...In the past, to tell President Bush — or at least those assigned to read his mail — 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 email@example.com.
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....
"This is the most ridiculous Web form for contacting someone I have ever seen," said Mr. Matzzie, who is a professional Web site designer.
Having sent his e-mail message on Tuesday, Mr. Matzzie said he was still waiting for a response.
--from tomorrow's New York Times
The Times page also provides this pop-up chart, which accurately depicts how tedious the process is.
I tried it. (You can, too, at whitehouse.gov, if you can find the word "CONTACT.") In the article, Tom Matzzie complains about not being able to find "Unemployment" or "Jobs" after choosing "Economy" on screen #4. Well, I chose "Legal/Judicial" and I couldn't find "Judicial Nominees" or any subcategory like it -- my only choices were "245I Immigration Issue" (whatever the hell that is), "Amnesty (Mexico/Canada)," "Campaign Finance Reform," "Death Penalty," "Election Reform" (which, I guess, doesn't include Campaign Finance Reform), "Immigration" -- why "245I Immigration Issue" and "Amnesty (Mexico/Canada)" had to be broken out from "Immigration," I'm not sure -- "Pledge of Allegiance," "Pornography," "Racial Profiling," "Tort Reform," and "United States Refugee Program" (again, why this isn't under "Immigration," I'm not sure). And don't look for "Military Tribunal" under "Legal/Judicial," though it is under "General Defense/Homeland Security."
You also have to use a form to e-mail the Web Development Team (go here). Your e-mail address is requested, but you're told in no uncertain terms thatyou won't get a reply. Odd.
Curiously, you can still e-mail Dick Cheney directly, at firstname.lastname@example.org. And hey, maybe you should.