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There is no doubt that the Internet has changed the political world that we live in. This year so-called online bloggers reported back from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, providing readers with personal, behind-the-scenes accounts of the two parties' campaign pep rallies. But perhaps even more noteworthy, political organizations were able to use the Internet to disseminate a strongly progressive and anti-war message that had been mostly absent from corporate, mainstream media. In addition, these groups were able, for the first time, to raise significant amounts of money - nationally and in a short amount of time - in support of their campaign efforts.
In this issue of PR Watch, we depart from our usual reporting on manipulative PR campaigns and take a look at how two campaigns - Howard Dean for President and MoveOn.org - have harnessed new technology to serve a growing American grassroots,. pro-democracy movement. Center of Media & Democracy research director Sheldon Rampton reports back on the two campaigns, basing his articles on research compiled on Disinfopedia.org (a CMD project, see PR Watch, 4th Quarter, 2003).
Also in this issue, senior researcher Diane Farsetta investigates the new group Move America Forward, a Republican Internet organization. Disinfopedia editor Bob Burton profiles the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, a conservative group dedicated to creating right-wing think tanks. Plus we've included a couple pictures from our 10th anniversary celebration. This issue also marks PR Watch's expansion to 16 pages and the addition of a page featuring our books and giving you an opportunity to further support our work.