March 17, 2012

Roger Cohen misfires on #StopKony

Usually, he's much more insightful than in this column. But, he gives a pass to Jason Russell and Invisible Children. This is the worst he can say, at bottom line:
On balance I back Russell over his armchair critics. He’s put his boots on the ground and he’s doing something. Gross simplification of Africa is nothing new. It’s the poor, disease-ravaged, war-torn continent where every complicated war is about control of diamonds, right? The reduction of Uganda’s many problems to Kony abusing children is not much different from the reduction of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo to a fight for mineral riches. So, Russell works in a well-established genre, even if he pushes it. 
Exploiting his child in the video, coming late to the party, or oversimplifying Africa are the half of it. Cohen totally misses that Russell's group is a right-wing anti-gay Christian outfit using the video in part as an evangelism tool. He could and should have done better research.

And, a day later, it looks like Nick Kristof misses the same issues.

UPDATE, March 17: As many people have no doubt heard, Russell had some sort of mental meltdown. Of course, the LA Times, and I'll bet other mainstream media, (conveniently?) fail to mention that said meltdown included this fine fundamentalist Christian masturbating in public. Somehow, I doubt we'll get a follow-up from either columnist.

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