Diary

The Washington Post Tries to Torpedo Pete Buttigieg's Candidacy

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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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It was this tweet from The Washington Post which alerted me to the article:

Suspecting that the tweet might just get edited, I took a screenshot rather than just embedding the tweet. You can click on it to enlarge.

Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is one of about two dozen people running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. The chief executive of a medium sized city — the guesstimated population in 2017 was 102,245 — Mr Buttigieg needs something to make him stand out from the much better better known candidates, and he’s found it: he’s homosexual!

Not that he somehow became homosexual just to run for office; that’s simply part of his life. But it’s become a major part of seemingly every story written about him.

LGBT rights gain prominence with Pete Buttigieg’s entrance into the presidential race

By Eugene Scott | April 16, 2019 | 6:30 AM EDT

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is a lot of things — a millennial, a veteran, a Midwesterner and more. But one of his identities appears to be attracting more attention than others: He is a gay man.

Following the presidency of Barack Obama, many gay Americans contend the fight for LGBT rights has stalled and, in some cases, reversed. In the mayor of South Bend, Ind., some see a candidate who might be able to continue the work that they hoped would have come had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 presidential election.

In his presidential campaign announcement speech Sunday, Buttigieg signaled that prioritizing LGBT rights will be a high priority for his administration. In one of the three focus areas of his announcement speech — “freedom” — Buttigieg talked about the importance of gay people to live without the government limiting their rights.

“And take it from Chasten and me: You are certainly not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their political beliefs,” he said, referring to his husband. “The chance to live a life of your choosing, in keeping with your values: That is freedom in its richest sense.

There’s more at the original.

The original also includes a 2:10 video of Mr Buttigieg’s ‘official’ campaign declaration, at the end of which the viewer can see Mr Buttigieg and his ‘husband’ embracing.

But the scene of the two of them kissing? That’s not in the video. Nor is it a still photo anywhere in the article, at least not as the article was presented when I opened it at 8:45 EDT this morning. Yet somehow, some way, when the tweet was posted, the photo is of two males kissing.

Now, let’s face facts: while public acceptance of homosexuality is increasing, there is something about an image of two males kissing that invokes a feeling of disgust among a lot of people, especially among men. One of those links is from Andy Alexander, in 2010 the Post’s Ombudsman, so it isn’t as though no one at the newspaper is aware of such reactions.

Most of the ombudsman columns I found about the subject dealt with such photos in articles about the legalization of homosexual marriage. In Mr Buttigieg’s case, that was more incidental to the story, though it was certainly mentioned.

So, who arranged for the tweet to carry an image that a lot of people will find very negative? The Post’s Twitter feed has 13.6 million followers, which means that a whole lot of people were greeted with that image this morning. Did someone intend to hurt Mr Buttigieg’s candidacy?

With Mr Buttigieg needing some sort of wedge, something to set himself above the ‘minor’ candidates in the large Democratic candidate pool, he may well see this as helpful to his campaign. All publicity, it has been said, is good publicity. But having photos like the one the Post tweeted might not do him much good.
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