushing to judgment.
Isn’t that ironic.
I’ll be honest, you’ve used that word so many different ways now that I don’t even know anymore. Please, just put down the laptop.