Thanks mostly to supporters holding up signs at recent President Trump rallies, the conservative conspiracy-minded group known as QAnon is now making its way through the mainstream media news cycle.
Determining how much actual substance is behind the often feverish, crime novel-esque musings of Q followers is a difficult task, however, because just about any conspiracy theory that has drawn attention in conservative circles in recent years can so easily piggyback on the obscure network.
What Is QAnon?
A Fox News primer on QAnon covers many of the essentials, with the main focus and original raison d’être of the movement centering around the idea that “there is a network of people, including in the U.S. government, that wants to take down Trump and his administration.”
Related to this central theory and the idea that there is a clandestine effort to combat this Deep State apparatus is the belief that special counsel Robert Mueller isn’t really investigating Trump campaign ties to Russia during the 2016 election but is probing Hillary Clinton and other leading Democrats for various crimes, including, among other things, participation in a global pedophilia ring.
The latter claim has its origins in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that was red-hot in certain internet circles right after the 2016 election, culminating in a North Carolina man traveling to Washington, D.C. in December of that year armed with an assault rifle to personally investigate claims that children were being trafficked via underground tunnels beneath the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor.
The central pedophilia ring suspect in this theory is John Podesta, a powerful figure in Bill and Hillary Clinton’s political circle who served as White House Chief of Staff during the Bill Clinton presidency and as Counselor to Barack Obama during his presidential tenure.
John Podesta and his brother Tony were friends with Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis. This fact, coupled with Tony’s undeniably bizarre personal art collection, which shows children in various forms of bondage, and cryptic email messages by John Podesta made public when his hacked emails were released by WikiLeaks in the run-up to the 2016 election, fueled the speculation against Democrat officials.
How easy it is to tie this into QAnon can be seen by recent news reports that federal prosecutors are investigating Tony Podesta upon referral from Mueller’s office as part of the Paul Manafort probe.
One-Size-Fits-All For Conspiracies
Liberal news site Newsweek certainly has no love for conservatives but an article it ran earlier this year does give some solid background on the QAnon phenomenon.
According to Newsweek, leading conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and the writer Jerome Corsi, who works for Jones’ InfoWars site, are heavily pushing the Q agenda:
In late October, just days before a different InfoWars-inflated conspiracy – about anti-fascist protesters plotting a civil war – was about to fizzle, a user identified as Q on the imageboard website 4chan started posting vague, portentous messages related to an approaching “storm.” The user claimed to be a high-level government operative, and the folks on /pol/, a subsection of 4chan with a history of spreading fake news, took notice – with some even believing it was President Donald Trump himself who was posting the messages on 4chan and on a similar website, 8chan.
As the Newsweek article goes on to mention, those who believe murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was deliberately killed in 2016 by the Hillary Clinton campaign because he helped leak DNC emails have also climbed on the QAnon bandwagon, which, again, is easy to do since the character known as Q, if he truly exists, has never revealed himself and thus no claim can be proven or disproven as to what he is really up to.
The Bigger Picture
More interesting perhaps than this rabbit hole of conspiracy theories is the reason why the media are bringing their knives out against QAnon now, and why Q followers so strongly believe a subterranean battle is being waged against the Deep State in Washington, D.C.
For the mainstream media, it is a matter of further frustration as they struggle to deal with the undeniable fact that they are being tuned out by ever-growing vast swaths of the American public. While it may be easy to mock some of the more outlandish claims made by Q believers, it cannot be denied that more and more Americans believe their own government is up to no good and that media organizations who have made themselves self-appointed watchdogs are either unwilling to report the truth or are an active part of the problem themselves.
Faced with the inability to get real substantial reporting from the mainstream media, these people search for other explanations as to why our federal government in Washington, D.C. has formed a state within a state in which politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and other high officials take care of each other and do nothing for American citizens.
This acute distrust of Washington is not a negative phenomenon. However, the question conservatives may want to ask of QAnon followers is why they so strongly need to believe someone is coming to their rescue, and that highly-placed people in our military or government branches are going to dramatically turn over the table and save the day.
If an oppressive entrenched Elite State is truly operating within our own government (note: it is), isn’t it better for all of us outside the Washington, D.C. Swamp to commit ourselves to unite as a people, rise up, take out the trash, and take back our country?