In October 2017, a number of posts on the internet message board 4Chan sparked the QAnon phenomenon. A person (or group) identified as Q claimed it had top-secret knowledge of a master plan to break the power of an evil plot to control the world. Q claims that the group behind the evil plot is comprised of politicians, business leaders and celebrities. As Q continues to post cryptic messages on multiple internet forums, a theory has evolved that President Trump and white-hat U.S. military and intelligence officials are behind this effort to get rid of the secretive group. In recent weeks, President Trump has retweeted several accounts that share information from Q. Trump has never explicitly discussed Q, but supporters of this theory believe the media avoid asking him direct questions about it because they fear how he would answer.
Leftwing media outlets have described the QAnon phenomenon as a dangerous conspiracy theory. In August of 2019, Yahoo News claimed to have a copy of an unpublished FBI document that described the QAnon movement as a potential domestic terrorist threat. Many outlets have since criticized Trump for amplifying social media accounts that spread Q theories and not directly squashing the theory.
While followers of QAnon are mostly conservatives, many others on the Right tend to dismiss it as a baseless conspiracy theory. Former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka called QAnon “garbage” in a tweet. Independent journalist Mike Cernovich described it as the Right’s equivalent of “RussiaGate.”
Qanon is no more unhinged than Russiagate was. “Pissing on sheets” was treated as a credible story but the FBI Director.— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) January 9, 2020
What liberals are learning: Their side is as kooky as the goofs on the other side. https://t.co/qGmoRMyykf
Though some conservative celebrities like Roseanne Barr and former Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling have expressed their support for Q, few mainstream conservative outlets have explored it. This may be changing, as the American Thinker posted a lengthy introduction to Q just this week.