"Love it or leave it!" is a slogan that has been burned into the collective consciousness of every American for as long as memory permits. It has been used as a master deflection technique in an attempt to justify whatever it is that its user is typically in favor of. It's one I try to avoid because it doesn't allow for much middle-ground. However, six months ago I had completely adopted it towards the Republican party and their disdain for Twitter. Time and time again you would see comment after comment, news article after article, heaps of interviews with conservatives that felt they were being slighted because someone in control (usually George Soros, or some other liberal person/organization that they can try to tie whatever weird narrative it is that they've already cemented mentally), doesn't want "the real truth" available to the masses. Well, leaving it they are.
The GOP's Parler Tricks
Written By: Anton Sawyer
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In August of 2018, a new kid in app-town arrived to allow just such a thing; Parler.
For those of you unaware, Parler is a social media app whose slogan—which can be found everywhere on the site—is that it is the "Free Speech Social Network." Having some initial success upon its release, it wasn't until the 2020 Presidential Election that it really blew up. With help from endorsements by Senator Ted Cruz (R), and Congressman Devin Nunes (R), the Republican base began downloading it in droves. According to estimates from Sensor Tower—a company whose job it is to analyze mobile app data—from November 3rd to November 9th, 2020, Parler was downloaded more than two million times in the United States. In fact, on November 9th, the app generated approximately 880,000 installs in the United States from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
When going to Parler, you begin to notice that some things aren't exactly as they appear. The first is that they say they prohibit SPAMMING, but the advertising for various conservative political figures is all over the place. The second is that they don't really follow through with the whole "free speech" thing if you aren't on the right side of the fence.
One such case is a man named Tony Posnanski. He received a ban from Parler within 24 hours. A Google search of his name will show that the results include phrases like "liberal writer" and “comedian.” Something else that has been seen frequently is that if you do some liberal trolling on the site, you will be banned fairly quickly.
Though the reasons a person would want to use this app can vary, the one quote I read that was echoed by most came from an average citizen from West Dakota named Alexandria Splonskowski, "I was just sick of being censored for just posting different opinions nothing hurtful, nothing harmful, just having a different viewpoint than the far left."
Humans are the only creatures in the Animal Kingdom that can not only lie to themselves but also believe those lies.
Therein resides the problem.
If you post something that has racial overtones, but you don't see yourself as a racist, you want to be able to express yourself without the worry of someone else's perception. As humans, we don't like to associate ourselves with elements that ostracize us from the herd. We also want our feelings to be heard and to be understood as a person—this is why we respond negatively to being told to "shut up." It's when this toxic cocktail is shaken that we see the indignance displayed. This is typically epitomized when they happen to re-tweet a quote that perfectly sums up their ideas on work ethic but doesn't realize until later that the person who originally said it was a genocidal maniac. It shouldn't matter because they knew their intent was good.
In many cases regarding the Parler-People, the intent behind what was said, not who actually said it or how it may be perceived by anyone other than the poster, is what's important. You want a place where you can write your feelings, and not have to worry about someone pointing out that what you posted may have been tied to someone who is known in their country for perpetuating ethnic cleansing. It was because of this disconnect—along with the research I was doing to see the political side-effects when you combine lack of self-awareness with high self-ideation (a.k.a "The Kruger-Dunning Effect")—that lead me to work for the Republican National Committee under the direction of Reince Priebus for six months in 2015 as an outbound fundraiser. You know those people who call you at night, right when you're about to sit down with your family for dinner, and then the phone rings and ruins it? That was me.
It's one thing to hear a politician on the TV tell you who they are and what they stand for. It's another when you call people on their behalf to raise money for the entire political party. I worked there for six months in order to see what exactly was being said to the base "behind closed doors," because that is where you see the REAL messaging; boots on the ground. By this point, I had over 10 years of phone experience doing everything from cold-call outbound sales, to customer service for a worldwide entertainment corporation, and all points in-between. I had the tools to calm someone down who is very angry, how to show appropriate empathy, build rapport, and have them leave feeling a little bit better than before they spoke to me. It was because of this I paid VERY close attention to the scripts we used. The tone, verbiage, responses, all of it. After six months of working there, I had spoken to literally thousands of people and had all the information and experience I needed.
The thing that I always marveled at was how easily the people you spoke to would just go along with whatever you told them. That level of trust is something that can only be harvested through sincere and intense dedication, and a mountain size of belief. We used that trust to our advantage. The entire exercise of the calls was to scare the living hell out of the person on the other end, and then have them utterly convinced that if they do not financially support the GOP, their worst nightmares would come true. We would make things up about the economy and their Social Security. How the liberals want to drain all of the entitlement programs of the elderly so they are left to fend for themselves. After each horrible scenario, we would mention something about the liberals, or Obama, and how they were somewhat responsible for those abhorrent things happening. We never outright said every bad thing was directly because of Obama, but we would mention him and find some way to tie it in with some hellish scenario. We would also tell them how lucky they were that we had people like Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and supporters who were intelligent enough to see through the liberal media and their lies.
Because we never actually used any real data, we didn't have to worry about fact-checking, or giving any kind of concrete evidence to anything we were saying. Afterward, we would ask for a donation. We badgered them. We had to get three definite no's before we could move on. And they had to be "no." Anything else would just keep them on the line. "Not right now," "maybe," "let me check with my spouse, can you call back?" No, we couldn't call back. The first two no's were responded with pleas to help. After the second one, we would bring out another yarn to spin about how only through their support can we stop the socialist regime from destroying our democracy and causing America to crumble. If we got the third one, we'd set them up for a callback in a month or two and get them off the phone as fast as possible. From the very first moment of the call to the very last, we wanted to keep them in the echo chamber—it was like giving water to a dying plant.
It's because of the work I did, along with the conservative news media, that has helped to perpetuate the fractures that are already so deep as to prevent any kind of healing that could be thought of within the two sides of the country.
The conservatives do not want to hear anything that contradicts them. They do not want to know that the things they believe in have no substantive backing.
Parler is the perfect place for just such a thing.
Like all of the other fallout from the revocation of the FCC's Fairness Doctrine in 1987, Parler is not going away any time soon; it is the Fox News of social media.
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