The Guardian - PANIC (Q Hit Piece)

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The most unhinged Trump conspiracy theory comes from – who else? – QAnon followers by Arwa Mahdawi We’ll get through this TO GET HER The second the news broke, the conspiracy theories started. Donald Trump is pretending to have Covid-19 so he can use his miraculous “recovery” to claim the virus isn’t a big deal; Trump is trying to avoid the next debate; Trump wants to delay the election; Trump is trying to distract us from his tax scandal. Forget the fact the guy rarely wears a mask and was bound to get sick at some point, an enormous number of people seem to reckon the president and first lady testing positive for the coronavirus is some kind of devious political strategy. The grand prize for the most unhinged conspiracy theory goes to (who else?) QAnon followers. One of the many bizarre things these people believe (without any foundation) is that Covid-19 is a hoax designed to deflect attention from a Satan-worshipping pedophile ring operated by Hillary Clinton and liberal elites. Trump, their reasoning goes, is pretending to have Covid-19 as part of a grand plan to arrest Clinton. According to these geniuses Trump communicated his intentions via a tweet on Friday morning where he announced he and Melania had tested positive and declared: “We will get through this TOGETHER!” When you pull apart TOGETHER it spells out TO GET HER. Boom! Does it really matter what some disturbed QAnon supporters on the internet believe? I’m afraid it does. QAnon isn’t just a niche movement any more; it’s tiptoeing its way into the American mainstream – and Trump’s Twitter feed. It’s also creeping into the halls of power: there are 24 candidates running for Congress in November who have endorsed or promoted QAnon content according to Media Matters, a disinformation watchdog. Only two of these are fringe independents – the other 22 are running as Republicans. Because of the districts these candidates are in, it’s almost inevitable several of them will end up being elected to Congress. That includes the Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed virulently racist views and repeatedly boosted QAnon theories; she won 57% of the vote in her primary runoff, defeating a neurosurgeon who had promoted himself as “all of the conservative, none of the embarrassment”. Trump, the embarrassment-in-chief congratulated Greene on her win, calling her a “future Republican star”. As Greene’s primary rival discovered, a lot of conservatives seem incapable of embarrassment. There has been very little condemnation of QAnon from senior Republicans who, it would seem, don’t want to risk losing that coveted conspiracy theorist vote. If the path to electoral victory means tacitly condoning bizarre beliefs about a web of deep-state, Satan-worshipping pedophiles then so be it! It didn’t have to be this way. The spread of QAnon could have been curtailed before it went global. It could have been nipped in the bud before it got so big that its followers look likely to become elected lawmakers. While Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have taken major steps to curb QAnon’s presence on their platforms, many critics believe the tech giants acted far too late. A conspiracy theory on an online message board linked to white nationalists has morphed into a movement that looks to be a corrosive part of American life for a very long time. We’ll have a vaccine for coronavirus eventually – alas there is no vaccine for stupidity.

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