Slightly Outdated: KONY2012

March 13 - KONY2012 - It is far too easy to become jaded when you choose a career that requires you to dissect anything that is presented to the world.  It’s easy to fall victim to propaganda, that’s why they do it, but when you reach the point of critical dissection it may be tempting to go back to old habits of believing everything. Although I'm critical of advertising and social movements, I do like to think that there is still some truth being told sometimes.

There is no need to explain that the Kony2012 movement became an overnight sensation. Without going into repetitive detail, it is clear that Invisible Children (the organization behind the viral video) is getting their message out like they had hoped. Whether or not it will remain trending until their April 20 “Cover the Night” is tough to judge, but it will be interesting to see as it unfolds. So far, it seems to have dwindled out of the spotlight almost as fast as it appeared, but Koney2012 continues to be the source of more stories.
We all have opinions of this video and the approach the filmmakers used to send their message. Having the director’s child sit for an interview is a great tactic in nabbing attention with cuteness. Piling statistics over more statistics is a great way to keep viewers wanting more. The high tempo music that rises in volume throughout the video and of course, celebrities to prevent political staleness, is all done with the goal to keep viewers tuned in.
The entire Kony2012 movement is propaganda at its best. 

When it comes to finding truth, we had it in former reporter, Peter Arnett. His war reports were not superfluous nor did they take a stand. He told the story bit by bit as it happened while remaining true to the facts.
Eventually he made a mistake – a mistake that I’m sure many present and past journalists have been tempted by – he divulged information and gave his opinion in an interview with Iraqi state television. Although he later apologized, Arnett was fired by MSNBC and National Geographic. Sure, he was not representing them per se, but as journalists we have to remember that anything we say and do, is reflected on the publication or network we work for.
Like a politician, if the wrong thing is said, it could amount to major consequences. It is our responsibility to remain objective if that is the job we signed up for.

Ethical reporting also means taking yourself out of the story. When we read or watch the news, we are not seeking the personal story of the person reporting. We are seeking information about the subject they are reporting on. So when embedded journalists use words like “we” instead of “they” it becomes propaganda. Unlike Arnett who told it like it was as if sitting on the sidelines, these journalists are turning current events into infotainment – their own personal adventures.
Although Kony 2012 was not a news report, it still serves as a beacon of information. This mini documentary told only part of a story. And the director not only used himself, but also his young son to get the story across. In terms of truth being told, I was disappointed to see that even news reports on the movement contained little research and fact checking.

Maybe the media is in a rut right now. Maybe this is the evolution. Let’s just hope before Fox and Sun Media take over the media, some ethically responsible journalists will swoop in to save the world from misinformation. 

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