The Rise (and Fall?) Of QAnon - OLLI Illinois

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The Rise (and Fall?) ofQAnonBrant HoustonKnight Chair in Investigative ReportingUniversity of Illinoisbrant.houston@gmail.com

QAnon in the news Support for Trump Attack on the Capitol Banned from Social Media Labeled a domestic terroristgroup

Intel?

Attack on the Capitol

Attack on the Capitol

Attack on the Capitol - QAnonfollower Ashley Babbitt shot -was-ashli-babbitt.html

The rump-tweeting-qanon-followers-357238

Fallout from attack on the Capitol

Origins of QAnon Part of the conspiracy theory is thatthere is a cabal of Democratic Partyleaders who are Satan-worshippingcannibals and pedophiles who run aglobal child sex-trafficking ring andhave been secretly plotting againstPresident Trump.

Recognized threat by FBI in 2019 "The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based,and fringe political conspiracy theories very likelymotivate some domestic extremists, wholly or inpart, to commit criminal and sometimes violentactivity," the document said. "The FBI furtherassesses in some cases these conspiracy theoriesvery likely encourage the targeting of specificpeople, places, and organizations, therebyincreasing the likelihood of violence against thesetargets."

Origins of QAnon QAnon started as a far-right fringeconspiracy theory on the anonymousinternet forum 4chan “QAnon” refers to an Americangovernment informant in the U.S.Department of Energy who firstposted content as “Q” in 2017

The mysterious Q The Independent has reported that the theoriesstarted after one anonymous user signed off as ‘Q’on the imageboard website 4chan. The personused the name ‘Q Clearance Patriot’. Q Clearance or Q access authorization is the levelof security clearance required to access top secretrestricted data within the American StateDepartment of Energy. The 4chan user wasprobably using this to give his messages an air ofimportance and authority.

Origins of QAnon The QAnon followers have identified formernational security adviser Michael Flynn andWhite House aide Dan Scavino aspossibilities for Q. Others believe it's Mr.Trump himself. Another theory is that JohnF. Kennedy Jr. faked his death and nowposts on 8chan as QAnon. Or was it JimWatkins who ran 4chan and 8chan and8kun?

The Storm The storm takes its name fromPresident Trump's enigmatic commentfrom October 2018 about "the calmbefore the storm." Q began postingsoon after and said that the storm Mr.Trump referenced is a coming seriesof mass arrests that would end thedeep state forever.

The Storm In QAnon lore, President Trump wassecretly working with special counsel RobertMueller to bring the deep state down, andthe storm is a kind of Judgment Day inwhich the evildoers are punished and thefaithful are redeemed. Q has repeatedlysuggested that the storm would hit in thevery near future and has even said certainpeople would be arrested at certain dates.

The Storm When those dates come and gowithout any arrests, Q says that theyneeded to be delayed for one reasonor another, but that President Trumpstill has the situation well in hand.

Trust the PlanOn election day The QAnon conspiracy theory has a lot onthe line today, as followers wait and seewhether their trust in “the plan” was non-presidential-electionplan-polls-trump/

Trust the Plan For years, the supposedly anonymous Qhas promised that even the most chaotichappenings around U.S. President DonaldTrump were a part of some master planthat would soon be revealed. Just thisweekend, an official Q missive askedQAnon’s followers: “Are you ready to takeback control of this Country?”

Qanon as alternate-reality game- QAnon was behaving precisely like analternate-reality game, or ARG.- ARGs are designed to be clue-cracking,multiplatform scavenger hunts. They'reoften used as a promotion, like for amovie. A studio plants a cryptic clue inthe world around -multiplatform-game/

Alternate-reality game- If you notice it and Google it, it leadsto hundreds more clues that thegamemaker has craftily embedded invarious websites, online videos, maps,and even voice message boxes.-The first big ARG—called The Beast—was created in 2001 to promote theSteven Spielberg movie -multiplatform-game/

Overview documentary

Expansion of QAnon activities Save the Children movement Covid-19 conspiracy theories Anti-vaccines movement Anything “Deep State”

Expansion of QAnon 978bb7e9b89cd2cea151ca13421a0

Expansion of QAnon activitiesMORRIS, Ill. (AP) — At a busy intersection in this small Illinois town, LynnVermillion smiles at passing drivers who honk their support for the colorfulposters she and friends wave: “Save Our Children. Save their Children.Save ALL the Children.”As the U.S. presidential campaign heated up in recent months, the 57year-old mother of two and others like her took to city and suburbanstreets nationwide to join rallies calling for an end to child trafficking.The “Save the Children” effort emerged earlier this year as a splintermovement from QAnon, the group of internet conspiracy theorists whobelieve without evidence that President Donald Trump is secretly fightinga supposed network of celebrities and government officials who arerunning a child trafficking 7e9b89cd2cea151ca13421a0

QAnon phrasesThe Q posts are known to the faithful as"breadcrumbs." The people who then try tofigure out what they mean are called "bakers."According to The Daily Beast's Will Sommer,QAnon believers also spend a lot of time tryingto figure out who in the government is a "whitehat" Trump supporter and who is a "black hat"in league with the deep state.Their rallying cry is "where we go one, we goall," a line from the 1996 Jeff Bridges sailingadventure "White Squall" that they misattributeto President Kennedy.

Origin of WWG1WGA “If we don't have order, we have nothing.Where we go one, we go all.” Sheldon “Skipper” – Jeff Bridges The White Squall

Qanon phrasesThe phrase is frequently abbreviated to"WWG1WGA," which Roseanne Barr —one of several celebrity QAnonsupporters — tweeted in June 2018.Former Red Sox pitcher and currentright-wing radio host Curt Schilling hasalso promoted QAnon online.

Difficulty of coverage More a hydra than a structure – messageboards, social media, private chats Expanding under “Save the Children” Simply explaining ever changing andwidening beliefs Potential online and in-person threats Spreading misinformation by reporting on it

A reporter’s r/qanon-reporter.html

A reporter’s viewpoint My instinct, honestly, was to ignore it. As atech columnist for The Times, I’d writtenabout a lot of bizarre internet subcultures,and I knew that ridiculous 4Chanconspiracy theories were a dime a dozen.“The Storm” seemed to be just the latestiteration of Pizzagate, a bogus theory aboutchild-trafficking Democrats that had takenhold on fringe sites during the 2016election, and almost as quickly faded fromview.

A reporter’s viewpoint But QAnon didn’t go away. In June 2018,an armed QAnon believer was arrestedafter stopping traffic on a bridge near theHoover Dam. A month later, QAnonsupporters started showing up at rallies forthe president wearing Q-branded hats andT-shirts. Unlike fringe internet movementsthat stay purely online, QAnon was seepinginto the offline world, and I realized I wasgoing to have to start keeping closer tabson it.

A reporter’s viewpoint The normie tipping point is a joke, butit speaks to one of the thorniestquestions in modern journalism,specifically on this beat: When doesthe benefit of informing people aboutan emerging piece of misinformationoutweigh the possible harms?

A reporter’s viewpoint It’s a hard balance to strike, and ajudgment call every time. Give toomuch attention to a fringe conspiracytheory before it’s gone viral, and youmight inadvertently end up amplifyingit. Wait too long, and you allow it tospread to millions of people with nofactual counterweight.

Now congress/

Now “normie”Greene and Boebert were among at leasta dozen Republican congressionalcandidates who had endorsed or givencredence to QAnon’s unfounded beliefthat Trump is the last line of defenseagainst a cabal of child-molestingDemocrats who seek to dominate worldpower.

Now “normie”Twitter locks account of congresswomanwho live-tweeted about Nancy Pelosi'slocation during riotA Republican congresswoman whosupports QAnon had her account lockedby Twitter this week after she livetweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi'slocation during last week's deadly CapitolHill insurrection.

Now “normie”Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) revealed onInstagram that Twitter had prevented herfrom posting until Inauguration Day onJan. 20.It was not immediately clear why Twitterhad shut down the lawmaker's account.Twitter users called for Boebert to bejailed last week after she used theplatform to disclose details of Pelosi'ssecurity while a pro-Trump mob stormedthe Capitol.

New meeting tml

What is needed: even betterreporting- Who runs the communications- Who finances it- Which government officials,military and police employees arepart of it- Its future plans of violence

Inside 6/opinion/trump-qanon-washington-capitol-hill.html

Origins of QAnon Part of the conspiracy theory is that there is a cabal of Democratic Party . "The FBI assesses anti-government, identity based, and fringe political conspiracy theories very likely motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to commit criminal and sometimes violent . Covid-19 conspiracy theories

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