Online Activism - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/13/03

Online Activism

There's no doubt about it: 12th District Democratic activist Mike Jacobs has an agenda.

"Max Burns, for our party I mean, Max Burns is the number one targeted Republican in the country," he told us.

Like all political activists, he wants to get the word out. But this young Democrat has taken a new approach to furthering his party's goals: the Burns Watch website.

"Basically the way that it works is that we develop material to put on the front page of the website that is passed around to a committee of people," he explained. "I email it around for comment."

Max Burns, like most politicians, addresses the issues in his words on his own website. But for activists, the accessibility of the internet makes organizing faster and easier, and even helps those who rely on more traditional media.

"The county Democratic parties in Bulloch County--Statesboro--and Richmond County--Augusta--have reprinted, in whole, articles that we have posted on the website in their Democratic party newsletter," said Jacobs.

And it's also a resource for gathering information.

"We actually link to the FEC, the Federal Election Commission website, which lists the campaign contributors," he said.

Jacobs feels this is the cutting edge of political organizing, and advises activists, whatever their politics, to go for it, but steer clear of electioneering and stick to the issues.

"You offer ideas and you criticize only on the issues, then you're exercising your First Amendment rights," he said. "And that sort of political speech I think is a wonderful, wonderful thing."

We did speak with Max Burns' office while working on this story, where they told us that, while they don't agree with this particular site's content, they very much agree with everyone's freedom of speech.

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