Phoning It In | Buzz Blog

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Phoning It In

Posted By on October 27, 2009, 7:53 AM

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The Trib recently reported a study showing the efficiency of telephone town hall meetings. The study, from the Congressional Management Foundation cheerily reported that participants in telephone town hall meetings approved more of their delegate, were more likely to vote for them and on issues discussed, member approval jumped as much as 20 percent.---

Win-win, right?

I don’t think so. I don’t care what your high-falutin’ studies say technology is no prosthetic for face-to-face democracy. This means you Jim Matheson! Constituents don’t want to feel talking to their representative is like phoning into a radio talk show where they can be dumped from the air any moment.

People want to see your poker face when you talk. When you debate the issues and especially when you handle the tough questions. Hell, even how you handle hecklers. Civic dialogue isn’t always civic but sometimes it’s important for decent citizens to see how you can handle dealing with indecent ones. Or if you even dare to at all.

If nothing else such meetings need to be combined with regular town hall meetings and other forums for meeting the representative.

As an aside, the study reported mostly positive results from participants in telephone town hall meetings. But they could only judge participation based on those who took part, so what about those who don’t take part?I know every time I’ve gotten an automated message from Matheson’s office inviting me to telephone town hall meeting I do what I do every other time I get some automated message—I hang up.

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