USA: Where Trump Finds Alternatives to Twitter and Fox News

Dhe message from Donald Trump was short and to the point. “Try to watch @OAN,” the incumbent American president appealed to his Twitter community on Monday morning: “Really great!” It is Trump’s latest attempt to promote the strictly conservative special interest broadcaster One American News (OAN) and, by the way, his long-time favorite Fox News making life difficult.

While Trump is drumming for OAN, his die-hard supporters are trying harder than ever to create their own echo chamber. The presidential election, the victory of Trump’s challenger Joe Biden, but above all the attempt by the president and his entourage to delegitimize the election as “stolen”, drives “alternative” media to millions of new customers in the USA.

“Parler” is the name of an app that is an alternative to Twitter. The app describes itself as the world’s leading social media for free expression. Parler is alluding to the policy of Twitter and Facebook to censor content of their users or to provide warnings.

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In May, Twitter subjected Trump’s posts to a fact check for the first time and provided them with a corresponding warning. Trump then threatened to regulate or close the “big tech” companies that he hated and used regularly. In the first two so marked tweets, Trump warned of the potential for fraud in postal votes and a “manipulated election”.

Since Trump lost the election (while Republicans fared better than expected in the congressional election), the president has posted dozens of tweets flagged by Twitter. On Monday morning alone, before his appeal to watch OAN, there were two. Among them was Trump’s claim: “I won the election!”

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Trump has not yet publicly threatened to leave Twitter. He has 89 million followers there, a few million more than at the beginning of the year. Trump is not yet present on Parler. But quite a few of his colleagues have at least taken the first step and opened an account on Parler. Trump’s son Donald junior has been romping there since July. He has 83,000 Parler followers (and 6.3 million on Twitter).

Trump fans should feel comfortable on Parler

If you visit the Parler app, you will quickly come across Republicans, such as the Texan Senator Ted Cruz, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani or conservative TV stars like Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson. The “New York Times” cannot be found, but the conservative “New York Post” can. If the political echo chambers in the USA are too plural for you, you have to feel comfortable as a Trump fan on Parler. In mirror image, hardly a democrat would dare to go there. There is a Joe Bidens account, opened in August 2019, but not a single post. Two weeks after the election, the elected president is still operating as the “Democratic candidate 2020”.

Parler, founded in 2018 by software developers John Matze and Jared Thomson in the US state of Nevada, describes itself as a platform for communication between “people with different life experiences”. Treat them equally. Not the company itself, but a jury of voluntary users should enforce the guidelines “fairly”, for example against threats of violence.

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John Matze, the company’s founder, CEO and co-owner, has to defend himself against precisely the kind of conspiracy theories that Trump and his supporters are currently promoting more than ever.

After a few days ago it was claimed on social media that the American investor George Soros, hated by the American right, was the owner of Parler (and Fox News), Matze made it clear that he owned Parler himself, “a small one Group of Close Friends and Co-workers ”as well as two strategic investors, Dan Bongino and Jeffrey Wernick. Parler was also “not sold”, announced Matze.

It’s not a Twitter yet

As much as the app is gaining popularity, it is still a long way from the politically effective success and mass audience that Twitter is its own. Just one example: Maria Bartiromo, presenter of the television channel Fox Business, announced with a roar that she would in future distribute journalistic Scoops on Parler, not on Twitter: “I’ll be leaving Twitter soon and switching to Parler,” wrote Bartiromo in a tweet: ” Please open an account at @parler immediately. “

She justified this, among other things, by not wanting to be censored by “faceless twenty year olds”. But Bartiromo now has just 10,000 followers on Parler, but still 915,000 on Twitter – almost a hundred times as many. Parler could become massively effective if Donald Trump leaves Twitter. But is Trump giving up his fan (and prospect) community so easily, not knowing if they will all follow him at Parler?

Trump is more decisive in his dealings with Fox News. It seems as if a long-term friendship, a powerful business relationship is coming to an end. Trump was particularly upset by Fox’s decision on election night to declare his challenger Biden the winner in the state of Arizona. Fox held on to it for days, while the left-wing liberal television broadcaster CNN – which is linked to Trump in mutual hatred – has not yet committed to it. The New York Times also awarded Arizona Biden just a few days ago, over a week after election night. Biden is about 10,500 votes, or 0.3 percentage points, ahead of Trump.

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Trump is said to have raged on election night over Fox’s commitment to Biden’s victory in Arizona, as this news marked the beginning of the end of his presidency. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner immediately called media entrepreneur and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch to complain about the Fox News editorial team’s decision. As much as the proclamation of Biden looks like an attempt at emancipation by Fox News against Trump, the broadcaster justifies this decision solely on the basis of its data.

Trump’s alienation from Fox News

But the alienation between Trump and Fox News predates the November 3rd presidential election. On the one hand, Trump has had two unconditional supporters at Fox News in the form of presenters Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson for years at prime time, as well as presenters who ask him questions of courtesy and rarely interrupt the legendary telephone interviews. Trump is all the more annoyed with such an independent mind as journalist Chris Wallace, who works for the same broadcaster.

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Trump assumed a “lack of talent” in the summer, after Wallace coolly countered the president’s creative handling of facts in an interview: “That’s not true, sir!” The debate between Trump and Biden, moderated by Wallace, came to an end before the election chaos, especially because the president was rowdy like a schoolboy and accused Wallace of partiality.

Fox News has joined “the mainstream media” and is censoring “facts”, which is why more and more leading figures all over the world (!) Are now watching OAN, the right-wing special interest broadcaster announces on Twitter, where it is followed by just 1.3 million accounts . (Fox News has 20 million followers on Twitter, CNN 51 million.) OAN is “telling the truth,” OAN says of itself.

OAN makes front against Covid precautionary measures

OAN reports so extensively on Trump’s lawsuits against the election, but ignores how many lawsuits have been dismissed and that lawyers are already giving up their mandates in this matter. The station also makes front against Covid precautionary measures.

Chanel Rion, 30, OAN correspondent in the White House since 2019, developed a legendary reputation within a very short time. Spreading conspiracy theories, she traveled to Ukraine with Giuliani. Rion disregarded the anti-Covid measures in the press room and received special invitations from Trump’s press staff. For the mini-broadcaster OAN, she received the greatest possible attention with questions of courtesy to Trump, preferably on the subject of abortion. Trump repeatedly allowed Rion to ask him questions, sometimes with the hint: “OAN. Very well. You treat me very nicely. “

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FILE - This March 27, 2008 file photo shows the Pentagon in Washington. Defense officials say a Trump loyalist and former Fox News commentator has been moved in to the Pentagon’s top policy job, just a few months after he failed to get through Senate confirmation because of offensive remarks he made, including about Islam. Officials say Anthony Tata, a retired Army one-star general, will be performing the duties of the undersecretary for defense policy. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Should Trump resume his television career after his early departure from the White House, buy or found a station, OAN could possibly play a role. Chanel Rion certainly still has a few questions in store. By the way, she is already present on Parler and has 67,000 followers there. Her first tweet was from June and is her last so far. For Rion it is extremely factual, you could also say irrelevant, goes: “I just joined Parler. I look forward to meeting everyone here. “

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