There is no end to the ridiculous conspiracy theories Donald Trump supporters will buy into. YouTube videos, message boards, and the “dark web” are full of stories that take their readers and viewers down rabbit holes too ridiculous to be believed by anyone with sense. These sites have been a big business money-maker for their founders.
One of the crazier sites, QAnon, has popped up with supporters at Trump rallies and, on Friday, a SWAT team member who met Vice President Mike Pence in Florida. To understand exactly how disturbing the thought of a law enforcement officer buying into these theories is, a description of the group’s purpose is necessary.
The Miami New Times notes the following the description of QAnon:
‘[Q-Anon is the] 4Chan-based conspiracy theory that claims Donald Trump is secretly fighting a war with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to capture a secret, elite pedophile ring that includes prominent celebrities and Democratic politicians, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.’
Vice President Mike Pence posted a photo of himself posing with several law enforcement officers, including one wearing a QAnon patch, on Twitter Friday.https://t.co/jUkRjcBo5d#QAnon #WWG1WGA pic.twitter.com/jIDOSX70oX
— Qanon8chan (@Qanon8chan) November 30, 2018
According to NBC News, who conducted an investigation of the group, found that the conspiracy theory started with three people who took a single 4Chan post and created a money-making machine. The message boards claim that posts are written by an upper-level military official who gives readers “clues” in the form of riddles to solve.
‘Over the next several months, they would create videos, a Reddit community, a business and an entire mythology based off the 4chan posts of “Q,” the pseudonym of a person claiming to be a high-ranking military officer. The theory they espoused would become Qanon, and it would eventually make its way from those message boards to national media stories and the rallies of President Donald Trump.’
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) November 30, 2018
The founders ask readers for donations to keep the message board open, claiming to be under fire from the liberal elite determined to keep their crimes secret. The boards have dedicated followers who buy into every word.
‘Part of the QAnon appeal lies in its game-like quality. Followers wait for clues left by “Q” on the message board. When the clues appear, believers dissect the riddle-like posts alongside Trump’s speeches and tweets and news articles in an effort to validate the main narrative that Trump is winning a war against evil.’