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Conclusive remarks

Illustrating how CPI communicates is crucial to understand how the group achieved the high profile it currently enjoys. The results point at two major aspects of its communication repertoire: the infrastructure and the specific style by which the group approaches the media.

First, we find that CPI has caught the attention of the media thanks to its communication infrastructure. This rests on a complex set of media outlets and practices, which serve functions of internal communication, as well as diffusion towards the outside world. We observed that the newspaper of CPI addresses primarily group members similar to the house organs of political parties. Additional online media platforms, including the website, web radio and web TV, are located at an intermediate level and aim at both internal and external audiences, whereas the social media profiles are predominantly used for external communication and propaganda. We argue that this variegated infrastructure of media outlets and practices is closely connected with CPI’s ambition to address audiences inside and beyond the restricted milieu of extreme-right supporters, extending into the political mainstream.

Second, we find that the high profile enjoyed by CPI in the media also relates to its particular communication style. This is based on a ‘marketing mix’ intended to satisfy the needs of composite audiences in the protest and electoral arenas. On the one hand, especially in the early years, CPI tried to differentiate its public profile from that of rival political parties, presenting itself as a protest movement and putting special emphasis on extreme-right political content and unconventional messages. On the other, and increasingly so over time, CPI aimed at consolidating its image as a legitimate political party, developing a more conventional communication style as well as a centralized electoral campaigning strategy.

Overall, CPI’s visibility in the mass media owes much to this hybrid strategy and the combination of the professionalized media-oriented tactics of political parties and of social movements. The group’s communication style, in fact, taps into commercial media demand for entertaining stories and simplified messages, exploiting the often-ambivalent relationship between the media and the far right (De Jonge 2019). CPI’s communication infrastructure, furthermore, ensured the recognizabil- ity of the group not only among extreme-right sympathizers but also among mainstream audiences and journalists. This hybrid repertoire of communication consolidated the high profile of CPI in the media, facilitating the drift of its fringe messages into the political mainstream.

Notes

  • 1 The website of the publisher is: https://altafortedizioni.it/chi-siamo/ (accessed 16/12/2018).
  • 2 In April 2019, CPI could count on 39,000 Twitter followers, Simone Di Stefano had 28,000 followers, whereas Gianluca Iannone only 1,800.
  • 3 Interestingly, CPI’s motto on Twitter is still ‘Destra, sinistra ... oppure CasaPound’ (Right, left ... or CasaPound).
  • 4 In particular, well-known figures of the intellectual far-right milieu like the philosopher Diego Fusaro (// Secolo d’Italia 2014) or the art critic and politician Vittorio Sgarbi (II Secolo Nnovo 2012).
  • 5 See for example the case of the opening of the new seat in the city of Parma (Gazzetta di Partita 2016).
  • 6 The event had extensive coverage by the local and the national press. The ANPI (National Association of Italian Partisans) called for a counter mobilization, with a march taking place during the opening day of the meeting.
  • 7 The statement was made on the Italian TV show Piazza Pnlita, aired on 4 November 2014 at the studios of La7. The video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=WBIIRurWrG4 (accessed 20/05/2017).
  • 8 On traditional media (TV and radio), candidates and parties are granted equal treatment under the par cottdicio law (Law no. 28 of 2000).
 
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