Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer compared the viral spread of the KONY 2012 video this week to the Gutenberg press, with social media driving information to more people as the first printing press did hundreds of years ago.
“It is an amazing new arena where information flows so much more quickly, rapidly to diverse audiences,” Spitzer said on today’s “This Week” roundtable. “This has got to be good for humanity. It’s like the Gutenberg press. Suddenly everyone can see and learn.”
“I think so many issues will be affected by this, from the Arab Spring to taking down a dictator, a terrorist, to political finance. I think it’s amazing,” Spitzer added.
The KONY 2012 viral film campaign by the group Invisible Children has ignited a firestorm online, drawing nearly 100 million views and counting to the 30-minute video critical of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, and the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army, which human rights organizations say has terrorized central Africa for years.
The video seeks to bring international attention to Kony, pushing for his arrest by the end of this year.
Republican strategist Mary Matalin said she was surprised when her 13-year-old daughter alerted her to the video this week.
“When my 13-year-old calls me, it’s an emergency on the road, I presume there’s a Jimmy Choo sale, okay? I never expect to hear this,” Matalin said.
Matalin, who recalled that her daughter said Republicans could “get ahead of this story” to draw the youth vote, said she was concerned the video captured young people’s attention “in a way that’s potentially dangerous” because it may over-simplify the issue.
“They don’t have the capacity to at this age to study and research the complexity, and this one is complex,” Matalin said.
I asked whether the attention on the video represented “slacktivism” with millions watching the video substituting for concrete action.
Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace said that while “increasing awareness is a good thing,” the KONY 2012 video reminded her of the death of Iranian protester Neda Agha-Soltan in 2009, which was captured on video and seen by millions.
“[It] was an image that broke hearts all around the world, but no action followed. We didn’t press our government to get involved,” Wallace said.
And ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper raised concerns about inaccuracies in the video, as have many critics online this week.
“There are things in that video that are not factually accurate,” Tapper said. ”He’s not in Uganda, Joseph Kony… There are not 30,000 child soldiers. It’s probably between 150 and 300.”
But Tapper praised the group that produced the video for being able to draw any attention to the issue.
As somebody who tried and failed to get stories on air and to get the public interested when Obama sent 100 special forces to Central Africa… to take on Joseph Kony, as somebody who asked President Obama about this last October, and there was very little interest in getting that question and answer out there for the public, very little interest or awareness by the public, bravo to them,” Tapper said.