- Fox News’ Jesse Watters did a segment explaining the conspiracy theory QAnon, and his neutral-to-positive spin on the topic was well-received by its supporters online.
- “Q,” the figure at the center of the popular but easily discredited theory, even posted that the “Watters’ World” segment “generates awareness.”
- The QAnon theory encapsulates a number of pervasive conspiracies, but at its core involves the idea that President Donald Trump is secretly working to take down a satanic child sex trafficking operation run in part by Hillary Clinton, who Q says will be taken to Guantanamo Bay in an operation termed the “Great Awakening.”
- Watters didn’t discredit the theory and said one of his good friends was a believer. Some QAnon supporters even suggested that there was “pushback” from Watters against the political science professor he interviewed, who emphasized that QAnon was a fantastical conspiracy theory.
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A Fox News segment explaining the QAnon conspiracy was received positively online by its supporters, who believe President Donald Trump is secretly conducting an operation to expose Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats for running a satanic child sex trafficking operation.
Jesse Watters, host of “Watters’ World,” interviewed a political science professor about QAnon, and offered a few neutral to positive takes – conflating the more outrageous, easily debunked parts of the theory with real events (investigations into Trump’s conduct) and noting that one of his good friends is a QAnon supporter.
Before the segment aired, “Q,” the central figure of the conspiracy, posted that it would be biased but that more discussion “generates awareness” for the theory. Q posts on 4chan, an image-based forum that houses several fringe right0-wing communities, and claims to have “Q clearance” in the Trump administration, giving him access to top-secret information.
As Watters’ guest explained QAnon, the Fox News host stayed away from criticism of the outrageous conspiracy
Watters’ guest, Joseph Ucsinski, an associate professor at Miami University, described QAnon as a theory that originated around two years ago about “a battle going that was going on between Donald Trump against the deep state,” made up of satanic pedophiles, including Clinton and John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff and Clinton’s presidential campaign chair.
Ucsinski zeroed in on the more outlandish aspects of the theory, which is overall objectively disputable for numerous reasons, but is extremely pervasive and has been indirectly supported by Trump’s campaign. The theory is thematically religious, with Q suggesting that Clinton and former President Barack Obama will eventually be jailed in Guantanamo Bay in an event termed the “Great Awakening.”
“Okay, and isn’t it also about the Trump fight with the deep state in terms of the illegal surveillance of the campaign, the inside hit jobs that he’s sustained in terms of Comey and Mueller and Strzok and Page and all of that as well?” Watters asked, conflating QAnon with pro-Trump stances that are more grounded in reality.
Ucsinski replied that QAnon encompasses several conspiracy theories that are largely woven together with pro-Trump sentiment. Watters then told him that he was doing the segment because one of his good friends is “a Q guy” and says QAnon is connected to the conspiracies about Jeffrey Epstein – many of which are also extremely pervasive, appealing to both liberals and conservatives, and are grounded in a fundamental mistrust of US authority.
Polls show about 10 percent of Americans think QAnon is “a good thing,” Ucsinski added, with Watters noting that size is “significant.” The professor said there’s nothing inherently Republican about the theory, and that both liberals and conservatives believe it. Watters then asked if Q is Trump, and Ucsinski said he doesn’t think so, and that he’s also been accused of being Q.
Supporters of QAnon reacted positively to the segment
Unsurprisingly, given the affirming nature of the discussion, QAnon supporters seemed pretty happy with how their community was portrayed on national television. Tweets from QAnon supporters suggest that Watters pushed back against an unfair characterization of the conspiracy supplied by Ucsinski.
“#QAnon TAKEAWAYS. 1 – kudos to @JesseBWatters for being the first to #AsktheQ. Now, ask the right person, Mr. Watters. 2 – Professor knew very, very little about Q. And while his tone was surprisingly non-confrontational, he made a lot of mistakes designed to make us look bad,” reads one tweet.
Another reads “Finally! A positive introduction of Q on Watters World, expect many new eyes.”