Rhetorical Analysis: KONY 2012

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The March 5th 2012 overnight viral sensation, by the American non-porfit organization Invisible Children referred to as “KONY 2012,” swept the globe in less than 24 hours. The purpose of the video is “to advocate for the arrest of the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and indicted Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony” (Su and Besliu). The video’s main subject is the African war criminal Joseph Kony, the narrator clearly defines this rebel’s crimes and the “movement” required to stop him. KONY 2012 quickly grabs viewer’s attention in an almost hypnotic way. While beneath the surface the campaign’s elaborate agenda is presented in an extremely manipulative way. Bombarded with celebrity endorsement, enormous social media coverage, and…show more content…
Propaganda, as defined by Jacques Ellul, is “a means of gaining power by the psychological manipulation of groups or masses, or of using this power with the support of the masses” (Ellul). This definition of propaganda seems to accurately describe the KONY 2012 project. The video uses propagandistic methods and strategies to entice viewers to both donate and support American troops deployment to Uganda. While the issue of rebel warfare and child soldiers has troubled Africa for decades, and numerous documentaries have been created concerning the issue, this specific 30-minute video has managed to receive mass exposure and…show more content…
The major factor that got this video close to 100,700,000 views on YouTube is due to the incorporation of famous artists and politicians, including Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, George Clooney, Oprah, Bono, etc. This technique is referred to as testimonial and occurs “when some respected celebrity claims that an idea or product is good. This technique is used to convince us without examining the facts more carefully” (Propaganda). Many of these celebrities were simply selected based on their status level rather than their genuine concern for the children in Africa. KONY 2012 also relies on the viewers’ emotions to further persuade people to support their cause. The filmmaker first and for most attempts to make himself likeable and trustworthy, then shows heartbreaking images of African children. The short film also uses incremental incent to persuade someone to accept something as a fact, otherwise known as a rationalization trap. This works because potential supporters are slowly convinced of one thing after another until finally being succumbed to full support. KONY 2012 also employs a marketing strategy that addresses the audience as if it was all children. The film is about a man explaining the problem to an actual child, in this case his so, who is used to represent the viewers as a

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