Mayor Pete, Hybrid Media system, Message

Mayor Pete, The Hybrid Media System and Message

Blog
Joël Grassère
21/10/2020

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. 

 

Twitter

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.

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. 

Fox on Mayor Pete and Biden

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. 

Conclusion

All things considered, mayor Pete attempts to make a moderate coalition. He does this by getting different messages out to different people. His twitter is where this converges as individual comments section show conflict and weakness. Thus media on all sides form his message by working him into their agenda. He uses this on the internet to cultivate a middle-ground message that varies for everyone. Commenters make that message look weak. To some, he is the gay millennial to others he is the veteran mayor. He is thus always only on message to a certain audience and context. Twitter makes him look inconsistent on message. 

References:

M. Lempert, M. Silverstein.,(2012) Creatures of politics, Indiana University press