Errol Morris

  • Aired:  09/20/12
  •  | Views: 16,760

Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris discusses the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case, the modern court system and his interview machine, the Interrotron. (5:11)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS A NEW BOOK THAT HAS BEEN CALLED AN INDICTMENT OF OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM WHICH IS PERFECT

BECAUSE I HOLD ALL MY GUESTS IN CONTEMPT.

PLEASE WELCOME ERROL MORRIS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HEY, MR. MORRIS, GOOD TO YOU HAVE ON.

NOW THEN, SIR, LET'S JUST GET YOUR CV OUT HERE.

ARE YOU AN OSCAR AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENT ARIAN.

YOU DID THE GATES OF HEAVEN WHICH EBERT CALLED ONE OF THE GREATEST FILMS EVER MADE, THE FOG OF WAR, THIN BLUE

LINE, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME.

YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK CALLED A WILDERNESS OF ERROR, THE TRIALS OF JEFFREY McDONALD.

OKAY, WHY A BOOK, WHY NOT A DOCUMENTARY THIS TIME?

>> I TRIED TO SELL THIS AS A MOVIE AND NOBODY REALLY WANTED TO MAKE IT.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: THAT'S A SAD STORY.

>> IT IS.

>> Stephen: YOU SHOULD MAKE A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT TRYING TO SELL THIS MOVIE.

>> WELL, IT MIGHT BE IN THE WORKS.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WELL, LISTEN, OKAY, SO THIS IS A FAMOUS GREEN BERET MURDERS IN THE EARLY 1970s.

>> FEBRUARY 1970.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

THIS GUY JEFFREY McDONALD, HE KILLED HIS WIFE AND HE KILLED HIS TWO CHILDREN, TWO DAUGHTERS.

AND HE BLAMED IT ON SOME HIPPIES, RIGHT.

>> CAN I USE THE WORD ALLEGEDLY.

>> Stephen: NO, BECAUSE HE WAS FOUND GUILTY.

AND IT WAS APPEALED AND IT WAS UPHELD AND IT WENT TO THE SUPREME COURT AND THEY DID NOT OVERTURN IT.

AND IN OUR SOCIETY, WE CALL THAT PERSON GUILTY.

>> WELL, LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION.

DO YOU THINK THE COURTS CAN MAKE MISTAKES?

>> Stephen: NO.

(LAUGHTER) BECAUSE IF OUR COURTS ARE MAKING MISTAKES THEN OUR WHOLE SYSTEM IS ON TRIAL.

YOU'RE PUTTING OUR WHOLE SYSTEM ON TRIAL, ERROL MORRIS, WHAT DO YOU THINK THINK... REALLY, YOU CAN'T... HE'S BEEN GIVEN

EVERY CHANCE AND HE HAS STILL BEEN FOUND GUILTY.

DO YOU THINK HE'S INNOCENT?

>> I DO.

>> Stephen: YOU DO.

>> I DO.

>> Stephen: BASED ON WHAT?

AND I KNOW IT'S A LONG BOOK BUT KEEP IT SPIFFY.

>> ONE WORD, EVIDENCE.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WHAT EVIDENCE IS THAT?

>> MULTIPLE CONFESSIONS THAT WERE NEVER HEARD BY THE JURY.

IF WE START QUESTIONING OUR AUTHORITY, THEN WE WILL QUESTION SO MANY... .

>> DON'T YOU THINK THE JURY SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HEAR THIS STUFF?

>> Stephen: LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY, IF AMERICANS CARED ABOUT EVIDENCE, WOULDN'T WE BE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT

GLOBAL WARMING?

(APPLAUSE) WE HAVE A SYSTEM AND THIS SYSTEM HAS FOUND THIS MAN GUILTY.

AND JUST A STORY DOESN'T SOUND THAT REASONABLE.

HE SAID THAT HIPPIES CAME IN, KILLED HIS FAMILY AND THEN RAN AROUND CHANTING, ACTED ACTED-- ACID IS GROOVEY,

ACID IS GROOVEY.

THAT IS NOT YOU WHAT SAY WHEN YOU'RE ON ACID.

YOU SAY MY BEAK IS ON FIRE.

MY BEAK IS ON FIRE.

(LAUGHTER) DID DOESN'T PASS THE SMELL TEST YOU HAVE SOMETHING CALLED THE INTERRATRON.

>> WHAT IS THAT.

>> IT IS MY INTERVIEWING MACHINE.

>> Stephen: THIS IS HOW YOU INTERVIEW PEOPLE FOR DOCUMENTARIES, HOW DOES IT WORK?

>> CROSS CONNECTED CAMERAS, TWO PROMPTERS, TWO CAMERAS, EYE CONTACT, PEOPLE LOOKING AT LIVE VIDEO IMAGES BUT

STARING DIRECTLY, JUST LIKE I'M STARING DIRECTLY INTO YOUR EYES.

>> Stephen: WHEN YOU INTERVIEW PEOPLE ARE YOU NOT IN A ROOM WITH THEM.

YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A SCREEN THAT THEY ARE LOOKING AT AND YOUR FACE ON IT, AND YOU ASK QUESTIONS.

>> THAT'S CORRECT.

>> Stephen: OKAY, INSPIRED BY THAT, I HAVE CREATED SOMETHING CALLED THE-- ACOMATIC.

AN iPAD HOT GLUED TO A BUCKET... (APPLAUSE) THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

NOW ERROL MORRIS, WHAT, THIS IS BETTER THAN ACTUALLY BEING WITH US.

WHAT... .

>> AM I ALLOWED TO USE THIS THING?

>> Stephen: FOR A FEE.

WHAT DOES THIS DO IN AN INTERVIEW?

HOW DOES IT MAKE IT BETTER TO NOT ACTUALLY BE LOOKING AT THE INTERVIEWER BUT INSTEAD LOOKING AT A DIGITAL

IMAGE OF THE INTERVIEWER.

>> IT MAKES ME FEEL A LOT CLOSER TO YOU.

I CAN'T EXPLAIN IT.

>> Stephen: DOES IT REALLY MAKE PEOPLE MORE COMFORTABLE TO NOT SEE YOUR FACE.

>> IT MAKES YOU MORE APPROACHABLE, MORE LIKABLE.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> I THINK EVEN... .

>> Stephen: I SHOULD WEAR THIS TO BARS.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) WELL, ERROL MORRIS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: ERROL MORRIS, THE BOOK IS