I thank you all for your opinions, they certainly gave me something to think about.
I re-watched "The Battle..." today with your comments in mind. One of the arguments made said that the fault of the docu was that Welles was painted as a pompous failure and Hearst was painted as the wronged senior citizen. To me, the filmmakers' argument seemed to be that the Hearst "portrayed" in CK was not the a mirror image of the real-life Hearst. They seemed to me to always point out that with money and power, he did whatever he wanted, to whomever he wanted. I, for example, didn't feel that they depicted "starting wars" as fairly normal; they seemed to depict them as fairly normal for Hearst with his power. Toward the very end of the doc, yes they seem to try to soften his image, but I thought that was only to emphasize their argument that because of the film, Hearst, to many people, WAS Charles Foster Kane.
As for Welles, many have seemed to agree with the argument that he was extremly talented but with being so young, he seemed to operate without or against the standard rules. Was he setting himself up for failure? Well it depends on how you look at that. I don't believe he went into CK with the express purpose of pissing off Hearst. But on the other hand, when you don't seem to play by "the rules," you're young, considered a "boy wonder" and in your first film you end up (as opposed to begin) targeting one of the most powerful men in media, you're not helping yourself. I wouldn't say that the doc had the express purpose of showing why Welles was seen as a failure after Kane. But on the other hand, I think they should have shown him in a better light once the "Battle" over the film was behind him. I think the easiest way of doing that would have been to spend, even five minutes, explaining the argument of why Ambersons was not truly a "Welles film."
Was the doc sympathetic towards Welles at the end of his life as they were towards Hearst at the end of his life? Not very much. They seem to portray him as somebody who failed because he wouldn't play the game. I am NOT very knowledged of the later years of Orson's life. But in the few books about him that I've read and the few interviews I have heard, the doc seems to take the stance even Orson seemed to see himself in; that of a director, who spent more time hustling for money than he could spend making his films. If the stories of always trying to find money as you look for control and opportunity from seemingly younger and younger studio and movie people were true, and I don't doubt it, then yes, I think they showed him in a sympathetic light, as least to me.
Yes, I'm sure there are other docs they could have used. I would also like to see one that examines Kane as film and in terms of movie making. But for the most part, I think that's what Ebert's commentary did, which I greatly enjoyed.
Why did he "fail?" To me it has always seemed that he didn't "succeed" again because he had power in radio, had power in theater, and had power with Kane. It seemed that once he lost power with Ambersons, nobody wanted to give him more, and without money of his own to make films, he was never able to make the film he wanted as he wanted.
But that's just my opinion. I'm hoping to find and see the RKO doc that many of you have suggested. Perhaps I'll better understand why you feel the way you do and possibly even reshape my opinion.
And as for the story of the co-worker who thought Welles failed because he was a jerk, frankly I find that to be a very narrow-minded view. IF that was the case, then how would any handful of actors or directors from Hollywood's history (even current ones) succeed when many are clearly more than jerks?