Any Port in a Storm: Petition Regarding Piers Morgan Deportation Pointless

27 Dec

It still amazes me what is considered “news” these days. Long gone are the days when really important stories or issues were the main topics reported. Now we have faux and manufactured news like the Piers Morgan deportation White House petition [1] and counter petition, on a third party website[2]. This is what passes for news to people these days? Sadly yes.

How does the process work? The frequently asked questions page[3] outlines the following general process:

There are two critical thresholds for We the People. First, a minimum number of signatures is necessary for the petition to be publicly listed on We the People and searchable. Second, a minimum number of signatures is necessary in a given amount of time in order for the petition to be reviewed by the White House, distributed to the appropriate policy officials within the Administration and receive an official response. This response will be posted and linked to the petition on WhiteHouse.gov, as well as emailed to all of the petition signers. Petitions that do not cross this threshold in the given time frame will be removed from the site.

The first minimum requirement to be posted on the website is 150. The second minimum requirement to get a response from the White House is 25,000. While the numbers sound reasonable for a petition to get some type of response, in this digital age of easy access, they are far to easily attained, even within the current time frame set by the White House.

These White House petitions got a spotlight in the news just a short time ago this year after the re-election of Barack Obama. A petition to allow Texas to secede [4] was created which lead to other states getting similar type petitions. So far the Texas petition has racked up a total of 122,954 “signatures” but no response from the White House. It is the second most popular petition with the Piers Morgan deportation petition just behind it. The most popular, with 264,102 signatures, is a petition with the request to “Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.”

The large number of “signatures” isn’t very impressive since it takes very little effort to create a couple of junk accounts which allow anyone to either create or respond to these petitions. For example, a person can go to gmail.com, outlook.com, yahoo.com etc… and create a disposable email account. Once the email account is setup, the person can go to the White House petition website and create an account there using the new disposable email address. The site asks for a first and last name but no one is stopping people from using fake names like Mike Hunt, Seamore Buts, IP Frealy, etc. Once the new petition account has been setup it’s time to go either “sign” a petition or create a new one. If a person chooses to sign a petition, the response shows up in the petition page details with the first name, last initial and “signature” number. If a zip code was provided (not required and could be real or made up), the city and state will be displayed as well.

This clearly shows the fallacy of internet based petitions. It’s too easy for anyone to create a fake “person” to either create or “sign” a petition. All this does is water down the real power behind a well done, physical petition. To create a petition there are certain requirements one is supposed to meet before being able to create an account. Again, looking at the frequently asked questions page they are:

Anyone 13 or older can create or sign an online petition seeking a federal government action on a range of issues. Then it’s up to the petition creator and signers to build support for the petition by gathering more signatures.

In other words, these petitions aren’t limited to the adult, voting population, which would make the most sense. Anyone who has just entered puberty can create any nonsensical petition in hopes enough “signatures” will be made to get a response from the White House or just make a few clicks and “sign” a petition to support it. They might even get their 15 minutes of fame if it goes viral and the media outlets think it will get them some ratings. This process cannot be taken seriously by anyone with a rational mind. And anyone who is foolish enough to report any petition on this website as news needs to be fired because they have no clue how to be a real journalist.

People in the United States have the right to freedom of speech, within the confines of the current laws. It is a right which is cherished and protected, almost to a fault. Petitions are one way in which the people use this right to express their grievances with the government. At one time it was viable way for the people to get the attention politicians and news organizations on specific issues. Today, the petition has lost much of its power due to the dilution of how easy it is to create and get “signatures” as well. The people now have different avenues to voice their concerns, though they may not have quite the punch the petition once did.

References –

  1. Piers Petition
  2. Counter Petition
  3. White House Petition FAQs
  4. Texas Petition
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One Response to “Any Port in a Storm: Petition Regarding Piers Morgan Deportation Pointless”

  1. Jan January 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Good information that most people don’t know.

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