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Kony 2012

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Caitlin Thompson

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Kony 2012

Demonization of Kony
oversimplification and marketing tactics of the Kony 2012 campaign
public support of US military forces in Africa
So why engage the American people NOW?
Kony 2012
Caitlin, Mary, Morgen, Megan, Gillian

Reactions of the Target Audience to Kony 2012 & Invisible Children

Something that wouldn't happen here: the Outsider Problem
Easier to forget
Draws on pathos
Limited perspective on full backstory
No implementable solutions for target audience
Invisible Children Counterresponce
Ugandan Criticism
Does not address the causes of the war --> "resources and marginalization"
U.S. Officials Responses
to Oversimplification

Over-all U.S. Officials avoided having a response
"applauding" activism
Kony 2012
Kony 2012 Campaign
Jacob's story to introduce Kony
Ben Keesey uses dialogue with son to springboard into list of Kony's atrocities
"no supporters, no purpose"
Mission of campaign
Campaign model
"When activists want to help people, we shouldn't assume we know what's best for them"

Echoes of White Man's Burden?
Criticism for Working with the Ugandan Government:

"[We] do not defend any of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ugandan government or the Ugandan army"

However the Ugandan Army is "more organized and better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries to track down Joseph Kony"
"You can bet, that after 20 years of this happening on his watch, he wouldn't still be running the country."
Financial Misconduct Accusations

Put all their audited financial statements, tax returns, and annual reports online.

Travel and Transportation Expenses
: includes cost of free screenings, transporting LRA survivors to U.S.

Production Cost
: includes the hard cost of creating Merchandise.

Management and general expenses
: Cost of outside organizations that have no direct connection to the Invisible Children
Response to accusation of oversimplification

The Invisible Children acknowledge that Kony2012 is over simplified and claim that this is intentional

According to Jason Russell, co founder of Invisible Children and director of Kony2012, “[It was] just the gateway into the conversation. ... And we want you to keep investigating, we want you to read the history”
"I hope somebody will have the courtesy to put a disclaimer..."

Invisible Children
According to IC
Ending the LRA conflict in 10 Steps

Context of the war

What IC does
1) Media
2) Mobilization
3) Protection
4) Recovery
formed in 2008
“United States Africa Command, in concert with interagency and international partners, builds defense capabilities, responds to crisis, and deters and defeats transnational threats
in order to advance U.S. national interests
promote regional security, stability, and prosperity
timeline: http://www.africom.mil/TimeLine/2013/12
Dept. of State Spokes person
"The Degree to which YouTube videos increases awareness is
"Congratulates" the Americans who responded
"It was the first time in history that the United States took action because the people demanded it, not for self defense but because it was right"
Samantha Powers
Leadership Summit Speech: The power is you
Other Responses
'Oversimplification or Advertising Genius'

Eddie Tembo:
“when the video refers to a total of 30,000 child soldiers, it is not overly clear that it is referring to an estimated 30,000 child soldiers over the past quarter century. The current number of soldiers (children and adults) is actually approximately 400.”
Reservations about Invisible Children as a charity
Advertising Genius:
Sam Deaner:
"a. Most important question is if the campaign CAN make a difference. “If it can, then the implications are substantial."
"But I do think that the campaign and its attempt to raise awareness through social media could lead to far broader and positive change.”
He reinforces the lens U.S. officials used by looking at the Bigger picture:” rebirth of “power of the people” politics”
Blogger in Washington Post:
Ethan Zuckerman
"As someone who believes that the ability to create and share media is an important form of power, the Invisible Children story presents a difficult paradox.
If we want people to pay attention to the issues we care about, do we need to oversimplify them? And if we do, do our simplistic framings do more unintentional harm than intentional good?
Or is the wave of pushback against this campaign from Invisible Children evidence that we’re learning to read and write complex narratives online, and that a college student with doubts about a campaign’s value and validity can find an audience?
Will Invisible Children’s campaign continue unchanged, or will it engage with critics and design a more complex and nuanced response
AFRICOM established in 2008
In 2009, large oil on-share oil reserves found in Uganda
triggers oil talks with China as Uganda transitions into "key partner for multinational oil conglomerates"
In 2011, US troops sent to Uganda (and South Sudan and DRC), as mentioned in the Kony 2012 video + AFRICOM intervenes in Libya
China continues to pave way for oil ties
1) What matters is the Scoreboard
2) Governments Relationship to you
3) Individual affected by policy
Full transcript