Home & Office

Will's Web Watch: Net tightens on Bush victory

Conspiracy theories abound as web gossip undermines Republican win...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Conspiracy theories abound as web gossip undermines Republican win...

Since the US presidential election was called in the favour of George W Bush the world's netizens have been rounding on the result and preparing for another four years of pouring scorn on the out-of-favour 'leader of the Free World'.

The reason for the fiercest criticism currently would appear to be the e-voting technology used to register and collate votes and a perceived bias on the part of the company which provided a lot of the technology. (It's probably worth noting at this point that silicon.com bears no responsibility for the content of external links.) The alleged controversy has even become the subject of a spam email which is doing the rounds.

Diebold - the company concerned - isn't helped in defending its position by its chairman and CEO having strong links to the Republican Party through his fundraising activities.

In 2003, shortly before winning the contract to provide voting technology for the presidential election, Walden W O'Dell said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president."

It is easy to see how some people have read a lot into that.

The anonymity of the internet and the high level of freedom of speech guaranteed in the US Constitution mean those writing online to blogs and websites outside the media mainstream have been able to talk freely about such issues.

Of course there are those which should be viewed with a degree of scepticism for the very reason that they enjoy that unaccountability, but there are those which prove enlightening, infuriating and even occasionally entertaining.

The election result hasn't just given rise to conspiracy theories and reports of perceived scandal. There are also a great many other sites springing up with their own take on the re-election of Bush.

MarryAnAmerican is a tongue-in-cheek Canadian contact website which gives Democrats the chance to escape their country and marry one of their more right-minded neighbours north of the border (or perhaps that should be 'left-minded'). The site promises: "No good American will be left behind."

It's a good idea in the short term, though it doesn't bode well for future elections if a Democrat exodus flees the country.

And then there is SorryEverybody.com which offers thousands of pictures of genuinely sorry-looking Americans who are apologising for their countrymen and women who re-elected the Toxic Texan.

Of course the web turning on the Bush administration is nothing new - the 'WMD' scandal perhaps brought one of the most famous reactions. (Try typing "weapons of mass destruction" into Google and hitting 'I feel lucky' and you will get this page.)

Editorial standards