Phoning It In | Buzz Blog
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you. DONATE

Phoning It In



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.