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Testing The Data, How We Moved From #PardonFlynnNow to #ClearFlynnNow

Honored to guest post follow-up article to “Why the Hashtag Campaign #ClearFlynnNow IS So Important and Timely”. Also check out Pat Scopelliti as my guest on #TamaraLeighsTrendOn


By Pat Scopelliti – @ThyConsigliori – and Kate Scopelliti

As my wife Kate can easily attest, I can be the most hard headed hellion you’ve ever met once I lock onto an idea.  I always have my logic worked out.  And, I get so much worse if my idea starts to show success in the real world of execution.  Getting me to change my mind and course correct in the face of success is a great deal like turning an oil tanker around in a river.

That’s exactly what happened with me and #PardonFlynnNow.  For me, the term “pardon” was a deliciously dramatic term, and I couldn’t care less (and I know there are millions who feel the same way) about the legal technicalities.  Besides, I ADORED the idea of enhancing President Trump’s power of pardon to include exoneration from false prosecution.  Why must pardon mean acceptance of guilt?  Why must clemency entail admission of wrong doing?  And most of all, why do we – as a nation – NOT have a structure in place where our executive leader can say, “Hey, this was unfair.  This was a perversion of Justice.  I’m correcting it right now!”  You can tell, I still have some heat on this, and it’s hard for me to let go.

But…I was wrong.  Not wrong in concept or logic.  I was wrong in practice.  The definition of the term “pardon” is far too strongly set to attempt to alter it.  What’s more, if you wish to alter a definition, you’re never going to get there in a timely matter by way of a hashtag campaign.  What I learned on this count is that in a hashtag campaign you must employ terminology that is most easily comprehended and most broadly accepted, not only intellectually but also emotionally.  A hashtag campaign does NOT change minds.  Rather, it gives minds and hearts an amazingly powerful means of expressing what they already believe.

The power of a hashtag campaign is that it allows people to join a social movement for a low a cost of entry.  All that’s required is a few characters typed in a posting online.  To tap into that power, a hashtag must express a pent up emotion, but in an incredibly tight, logically rigorous way, allowing the maximum number of people to embrace the simple message presented.  To win, a hashtag should be the equivalent of a pressure release valve, letting just enough steam out to ensure that the emotional/intellectual needs of those who agree are met.  They must feel the immediate benefits of release and action.  And when the action is coordinated as a social movement, the world can be righted.

To delve deeper down into how this functions, we can turn to two different metaphors. The first is sighting a rifle.  And the second is a glass.

To get your hashtag right, you must target the broadest number of people while hitting them with the greatest emotional impact. The thing is, if even the slightest nuance is off intellectually, the message will not cut straight to the heart.  For instance, in our current campaign which some of you have been following, the word “pardon” could ONLY entail an admission of guilt.  Many of General Flynn’s friends and supporters will not accept that admission.  And they do not care about his own admission of guilt one iota, as they are 100% certain he was coerced, using fraudulent, felonious evidence in a pure and completely illegal entrapment.  These patriots will accept nothing less than a full vacating of the charge against him and no substitution will be tolerated.

The truth is, among those who support General Flynn, many were indeed VERY happy with our first hashtag.  We got amazing results with #PardonFlynnNow and our trend was exploding.  Yet, what we needed to do – and did! – was discover the correct terms to bring in all those who agreed with our desire, but objected to the terminology we were using.

What we had to do was re-sight.  Any form of aiming is, in one way or another, always a type of triangulation.  Picture a rifle.  You must line up your eye, the properly aligned sight at the end of the barrel, and the target in front of you.  This is a triangle, which is the source of the word “triangulation”.

It works in exactly that way when finding the perfect hashtag.

In our second analogy, your hashtag has to be the one that, just like the right type of dram (that’s what we whiskey lovers call our single malt Scotch glasses), will enhance the lovely liquid held within.

When a hashtag is a perfect glass, it holds all the thoughts the user has on the topic, without logical contradiction or compromise.  In our case, the term “clear” is perfect.  Even though there is a rabble-rousing element among us who would have preferred the impact of a Presidential pardon, vindication by Presidential decree, we hotheads have to cool off a bit, and accommodate our brothers and sisters for whom that pardon path does not suffice.

Once we let calmer heads prevail, the word “clear” begins to resonate.  For me, at any rate, now that I’m fully on the other side of this technical debate, and as my mind is “clearing,” I find the new hashtag deeply appealing, both intellectually and emotionally.

Without placing any demands upon our Commander-in-Chief at all, #ClearFlynnNow still accommodates a pardon should that route be selected.  We just don’t have to shout that the way we hotheads desire.  Calmly, coolly, yet with firmness and unflagging resolution, we may state our request in these simple terms:


That is the perfect glass to hold both our thoughts and our emotions on the topic.

How do I know?  With a type of incredible discipline, if I do say so myself, I reached out for hours on end to those who signed on for the #PardonFlynnNow campaign at Twitter.  My basic message was:

“Thanks for your help, however, we’ve found a broader, more readily accepted hashtag in #ClearFlynnNow.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about this!”

My educated guess is that my response sampling was comprised, by the time all the results were in, of several thousands.  And after all that testing, the results were…100% in favor of “Clear” over “Pardon”.  Can you say shocked?  100%?  I’ve never run any test of anything where the results came in with a 100% approval factor.  Every single response was positive: “Clear is MUCH better!”  There was not one single defender standing for “Pardon” and against “Clear”.

It was obvious even to this hotheaded analyst that the message #ClearFlynnNow had won by far more than just a landslide.  It is the right message.  Period.

A word of recognition must be give to three people.  The first is Saul Montes-Bradley.  He has done an amazing amount of work on General Flynn’s story, and he flat out contradicted me at every turn over the term “Pardon” and made his case with irresistible force.  Second, Barbara Ledeen not only agreed with Saul, she also identified the new hashtag as spot on.  The third is DavdC, his Twitter handle is: @ingeniustech.  It was he who explained the logic of how “Pardon” was wrong and gave the recommendation for “Clear” in its place.  My respect and gratitude to you all.

So, I think we have our glass, and I believe we’ve completed our targeting with proper triangulation.

Now we turn to the mission because we really must raise a bit of ruckus, and insist that our goverment: