The Stream

QAnon: Is pro-Trump conspiracy movement going mainstream?

From obscure message boards to national coverage, we discuss its growing influence.

On Tuesday, July 14 at 19:30 GMT:
Conspiracy theories are nothing new in the United States. There have been thousands of sightings of the mythical ‘Bigfoot’ creature. Many believe that a US military installation known as ‘Area 51’ is sheltering spacecraft and aliens. And some say the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.

But, even in that company, the theories of the QAnon world stand out. Its growing network of true believers are centred around an anonymous figure known only as “Q” who claims to have inside knowledge that US President Donald Trump is waging an undercover war against elite and “deep state” paedophile rings and sex trafficking schemes. Many other conspiracy theories are also being spread by the movement’s adherents.

“Q” began posting his messages on some of the more obscure corners of the internet such as the message boards 4chan and 8chan. Now, though, supporters of the individual’s theories are happy to be interviewed in the mainstream media and have been turning up in force at Trump rallies.

In this episode of The Stream, we look at the origins of the movement, find out why so many people are getting involved and ask, can they have a serious impact on US politics?

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Jared Yates Sexton, @JYSexton
Political Analyst and Author of ‘American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed Its People’

Joseph Uscinski, @Joeuscinski
Political Science Professor, University of Miami

Kelly Weill, @KELLYWEILL
Reporter, The Daily Beast

Read more: 
Conspiracy theories and the media – Al Jazeera
Critics slam Trump’s ‘social media summit’ over far-right invitees – Al Jazeera