Find it  - Talk about it  - Shop for it   

LOOK FOR 

 
Print this      Email it



Getting Out the Parody Vote
by Manny Frishberg

3:00 a.m. Sep. 14, 2000 PDT

   

SEATTLE -- Laughing at political candidates can turn out to be serious business. Just ask Zack Exley.

His gwbush.com site, probably the best known parody of George W. Bush's official campaign website, is now making money from banner ads and merchandise.


    





P O L I T I C S
  Today's Headlines
3:00 a.m. Sep. 14, 2000 PDT
 
Libertarian: Leave Tech Alone

Getting Out the Parody Vote

Entertainment Empire Fights Back

Kids' Sites Cite COPPA Woes

Privacy Group Drops Amazon

Calif. Net Tax Bill a Job Cutter?

Pre-Olympic Protests in Melbourne

Media Violence in the Hot Seat

Reno Talks Tough on Piracy

Congress Next in Copyright Tiffs

Gates: Globalization Is Good

U.S. Calls Mexico on Phone Rates

Surprise: Protests at Econ Confab

Ed-Tech Looks for Answers

Bad News for Napster

Net-Sold Wine Makes Me Feel Fine

High Court Silent on MS Ruling

Fodors for Free Speechers

Dot-Com's Version of Ross Perot


See also:
Legal Tips for Your Sucks Sites
Musical Interns Mock MS
Metallica Net Parody Flashy Fun
Everybody's got issues in Politics

But his commercial success is only part of the story, according to Barbara Warnick, a communications professor at the University of Washington who has been studying parody websites in this year's presidential campaign.

She believes parody sites -- of which there are many -- could actually be influencing voters.

"While many readers could freely sample site content and be entertained, they were (also) likely to be persuaded," Warnick says in an as-yet-unpublished study.

Warnick found that as parody sites become more sophisticated, they are also becoming more influential, especially because almost a quarter of Internet users say they receive at least some of their information about the candidates online.

It's still unclear whether the sophistication of the sites will result in fooling a segment of the voting population.

"The people who are most likely to be affected by parody sites are the ones whose opinions about the candidates are the least well-formed," said Jan P. Vermeer, a political science professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Exley's site, gwbush.com, is quite close in tone to the official georgewbush.com site, sounding so realistic that it offers a false sense of credibility.

Then again, the Bush campaign didn't do itself any favors by drawing attention to the site.

The campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, which decided there were too many other, serious matters to bother with it.

But the notoriety attending the Bush campaign's humorless reaction propelled Exley's site, and others like it, to national prominence.

A number of the websites Warnick studied are not only wickedly funny, but technically advanced as well, keeping pace with the official sites they're satirizing.

1 of 2  Next  >>


Have a comment on this article? Send it.
Printing? Use this version.
Email this to a friend.



Feedback  |  Help  |  About Us  |  Jobs  |  Advertise
Editorial Policy  | 
Privacy Statement  |  Terms and Conditions

Copyright 2000 Wired Digital Inc., a Lycos Network site. All rights reserved.