Research Articles

Protest Email as Alternative Media in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Campaign



This paper examines humorous protests against U.S. President George W. Bush in the year preceding his re-election, which were dispersed online through email. Utilizing Atton's Typology for Radical and Alternative Media (2002), this paper argues that these protest email fall squarely within the tradition of U.S. alternative media. It also proposes a rudimentary typology for categorizing such email-based protests, referring to them as "virals" in order to foreground not only their non-hierarchical distribution and quotidian nature, but also their at times multimedia, performative, disruptive, or experiential aspects. The subject is limited by three major parameters: virals that are humorous, dissenting, and email-borne. Ultimately, by positioning these virals within the history of U.S. dissident or alternative media, this paper construes individuals using email to disseminate creative protests as Internet-era publishers or not-necessarily-broad-casters, and, as such, vital components of a liberal democratic political communications system.

Keywords: protest, alternative media, cartoon, animation, presidential campaign, viral, email, politics, Internet

How to Cite: Scott, D. (2017) “Protest Email as Alternative Media in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Campaign”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 2(1). doi: