Kenner: What about Syria?

By: David Kenner
A video calling for international action to capture Joseph Kony, a Ugandan guerilla who commands a couple hundred men and has killed 151 civilians during the past year, has been viewed by a whopping 76 million people on YouTube.

Joseph Kony & Bashar Al-assad

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — who boasts 600,000 men under arms, along with almost 5,000 battle tanks, and who often kills over 100 people a day, according to activists — generates exponentially less outrage.

The imbalance is particularly striking on Twitter. According to al-Jazeera social media head Riyaad Minty, the ‥Syria hashtag has been used around 6.6 million times over the last three months. By comparison, the ‥Kony hashtag has been used 11.5 million times — in the past seven days. Obviously, there’s something about Joseph Kony that pushes an audience’s buttons in a way that Syria fails to do.

Minty wasn’t surprised by the disparity in the coverage: The uprising in Syria, after all, has been dragging on for a year, and the coverage — often captured in grainy YouTube clips or dry accounts of dozens of people slaughtered in an anonymous city — isn’t favorable for attracting a wider audience.

“Syria isn’t as personal, in terms of the narrative that is being presented,” Minty said.

The Kony video, by comparison, was professionally produced, told a straightforward story of victims and villains, and advanced a simple message: Stop Kony. “The way it was done — it was like a Hollywood production,” said Minty. “It was very slick.”

Source: Denver Post

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