Amidst the chaos of campaign speeches, senate confirmations and inaugural balls, most Americans just want to be heard in a world where many feel their voices don’t matter. Well, we’re in luck. Media has a solution to get people in touch with their government: a strong push for campaigns to call your representative.
With the new administration making constant allegations of fake news, modern media seems to be under attack by the White House. Nevertheless, instead of choosing to stand alone, media has found a new ally— the American people. By giving them the tools to speak out directly to their government, the media is enabling citizens to stand together against censorship and injustice.
Since November, news sites like The Huffington Post have featured stories telling readers how to contact their representatives. Instead of passive suggestions about calling your representatives, news outlets are publishing whole news stories that encourage people to call.
The Seattle Times has blatantly said in an opinion piece regarding health care “If your senators are Republicans, tell them you’re part of the large majority of Americans who oppose repeal-and-delay. If they’re Democrats, tell them you want them to work harder — to stay on the Senate floor all night, if need be — fighting for people’s health care.”
These kinds of articles have invoked constituents to act. New call lines that allow people to get in touch with their representative or senators are being used to promote causes across the country. Other organizations are simply focused on teaching people how to call their representatives.
And calling your representative seems to be achieving the intended result: making Congress listen. Tens of thousands of people have joined campaigns like Swing Left that are promoting the mobilization of the Democratic Party through constituent calls.
Activists including Emily Ellsworth, a former staffer for Utah representatives Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart, have created a detailed Twitter essay telling anyone who would listen how to contact their representatives. News sites are the ones circulating her message via articles from CNN, USA Today and Yahoo News.
Many still question the effectiveness of such campaigns; however, media outlets such as the New York Times are quick to document the recent success of the “call your representative campaigns.” The most notable in recent news is the ruling rejecting an effort to gut the House Ethics Committee..
A barrage of calls condemning the attempt to cut the House Ethics Committee after the story broke caused House Republicans to realize that public support was not in their favor. Republican Representative Walter Jones released a statement saying that, “The calls we’ve gotten in my district office and here in Washington has surprised me,” referring to to numerous calls asking for the House Ethics Committee to stay in place.
After the decision to keep the Ethics Committee, Representative Ed Perlmutter of Colorado tweeted the victory saying, “House GOP is backpedaling on their plan to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics. YOUR calls/tweets/emails made the difference!”
Though there remain many issues that concern callers, one to note is the confirmation of the possible Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Though DeVos was confirmed in the Senate Committee on Education in a 12-11 vote, her nomination is at risk as two Republicans have already turned against her ahead of Friday’s vote. Callers continue to phone in from every location to express that they are weary of her capabilities, to say the least.
Incited by activists like Michael Moore who said at the Women’s March on Washington, “On Monday, call (202) 225-3121. Call your representative and your two senators…we do not accept Betsy DeVos as our secretary of education.”
The media ran with the story, leading the Senate offices of Senator Dick Durbin, Tim Kaine and Bob Casey, among others, to report that they received thousands of calls and letters opposing DeVos’s confirmation.
Though it is unclear whether DeVos will be confirmed by the entire Senate, there is no doubt that mass media has informed thousands of people of how to get their point across.
Additionally, since Trump’s immigration executive order, the media has blatantly asked people to call and protest. News sites like LA Magazine have published articles entitled, “How to Call Your Senators and Representatives to Speak Out Against the Refugee Ban.”
People want to protest actions happening in the United States, and as media becomes increasingly demonized by the government it seeks a way to connect with the people. By publishing articles encouraging government participation, the media asks everyone to speak out against actions they see as immoral and take a stand. Will you?