An image uploaded on July 4, 2018, by the author (or authors) of the “QAnon” posts on 8Chan reads, “Disinformation is necessary.” (Screenshot / 8chan.org)
In recent weeks, a new wave of conservative pundits have become adherents of a complex hoax .
By Jared Holt / 07.09.2018
In recent weeks, a new wave of conservative pundits have become adherents of a complex hoax hinging on the idea that President Trump personally ordered high-level national security intelligence to be shared anonymously on vitriolic image boards online. The ludicrous conspiracy theory is quickly escalating toward a potentially violent situation.
The conspiracy theory these media figures have adopted is known online as “The Storm” and is essentially a radical spin-off of the already byzantine “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which alleges the world’s top politicians, financiers and entertainers operate a secret satanic pedophile ring that traffics young children to be sexually abused and sacrificed. The Storm, which since its inception has more frequently been referred to as the “QAnon” theory, takes Pizzagate a step further by alleging that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Russian officials and the Trump 2016 campaign is actually cover for Trump’s work dismantling the supposed pedophile ring and inching closer toward imprisoning Democrats like Hillary Clinton for their alleged involvement.
Followers learn about the conspiracy by decoding the cryptic riddles (called “breadcrumbs”) that are posted by an author (or authors) on 8chan known only as “Q.” Many followers of the QAnon theory believe that Q is a high-ranking intelligence official within the Trump administration—or perhaps even Trump himself. Cited “proof” of these claims has been shaky at best and includes a blurry photo of an ink pen and various hand gestures that Trump makes while speaking at rallies.
Although the QAnon movement has experienced a bumpy few months, during which some factions—including Infowars—declared that it was compromised after the anonymous author or authors vaguely criticized media personalities attempting to profit off the QAnon phenomena, some new voices have breathed new life into the movement.
Curt Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher turned conservative pundit, recently took up the QAnon conspiracy theory and shared a video promoting the hoax on his Facebook page. After he posted the link on Facebook, Schilling explained on his podcast for Breitbart News that he had “been looking into it,” was “going to continue to look into it,” and that he encouraged his listeners to do the same. He also tweeted to a QAnon follower that he could “provide a platform and outlet for anything truth that may arise.”
I can provide a platform and outlet for anything truth that may arise. And I am proud to do it, as long as it is above board and truth, that’s the key. Anyone point me to ‘predictions’ from Q’s past that have come to fruition? You know, the stuff that makes libs apoplectic?
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 28, 2018
Big League Politics, a right-wing blog that bolstered gross conspiracy theories about the murder of a DNC staffer in 2016 and currently appears to employ Islamophobic conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, perhaps went furthest. Last week, the site featured a profile about “the Anons themselves” who are attempting to decode the riddles posted online and heralded the group of anonymous conspiracy theorists it called “revolutionary citizens.” Big League politics claims that the article was written by “a truth-teller who chooses to remain anonymous at this time” but was published under the byline of the site’s editor-in-chief Patrick Howley. From the article:
BLP is protecting the identities of these revolutionary citizens in the article below. This movement — centered around the 17th letter of the alphabet and also the 17th letter of the ancient Greek alphabet — dates back to 345 BC, where “Q” created an underground resistance based in the city of Corinth, home of Apostle Paul and the Book of Corinthians, to study and circumevent the tactics of the Romans. Corinth held its independence as a city-state before finally falling to Rome, but the movement continued.
The anons revealed to us that President Trump is aware of their movement, that the Deep State is actively trying to silence and frame and imprison truth-tellers, that a missile was witnessed fired near Singapore aimed at Air Force One, the significance of the number 17 to President Trump, and so much more.
Loomer inserted herself into the conspiracy theory, too. Last week, she wrote that “millions of intelligent [and] everyday [people] follow Q” and criticized Daily Caller White House correspondent Saagar Enjeti for refusing to ask the White House about the conspiracy theory. Loomer also wrote that conservative outlets that called the conspiracy theory “batshit crazy” were “alienating” their audiences.
Originally published by Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, a program of Open Society Foundations, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.