-QAnon is in essence a conspiracy theory that gives hope to people who want the things it says to be true. -And according to the conspiracy theory, Trump is actually leading an effort to prosecute villainous Democrats, most of whom are engaged in baby sex trafficking rings and committing other heinous crimes. -It also wraps in “deep state” conspiracy theories. It is used as a hopeful way to explain things like the Mueller probe into the Trump campaign. -I personally believe that much of what we are taught and told by authorities or institutions in this country is false information.
It looks to be a public intelligence dissemination program whereby they’re utilizing anonymous online posting boards such as 4chan and 8chan as a back channel to give the public information to help guide them, to help show the way and let them know what’s really going on and what’s going on behind the scenes. -Although Trump hasn’t given any indication that he is aware of QAnon or believes it, he is the person who I guess inadvertently started it. He made a cryptic statement to reporters in early October where he talked about the “coming storm,” a statement that he then refused to explain. -The calm, the calm before the storm. -The phrase “the storm” has come to be super important to people who believe or circulate these posts, where “the storm refers to this kind of coming mass justice against all of Trump’s enemies. After this statement a few weeks later, there started to be these kind of anonymous posts on a site called 4chan. They started spreading to other platforms, like YouTube and like Reddit, where people who maybe aren’t as familiar with how 4chan works or how to read it could start to access and see these posts and get excited about them.
-I came across Q at the end of October in 2017. And it was within the first maybe one, two, or three days. Now I first started seeing these posts on Twitter, actually. -A bunch of people who believe in QAnon or wanted to give it more visibility showed up to a Trump rally wearing T-shirts and carrying signs that had big letter Q’s on them. Many media outlets covered that and explained what QAnon was and began to kind of dive into this breakthrough moment for this conspiracy theory. -People who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory — -Conspiracy theories are so broad and often bizarre — -It is also shockingly widespread — -It’s like an alternative-reality game.
-Experts I’ve talked to who study media amplification will often kind of describe this paradox where journalists who are reporting on conspiracy theories or outlets that are pursuing these stories are simultaneously doing important and necessary work and doing the worst possible thing that they could do, which is giving these conspiracy theories an even wider audience. -Common understanding of conspiracy theories and political life says that people who are out of power politically cling to political conspiracy theories or advance political conspiracy theories to somehow explain or justify their station. What’s different about QAnon is that it’s a vast conspiracy theory advanced by proponents of the victor of the presidential election. I think a lot of it is Trump supporters who love Donald Trump who look at the publicly available evidence and say, “Well, I’m a little disappointed,” right? And a small fraction of those people then say there’s some other explanation for this that transcends the available evidence.
The vast majority of Americans, including the vast majority of Republicans, including the vast majority of Trump supporters do not believe in or subscribe to the QAnon conspiracy theory. That being said, the Internet has made exposure to QAnon pretty easy to come by. -First, you don’t know how many people who are circulating QAnon really believe it, right? So, there are a couple reasons why you might circulate a conspiracy theory. One is because you believe it to be true and you want to awaken the masses to the truth of that theory. Another reason you might spread it is you like to cause chaos. The other thing is that it’s really easy to look big on the Internet without being big.
You know, it doesn’t take a lot of people to get something trending, particularly when you have the help of outrage. -It’s incumbent upon media institutions, it’s incumbent upon scholars, it’s incumbent upon anybody who feels that an informed citizenry matters to actually tell their fellow citizens, “No, QAnon is false, QAnon is not real,” and then point them to evidence showing why. .
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