90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, March 16, 2012

Kony 2012 Video Raises Concerns

The non-profit group Invisible Children has launched a new public relations campaign against Joseph Kony, the brutal Ugandan war lord, and it has created the most successful viral video in history.

But it’s raising a number of questions. Max Fischer writes in the Atlantic that it does more harm than good.

The damage of Kony 2012 is probably already done, and that damage is real. First, it’s likely to actually decrease the amount of help that goes into Central Africa. The video is a joy to watch and spread because it tells Americans that by simply watching a video, and at most maybe buying a $30 “action kit” of wristbands and stickers, they have done all that’s necessary; they are absolved of responsibility. How much money has Invisible Children soaked up that could have gone to actually effective campaigns or more experienced NGOs?… Worst of all, the much-circulated campaign subtly reinforces an idea that has been one of Africa’s biggest disasters: that well-meaning Westerners need to come in and fix it. Africans, in this telling, are helpless victims, and Westerners are the heroes.

Invisible Children released a response video to critics.

Chief executive Ben Keesey said “I understand why a lot of people are wondering, ‘Is this just some slick, kind of fly-by-night, slacktivist thing?’ when actually it’s not at all. It’s connected to a really deep, thoughtful, very intentional and strategic campaign.”

Next week we’ll speak with a Ugandan author who says the campaign is an example of the “pornography of violence.”


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

March 2 13 Comments

The Beanie Baby Boom And Bust – What Happened?

Zac Bissonnette drew on hundreds of interviews to write a book about "mass delusion and the dark side of cute."

March 2 5 Comments

Russian Opposition MP Reacts To Nemtsov Killing

The sole member of the Russian parliament to vote against the annexation of Crimea discusses the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

February 27 5 Comments

After Red Carpet Controversy, A Look At The History Of Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks go back "thousands and thousands of years," according to professor Bert Ashe, who also shares his own dreadlocks stories.

February 27 12 Comments

More Parents Say No To Standardized Testing

A growing number of parents and students are deciding to "opt out" of assessment tests.