Mayor Pete, The Hybrid Media System and Message


Categorie: Partner blog Leestijd: 5 minuten Auteur: Joël Grassère

Mayor Pete is clearly aware of the hybrid media system

He addresses various social groups to cultivate an image that is similar to everyone. However, he emphasized different points to fit into differing micro-hegemonies. I will discuss Twitter, Fox News, and daily show coverage in trying to prove so. 

Mayor Pete

First mayor Pete’s real name is Pete Buttigieg. He is known as mayor Pete because he emphasizes the fact that he was Mayor of South Bend Indiana. He tells interviewers to call him that. During debates, this fact was used to chastise him. He attempted to turn it around by saying he can bring a new wind due to this relatively minor experience. Thus his initial message of himself as a mayor was recontextualized by a new messenger, however, he turned that decontextualization around. In this, he created part of his message. 


Now, I want to talk about Mayor Pete’s Twitter. Here he walks a tightrope, of being an alternative for moderate republicans and democrats. Segments by Fox news(conservative) and MSNBC(liberal)can be found on his Twitter. Therefore some traits he shows like military service index conservativeness. Others such as being pro Covid-19 reforms index progressiveness. He does not mention his sexuality nor religiosity here. These are too high in orders of indexicality as liberal or conservative. He needs to balance those. His commenters express diverse beliefs. There is a lot of negativity, especially from the republican side.

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Trump supporter negative on Buttigieg

This shapes his message as a moderate. It also makes him look like a weaker candidate. In a polarized field like the US being a moderate makes any politician a target for hardliners. 

Fox News 

Moreover, on Fox, he tries to appeal to the moderate republicans. He even says republicans need to chose between being a McCain or Trump republican . In the fox news item “DNC speakers: What to know about Pete Buttigieg”. The messenger uses him in their narrative. They state “Buttigieg did not hold back in criticizing Biden”. Fox emphasized Mayor Pete’s military experience. They almost seem lukewarm positive about him. His sexuality is noticeably absent. Homosexuality is an indexical of progressiveness. Thus this conservative messenger makes Mayor Petes message about resisting progressiveness in the democratic party. 

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Fox on Mayor Pete and Biden

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Fox on Mayor Pete

The Daily show

Lastly, I will cover the daily show(progressive). Here there was a segment called getting to know Pete Buttigieg.  His homosexuality and younger age are emphasized. These are indexicals of progressiveness.  A contrast is made between Mayor Pete and progressives in his party. Again, many fox news images are used. The messenger thus makes his image more progressive but also contrasts it with even more progressive ones.