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A blog post

The Allure of Kony 2012 and the Dangers of Half-Truths

Posted on the 19 March, 2012 at 3:27 pm Written by in Blog, Trends

Likely along with many others, I was both moved by the Kony2012 viral video (if you’re one of the very few who hasn’t seen it, for discussion, it’s at this link), and then entirely offended and saddened to hear about the vulgar public meltdown had by Jason Russell (Kony 2012’s director, founder and spokesman) this past Friday in the streets of San Diego.

The whole thing made me take a pause and consider what the greater implications of this phenomenon mean to our society.  Are we now ok with getting partially incorrect information as long as on the upside we’re being made “aware” of an injustice?  Are we ok with other less ideal vehicles being pushed to mainstream as long as they are partially, or in some minor way carrying that message in the name of “awareness” (see article re: Charlie Sheen’s ex-girlfried shoots racy viral vid to “promote” herself Kony 2012)

I read a really interesting article on Forbes.com today that introduces and probes this exact line of questioning, discussing use of half-truths to spread a message and drive attention (either to a cause or the person behind the cause) with a sometime wanton disregard for telling the full truth. You should check it out.  See quotes below:

‎”I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard.” – Quote from Mike Daisey (who “exposed” working conditions at Apple factories in China with half-false information)

“The manipulation of the truth to get you to care followed by the assertion that onus is on the audience to delve deeper. I’m sorry, but if something is being presented as true, as non-fiction, as journalism it should actually be true. ”

“Both Daisey and Russell cut corners and convinced themselves that it was justified because the dramatic arc of the story is true.”

Interested to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

some comments

There are currently 2 of them
  1. Dawn Fadely 19 March 2012 at 5:55 pm permalink

    In spite of my feelings related to this organization and the events that have surrounded the Kony 2012 campaign, I am glad that I watched the video. It actually made me take a look at Africa in a completely different light. I was looking into volunteering in Africa a few years ago, but never followed through. Since watching this video, I am excited to say that I am in the process of planning a 5 week trip to Uganda with the Global Volunteer Network to work in a remote village with orphans who have been devastated by HIV/AIDS. This has a been a cause to my heart and even though I have mixed feelings of the intentions behind the Kony 2012 video and campaign, the real truth is still presented that there are some serious issues taking place in Africa, and how much suffering and fear these children are living with on a daily basis. It disgusts me that people are using this event to their advantage on YouTube, and ridiculing the situation. It is unfortunate that Russell did such a heinous act, but we have to take into account the real, underlying situation with the children in Africa. So with that being said, the video and the media surrounding it have made a tremendous impact on my life and what life is really about–assisting others who are in need. Maybe not everyone can say that this video had this type of impact on them as it did on myself, and sometimes cutting corners may not be the honest way to handle things, but it still opened my eyes to start taking action on a cause that I believe in. In every negative, there can be a positive. Thanks, Jaunique, for posting 🙂

    • jaunique 21 March 2012 at 5:27 pm permalink

      Thanks for your comment Dawn – I’m totally torn about this Kony thing. My reaction to the video was so strong, emotionally, but my logical side when watching was suspicious of what I saw as blatant self-promotion, in the midst of providing information. I think that in some ways the goal of the video was reached, even if it served a larger purpose beyond what the creators intended. I think that it’s awesome that you’ve planned a trip with an organization and that you’re participating in something that is local, reputable and will make a difference. I wish that I could join you!