TV

Ken Burns Criticizes Michael Jordan’s Involvement in “The Last Dance”

The filmmaker said the series is "not good journalism"

Ken Burns speaks during a panel discussion of "Country Music." (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
Ken Burns speaks during a panel discussion of "Country Music." (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
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By Bonnie Stiernberg / April 30, 2020 11:02 am

ESPN’s 10-part Michael Jordan docuseries The Last Dance has quickly become the highlight of America’s week, providing a fascinating fly-on-the-wall look at Jordan’s final championship run with the Bulls at a time when we’re all starved for sports content of any kind.

But as a new Wall Street Journal piece points out, there’s at least one person who isn’t exactly impressed with the show: documentarian Ken Burns.

Burns told the publication he hasn’t watched The Last Dance, and he took issue with Jordan’s production company partnering on the series and exercising control over the archived footage it features, saying that kind of arrangement with a source is one he would “never, never, never, never” agree to.

“I find it the opposite direction of where we need to be going,” Burns told the Journal. “If you are there influencing the very fact of it getting made it means that certain aspects that you don’t necessarily want in aren’t going to be in, period. And that’s not the way you do good journalism … and it’s certainly not the way you do good history, my business.”

Despite those concerns from Burns, The Last Dance‘s ratings continue to surge, even exceeding the demand for Netflix’s popular Tiger King.

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