ProPublica has published an interactive database of 500 videos scraped from the far-right social networking site Parler, which went offline shortly after the insurrection after it was banned by Google, Apple, and Amazon Web Services. The video database is organized by time and location.
Writes ProPublica’s Alex Gillis: “The videos are certainly not the last word on the subject, but taken together they do help us answer two key questions about the mob: Who were they and what were their motivations? In a decade, historians will still be writing doctoral dissertations about these questions, just as they did about the crowd that stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789 or the mob in Adolf Hitler’s beer hall putsch. But these Parler videos deepen our understanding and take us beyond the glimpses visible so far from the relatively small number of people who have been charged with crimes.”
“To watch most of these videos, as I sought to do in recent days, and see the seat of our representative government turned into the object of a violent attack by fellow Americans is overwhelming,” Gillis adds. “And what struck me most about them is just how much this assemblage of people assaulting the Capitol reminded me of people I had seen and spoken with over the years at regular Republican campaign events, going all the way back to Sarah Palin’s electric appearances in 2008. At my first Trump rally in 2016, at an airplane hangar outside Dayton, Ohio, I had been amazed by the cross section on display: There were husbands in golf caps with well-manicured wives, frat boys, fathers with sons. All of them, all that year, had thrilled to Trump’s toxic rambles about heroin-toting Mexicans, Democratic voter fraud (a theme he had picked up from plenty of more conventional Republican politicians) and ‘the swamp’ in Congress. Never mind that the Republican Party controlled the lower chamber of the legislature for eight years of the decade and the upper chamber for six. And now here were many of the same people, or at least, the ones with the means and will to make the trip, a sort of travel-team self-selection of the usual crowds, combined with ranks of the white-supremacist warriors who had descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.”