Brad Parscale was interviewed on CBS’ “60 Minutes” last night where he revealed that Trump supporting Facebook employees and customized ads won Donald Trump the election. [Caveat: while Parscale is forthcoming about the role of social media, and how the Trump campaign took it to new levels of expertise and won, he soft pedalled the influence of Russian bots on the campaign. That is the issue the House and Senate Intelligence Committees want to talk to him about and most likely pooh poohing the issue of Russian collusion is the reason that Parscale went on “60 Minutes” to begin with. My post from June, “Steve Bannon Crapping Diamonds...” has all the details on Brad Parscale, the committees, the bots and the Mercers.]
Brad Parscale told “60 Minutes” he was eating an omelette at IHOP when he got an email from the Trump campaign saying that they needed a website built in two days. He did it and charged $1,500. At the end of Trump’s campaign he had been paid $94Million. Parscale’s wife said it was as though he had “started out playing in the Super Bowl, never having played a game, and he won.” CBS News:
Lesley Stahl: I understand that part of these investigations that are going on is to understand how the Russians knew where to target their campaigns, their messages. They seemed to know specifically where to go-- that were places that helped Trump.
Brad Parscale: Yeah. First of all, I-- it's not very hard to figure out. Pennsylvania, Ohio, you know. I mean, the same-- I think we've had the same swing states for decades.
Parscale told us the Russian plotline is pushed by liberals who think they lost because he cheated. The irony, he says, is that it wasn't a foreign entity helping the campaign, but left-leaning American companies like Twitter, Google, and above all Facebook.
Brad Parscale: These social platforms are all invented by very liberal people on the West and East Coast, and we figure out how to use it to push conservative values. I don't think they ever thought that would happen. I would say the number one thing that people come up to me is, like, "I just never thought Republicans would be the ones to figure out how to use all this."
If the Republicans figured out how to use it, it was because they had Trump-supporting Facebook employees embedded within the Trump campaign.
Lesley Stahl: One of the best things Facebook did for you, I heard, was penetrate the rural vote. Is that correct?
Brad Parscale: Yeah. So Facebook now lets you get to places and places possibly that you would never go with TV ads. Now, I can find, you know, 15 people in the Florida Panhandle that I would never buy a TV commercial for. And, we took opportunities that I think the other side didn't.
Lesley Stahl: Like what?
Brad Parscale: Well, we had our-- their staff embedded inside our offices.
Lesley Stahl: What?
Brad Parscale: Yeah, Facebook employees would show up for work every day in our offices.
Lesley Stahl: Whoa, wait a minute. Facebook employees showed up at the Trump headquarters—
Brad Parscale: Google employees, and Twitter employees.
Lesley Stahl: They were embedded in your campaign?
Brad Parscale: I mean, like, they were there multiple days a week, three, four days a week, two days week, five days a week—
Lesley Stahl: What were they doing inside? I mean—
Brad Parscale: Helping teach us how to use their platform. I wanna get—
Lesley Stahl: Helping him get elected?
Brad Parscale: I asked each one of them by email, I wanna know every, single secret button, click, technology you have. "I wanna know everything you would tell Hillary's campaign plus some. And I want your people here to teach me how to use it."
Lesley Stahl: Inside?
Brad Parscale: Yeah, I want 'em sittin' right next to us—
Parscale totally whitewashed any Russian interference and he also downplayed the role of Cambridge Analytica and psychographics.
Parscale took some heat for taking microtargeting too far because he hired Cambridge Analytica. It's a company that uses so-called psychographics that microtarget ads based on personality. For instance, an extrovert would get one kind of message, a neurotic person another. It's controversial because of its Orwellian overtones.
After Trump won, Cambridge Analytica said it was key to the victory. But Parscale insists he never used psychographics. He said it doesn't work.
The Guardian disagrees with Brad Parscale. This is what they said about interference in their own election:
Cambridge Analytica, an offshoot of a British company, SCL Group, which has 25 years’ experience in military disinformation campaigns and “election management”, claims to use cutting-edge technology to build intimate psychometric profiles of voters to find and target their emotional triggers. Trump’s team paid the firm more than $6m (£4.8m) to target swing voters, and it has now emerged that Mercer also introduced the firm – in which he has a major stake – to Farage.
What Parscale told “60 Minutes” and what is real are two different things. Robert Mercer threatened to sue the Guardian last spring. The gravamen of that dispute was that two data firms tied to competing pro-Brexit Leave campaigns, Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica and Canada’s AggregateIQ, hadn’t disclosed a partnership. That is a possible violation of British election law. The firms denied having such a relationship. In addition, the Guardian did a series of articles on the topic of the Mercers and Cambridge Analytica’s interference in their election: “Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media” and “Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit” and “The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked.”
Both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are looking into the matter of psychographics, psychometric profiling and what the Russian bots did during the 2016 US election. Brad Parscale made every effort to downplay the issue of Russian collusion, even saying it was “a joke.” It makes complete sense that Parscale would take that attitude because Russia is the smoking gun. It is what will topple Trump and end his malignancy of a presidency.