E-MAILING THE PREZ
NYT reports a rather disturbing development:
In the past, to tell President Bush Ã¢€” or at least those assigned to read his mail Ã¢€” what was on your mind it was necessary only to sit down at a personal computer connected to the Internet and dash off a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But this week, Tom Matzzie, an online organizer with the A.F.L.-C.I.O., discovered that communicating with the White House had become a bit more daunting. When Mr. Matzzie sent an e-mail protest against a Bush administration policy, the message was bounced back with an automated reply, saying he had to send it again in a new way.
Under a system deployed on the White House Web site for the first time last week, those who want to send a message to President Bush must now navigate as many as nine Web pages and fill out a detailed form that starts by asking whether the message sender supports White House policy or differs with it.
The White House says the new e-mail system, at www.whitehouse .gov/webmail, is an effort to be more responsive to the public and offer the administration “real time” access to citizen comments.
Completing a message to the president also requires choosing a subject from the provided list, then entering a full name, organization, address and e-mail address. Once the message is sent, the writer must wait for an automated response to the e-mail address listed, asking whether the addressee intended to send the message. The message is delivered to the White House only after the person using that e-mail address confirms it.
This is one boneheaded PR move.