Saturday, March 17, 2012

On the Media

The Kony 2012 phenomenon is, more than anything, a media phenomenon, so it was a natural subject to be covered by this week's edition of On the Media.

In What to Make of Kony 2012, Brook Gladstone speaks with New York Times columnist Nicholoas Kristof, whose recent column on the subject is entitled Viral Video, Vicious Warlord. They have a very frank discussion about how social movements in the West are generated, including the pivotal role of "bridge characters" that connect would-be activists to far-away victims. They examine the balance between empowering people to overcome their own challenges, versus the feeding a White Savior Industrial Complex.

In a second segment, The Kony That [sic] Ugandans Know, Brook speaks with Musa Okwonga, who recently wrote Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions for the British paper The Independent. In the interview, Okwonga, who is of Ugandan descent, describes the surprise experienced by middle-class Ugandans in the region that was vacated by Kony years ago. He warns against the patronizing attitude conveyed in the video and critiqued by so many, though he does express satisfaction the campaign -- however flawed -- is bringing some much-needed attention to devastation wrought by the LRA. This interview is particularly informative, as it describes -- from a Ugandan point of view -- several aspects of the story I've not heard elsewhere.

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