Talk Back Media

Published in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, July 25, 2001
Posted at
Free Republic


Columnist Charles Roos and Congressman Joel Hefley may not share the same high profiles as Dan Rather and Hillary Clinton. Yet, their arrogance is no less revolting. I say this in light of Roos' column of July 16 wherein he praises Hefley's new web page.

Hefley's page consists of routine biographical and legislative material, but has no e-mail. This is something I would expect from eastern Democrats, but not from Republicans in Colorado Springs.

The dominant political and media cultures have long taken a dim view of what I call "talk back" media. In traditional top down media, the elites tell us what they want us to hear and assure us that "that's the way it is." In "talk back" media, such as talk radio and the internet, anyone can voice their opinion spontaneously. Indeed, anyone of even modest financial means can now set up a web page and broadcast their views worldwide. Control freaks just can't stand this.

E-mail is extremely easy and convenient to send. There are no postage stamps or long distance bills, and you need not even leave your desk. In a few seconds and a few words, I can tell my congressman to vote "no" on tax increases, gun control, partial birth abortion, sending troops to Upper Slobovia, etc. If the issue is timely enough, I will e-mail several friends and tell them to e-mail my congressman with a certain message. (My congressman, Tom Tancredo, has e-mail. I use it frequently.)

Roos moans about the "torrents of unsolicited and unwanted e-mail messages" congressmen receive. He implies a certain moral superiority on Hefley's part for insulating himself from such communication. Well, we all get such e-mail and we just need to hit the "delete" key to get rid of it. It is not so easy to rid ourselves of the torrent of unsolicited and unwanted intrusions our government imposes on us. If Hefley lacks the backbone to withstand slings and arrows in the form of e-mail from his constituents (read: his employers), perhaps he does not truly "represent" them and should get into another line of work.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy both have e-mail on their web pages. While staff members no doubt screen these e-mails, these two pillars of haughty, arrogant, in-your-face liberalism at least allow people a key means of access that Hefley does not. Congressman Hefley, get with the program!

Freely Speaking: Speeches and Essays by Doug Newman

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