chapter  3
28 Pages

Parody With a Purpose: Online Political Parody in the 2000 Presidential Campaign

Before the 2000 Presidential campaign got underway, George W. Bush's political advisors registered dozens ofInternet domain names to preempt heir use by Web site creators interested in political parody and satire. Bush's advisors thought of off-color and pejorative names, such as bushsucks.com and bushbites.com, but they neglected the innocuous gwbush.com, which was purchased by Zack Exley, a 29-year-old computer programmer from New York. By April 1999, Exley had established a Web site and begun lampooning Bush's supposed past drug use and political hypocrisy. The events that followed show that political parody can be a serious matter, as tactical errors by the Bush camp contributed to the popularity of Exley's site and gave it a national reputation.