Shared Knowledge May Not Be Much

Today, large groups of people form opinions based on slanted and limited knowledge which they cull from social networks, television clips, and headlines sans story. These snippets tell less than half the tale, but spread like a disease of dumb. Rather than finding one’s knowledge insufficient to discuss opinions among reasoned adults, people are finding themselves surrounded by others who hold the same limited information, and thus wind up believing their knowledge on a particular subject is complete. The circuit of reports in recent weeks concerning the Kony 2012 viral video produced by Invisible Children, Inc. emphasizes a need for individuals to carefully educate themselves on political matters and other news.

The intentions, motivations, and activities of the Invisible Children group have been scrutinized and called into question. So have the realities of the video’s subject, Joseph Kony. So have the actions of the United States in relation to the political situation in Uganda and neighboring nations. Trouble is, most of the scrutiny didn’t come until after millions of people viewed and shared the video, pledging support for its stated cause. Now confusion reigns among the general public, wondering if the whole thing was a con, a lie, an exaggeration, or a misunderstanding. Even worse, the public waits for the next snippet to arrive and give them the answers.

This abridgment of attention the public gives to matters of national or global concern fosters apathy. Accepting and passing on limited information poisons the mind against processing nuanced, complex political problems requiring nuanced, complex solutions.

We need to learn to seek facts before we share stories.


The opinions expressed in this post and throughout are intended to encourage civil discussion and invite well-reasoned alternatives. You can participate in the conversation by finding us on Facebook or Twitter. We also encourage you to drop us a line by writing to the Editorial Director at 

Jake Negovan drives Red Brown and Blue to be an outlet for progressive political opinion that leads to the betterment of life for the real, multicultural population of the U.S. and the rest of the world. His columns address the issues faced by our country as we continue growing toward a society of equality. More about Jake can be found on the web at or on Twitter@jakenegovan.

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