My recurring frustration with progressive calls for action.

May 28, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

I’m really getting tired of progressive organizations sending me emails with disturbing headlines, colorful call to action links and THIS: No links to any independent information that would allow me to really understand whether the organization’s claim is true.

If the problem concerns pending legislation, send me a link to the legislation so that I can verify the problem myself. If the claim is the supposed existence of a dangerous food or drug, send me a link to a neutral site so that I can go read about the alleged problem myself. I am not persuaded by circular links back to your own unsubstantiated claims — I don’t care how many times YOU make the claim on your own pages. I want reassurance that it is true before I take any action at all. I’m not going to write to Congress just because you give me a scary headline and tell me to.

I sympathize with many (not all) progressive causes, but I will never simply take it on faith that I need to write my Congressional reps just because an organization tells me to (even an organization that has been somewhat credible in the past). Do you hear me, Move-On, and all you others out there? Do you think that your followers are stupid? sheep? Stupid sheep? Come on. If you’ve got a legitimate cause that needs attention, provide us with the means to independently verify your claims.

For many years, I’ve seen this tactic used in many right-right calls to action. For example I receive link-less material such as “Click here to write your representatives because OUR public schools won’t allow students to voluntarily pray at recess!!” It’s a shame to see this tactic spreading to so many progressive organizations, however. It is a disreputable tactic meant for people without brains.



Category: Communication

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Adan says:

    I'm surprised you used MoveOn as an example. I always thought they were pretty good at sourcing their emails.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Adam: Sometimes Move-on does OK, but the last often not. Here's the issue on the one I received last week:

      "You'd think that a proposal to make mega-rich hedge fund managers pay at least as much in taxes as, say, teachers or police officers would be a no-brainer, right?
      But, with Wall Street executives going ballistic, even some Democrats are getting nervous about closing the "hedge fund loophole" that lets these wealthy investors—many of whom are big campaign contributors—pay less in taxes than the rest of us. Click below to see a chart showing how outrageous this system is and to get the phone numbers for your members of Congress so you can tell them it's time to close the loophole."

      This cries out for some links, but there is absolutely nothing available. Save-the-Internet has also been screwing up regularly. These are both causes that I often support, but I don't support this failure to allow independent verification.

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