The infodemiology of QAnon

QAnon
An attendee holds signs a sign of the letter “Q” before the start of a rally with U.S. President Donald Trump in Lewis Center, Ohio, U.S., on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

I’ve grown numbingly accustomed to the bizarre, the phony, the dishonest in public discourse. Still, when IMPOTUS retweeted the notion that the Benghazi raid was staged, I shook my head. And what was the presumed rationale? “To cover up a Navy SEAL blood sacrifice.” This literally hurt my head.

“The account… promoting the link also has ties to the QAnon movement, a far-right conspiracy theory that Democrats are running a Satanic pedophile cannibal ring.” Of course, it did.

My buddy Jeff Sharlet wrote in Vanity Fair this month about how QAnon crept into his mind and “turned conspiracy into reality.”

Jeff notes: “What Trump is describing is no more nor less exotic than the popular evangelical concept of spiritual war, the conflict thought to be raging always, around us and within, between believers and ‘principalities’ and ‘powers,’ according to Ephesians, or demons, in the contemporary vernacular.

“QAnon has translated the concept from King James into Trumpish, but Trump is no more reading Q ‘drops’ than undead John-John, JFK Jr., is writing them.”

You DO know that they think the late son of the 35th President is alive? The article in Rolling Stone from July 2019 describes that absurd theory.

Newsweek  reports that scientists are taking aim at the “misinformation pandemic.” But it likely won’t help. “The technology has generally done more to help those who purvey this misinformation than those trying to defend against it,” says Travis Trammell, an active-duty Army lieutenant colonel skilled in the field.

“The explosion of disinformation that has upended American life and now threatens its democratic institutions has given rise to a new branch of science called ‘infodemiology.’ Inspired by epidemiology, the study of how diseases spread through a population, infodemiology seeks to understand how misinformation and conspiracy theories spread like a disease through a free-wheeling democracy like America’s, with the ultimate goal of understanding how to stem its spread.”

Super-spreader-in-chief

How do you stem its spread when IMPOTUS, on national television, sidesteps the question about QAnon? First, he says that he doesn’t know about them. This is unlikely, “particularly because the FBI labeled the movement as a domestic threat more than a year ago.”

Then he asserted, “Let me just tell you what I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia and I agree with that… And I agree with it very strongly.” (N.b.: we’re all against it.) QAnon supporters embraced his support.

In the past couple of years, the Guardian reports that “kidnappings, car chases and a murder appear to have been fueled by belief in a fictional narrative.”

In fact, QAnon is a convoluted conspiracy theory. “The heart of it asserts that… the anonymous ‘Q’ has taken to the fringe internet message boards of 4chan and 8chan to leak intelligence about Trump’s top-secret war with a cabal of criminals run by politicians like Hillary Clinton and the Hollywood elite. There is no evidence for these claims.”

Hear, if you can stand it, how some people get sucked into QAnon.

Did I mention the 2020 Congressional candidates who appear to be true believers? And at least one of them will make it.

It’s difficult to dissuade someone of a lie when they are convinced there MUST be “something to it.” QAnon is one more reason I fret about America in 2020.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “The infodemiology of QAnon”

  1. ” There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
    Isaac Asimov

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