The White House released a new program this month that aims to strengthen communication between the American people and the Obama administration.
Advise the Advisor, a program created by the president’s senior advisers, gives the American people a direct connection with the White House.
The concept is simple: One of President Barack Obama’s advisers will post a question in a video on whitehouse.gov/advisors asking the public about current issues being discussed in the White House.
After the video is posted, Web users can respond with comments or suggestions for a limited amount of time.
“It’s an interesting idea, but honestly, is my opinion really going to be heard out of all the people who may be replying?” photography junior Daria Clarkson said. “I like [the program], but I don’t know how well [the program] will work.”
A few days after the video is posted, the discussion will close so advisers can read through comments and suggestions and organize responses for them. These responses will then be posted on the website.
Finance professor George Olander said he has some concerns about the new program.
“At a national level I am one in 300 million,” he said.
He added that the program is a good idea in the sense that the government is right to provide the public with more information on today’s issues, but that the organization of the program is too general.
“They would get millions of responses a day,” he said.
Olander suggested that the videos be more specific and geared toward the congressional level.
The White House has used other successful programs to reach out to the American people in the past, such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats.
In March 1933, during the Great Depression, Roosevelt used radio broadcasts to connect with the American people and discuss recent events. Roosevelt received hundreds of letters following each chat, and the broadcasts helped promote his agenda.
Political science professor Rodolfo Espino said Advise the Advisor reminded him of these fireside chats.
Other presidents adopted the fireside chats, which are known today as the President’s Weekly Address. The weekly addresses are now broadcast via YouTube. It has long been customary for a member of the opposing party to respond after each address.
Advise the Advisor is meant to be a closer connection to the average American, and allows a response from anyone who is interested.
Espino also said the program might be too broad in that an individual’s response would be hidden among thousands of other replies.
Espino said this new program will mainly pertain to “information seekers” and those with a propensity to use technology.
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