THE CRAZY AND THE WRONG: Meet the Press condemns QAnon!

MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2020

Fails to describe what it is:
On yesterday morning's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd teased his closing segment with a reference to a movement called QAnon:
TODD (8/16/20): ...Traditionally, the economy trumps all other issues. But that may not be the case in a year when voters blame the president for doing a poor job in controlling a pandemic.

When we come back, those fringe believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory: Are they really on the fringe anymore?
A commercial break followed. When Todd returned, he introduced his final segment in the manner shown:
TODD: Welcome back. This week, we saw the rise of something called QAnon. If you're not familiar with it, for viewers, it is a really fringey conspiracy theory that sort of lumps all conspiracy theories together, claims some one weird "Deep State" thing, one person's pulling the levers.

It's very popular on the extreme right these days. And an adherent named Marjorie Taylor Greene won a Republican runoff in a Georgia congressional district. She is likely to end up in Congress as the first sort of known conspiracy theorist of this QAnon thing. Here's what the president had to say about her victory.
With that, Todd played tape of the Trump Q-and-A we ourselves featured on Saturday. To review our report, click here.

In the part of the tape Todd played, Trump refused to answer a question about "QAnon and [Taylor Greene's] decision to embrace that conspiracy theory." Todd then introduced his program's final segment like this:
TODD: Jeh Johnson, the president refused to ever answer that question. He's refused to answer that question millions of times. He's never said he believes in it, but he always seems to do a wink and a nod by not saying anything in either direction. How dangerous is this, is this QAnon? Is this a virus inside the Republican party?
What the heck is QAnon? What do its adherents believe?

So far, Todd hadn't quite explained. He'd suggested that it was a dangerous virus. But he still hadn't explained what QAnon adherents believe.

He'd said that it's "a really fringey conspiracy theory that sort of lumps all conspiracy theories together." He'd said that it claims some one weird "Deep State" thing, one person's pulling the levers."

He'd suggested that it was a dangerous virus. But he still hadn't made any real attempt to explain what adherents believe.

What is this fringey conspiracy theory? What do its believers believe? So far, Todd hadn't explained—and now, neither did Johnson, to whom the first question had gone:
JOHNSON (continuing directly): I'm afraid it could be, Chuck.

Chuck, QAnon and movements like it gain currency because of the way in which Americans receive their news and receive their information on social media. Not enough organizations have standards, have journalistic standards, and people therefore are drawn to sources of information that reaffirm their own biases, their own prejudices, their own conspiracy theories.
And that is the environment in which we live, and in which Americans have to be much, much more skeptical about what they read and see. And that's how a group like this gains traction, to the point where somebody can win a primary.
We agree with everything Johnson said. But what do QAnon believers believe? So far, no one had said!

As this Meet the Press segment continued, Todd directed questions to Carol Lee and Kasie Hunt, his other two panelists. This was the start of Lee's statement:
LEE: When it comes to QAnon, Chuck, you know, the president clearly sees this as something where he doesn't want to alienate any of his supporters. And it's worth noting that the president has retweeted and promoted multiple times things that QAnon supporters and believers have posted. So he's not just not denouncing this. In some ways, he's embracing it.

And even, one of his campaign aides criticized a Republican lawmaker for speaking out against QAnon, saying, you know, "Why don't you focus on Democrat conspiracy theories?" So this is another instance where people around the president and those that I have spoken to said that the president, you know, they don't want him to give oxygen to this, but at the same time, they think people have the right to be wrong.
Lee went on from there a bit. She said that Trump has promoted multiple things that QAnon supporters have posted, but she never specifically said what these conspiracy theories are.

Hunt was the last panelist to speak. She suggested that QAnon is indeed moving out of the fringe, as Todd had originally suggested. But she too declined to describe what its adherents believe:
HUNT: Well, and, Chuck, I think it's very important that we underscore here that this conspiracy theory, (A), is starting to move out of just the fringe. We've seen celebrities struggling to deal with it in their Instagram and Twitter comments.

We have also seen a series of incidents in real life, many of which involve violence or the threat of violence, to the point that you have this FBI warning about these people. So I think it's very important when we talk about how we cover this, it is not just a matter of people being free to believe what they want in a political way or say what they want. This is leading to actual acts in real life that are threatening people and their livelihoods. And so I think that's what's at stake when we hear Republicans say, "Okay, fine. You know, come on in. Join the party." This is much more than that.
According to Hunt, there have been incidents involving violence or the threat of violence. The FBI has issued a warning about these people.

Indeed, "these people" may vene include some celebrities, but what the heck do "these people" believe? So far, no one had said—and Hunt's presentation ended the segment and with it the Meet the Press program.

We were struck by the way the Meet the Press gang avoided describing the beliefs of this group—a group which was important enough to merit one full segment on this weekly program.

What do QAnon believers really believe? What makes these people worth discussing? As he'd handed the floor to Hunt, Todd had used an intriguing word:
TODD: And, Kasie Hunt, it seems as if the leadership on the Republican side, they've had some words perhaps about Marjorie Taylor Greene, but not much else. And here’s what her—

Her runoff opponent described her this way. This is what Dr. John Cowan, who was running as more of the mainstream conservative candidate, he described her this way, Kasie. "She's the antithesis of the Republican Party, and she is not conservative. She's crazy. She deserves a YouTube channel, not a seat in Congress. She's a circus act." Kevin McCarthy's going to welcome her in, apparently, and seat her on committees.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is crazy. Or at least, so her (Republican) opponent said.

In our view, that's a basically sensible assessment, given the norms of our language. QAnon continues a trend of the past several decades—a trend in which American politics is driven by claims and beliefs which, in the colloquial sense, can be sensibly described as "crazy."

These crazy beliefs have been around for a good long time. They date at least to the crazy theories about the many murders the Clintons (plural) had supposedly committed.

These "theories" were spread around by the Reverend Falwell and were widely tolerated by the cowering mainstream press.

Increasingly, we have The Crazy in our discourse—but we also have The Misinformed, Stupid and Wrong. All these elements swirl out of the whirlwind known as the "democratization of media," in which every crackpot, nut and kook can spread his or her crazy ideas around.

Also, everyone has the power to spread ideas and claims which are dumb, unhelpful, highly selective, stupid, self-flattering and/or wrong.

Johnson fingered "social media" as the source of this latest conspiracy theory. Before that, we had talk radio, and we had the "Clinton Chronicles" videotapes hawked by the Reverend Falwell, one of our holiest men, generally for $43.

After that came "cable news" in its current configuration. Also, social media.

New technologies have produced a democratization, in which every person, no matter how crazy or lacking in insight, can spread his or her ideas all around. Along the way, we've learned an important new fact:

We humans have a very hard time spotting The Crazy and even The Wrong. That's true Over Here within our own tribe, and it's very much true Over There.

Yesterday, Meet the press warned the world about QAnon, but no one explained what its adherents believe. On balance, that strikes us as an unhelpful news judgment.

A deep anthropology lesson unfolds as we discuss those adherents' crazy beliefs. Ancient claims about our species are given the lie in this process.

The Crazy is spreading quite fast Over There. Is our tribe widely sunk in The Wrong?

Tomorrow: Explaining what QAnon says

Coming: If it feels good, repeat it

38 comments:

  1. "but what the heck do "these people" believe?"

    Something so horrible, obviously, that it can't be repeated on your liberal-cancer channels.

    Also, judging by the amount of time they spend denouncing it, it has to be largely true, and dangerous to your zombie cult, dear Bob.

    Or do you have another explanation, dear Bob? As far as we are concerned, everything your goebbelsian media care to actively denounce as a "debunked conspiracy theory" (or some such) has to be the god's honest truth. Otherwise why would they be worrying about it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ешьте дерьмо, тролль

      Delete

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  2. That super-powerful global pedophile ring must be quaking in their boots, now that the stupidest people from everyone's high school years are coming for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. Actually, dear dembot, the pedo-ring thing turned out to be almost exactly true, after all. The Pedo island, run buy a super-rich liberal for his liberal buddies, including (unsurprisingly) Bubba the Demigod. Lolita-Express, and all that shit.

      All true. And that's the reason zombie media were so eager to ridicule the "conspiracy theory".

      Delete
    2. Tough break that your important "news" came out the same year the President tried to gaslight a virus like it was Maggie Haberman.
      All people want to talk about is the 170,000 deaths caused by Trump's gross negligence.

      Delete
    3. The fact of Epstein's arrest disproves the conspiracy theory. He was, after all, arrested. If these guys were running the world, they wouldn't have been stopped. And don't forget that Donald was best buddies with Epstein. The theory says he is supposed to be the super-hero that brings the ring down, not an enthusiastic participant in its sex-trafficking.

      Delete
    4. Eh, what? The fact of Epstein's arrest proves the existence of liberal pedo-ring. And, of course, he was murdered in jail, evidence destroyed by the justice system, obviously to avoid implicating the rich and powerful.

      It doesn't get "crazier" (in Bob's lingo, when it's about the Others) than that, dear dembot. And yet, it the truth.

      Delete
  3. First things first:
    Are we blaming Russia or Big Pharma for Trump's Adderall addiction/ abuse?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't expect the media, whose boardmembers also sit on the boards of drug companies---and who receive $5 BILLION annually from big pharma ad sales---to discuss Trump's subscription drug abuse.

      Delete
  4. Misinformed, Stupid and Wrong. That describes well the poor people who think Trump is in cahoots with Putin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're being gaslit by a media that doesn't want you to know the country is a white supremacist-run shithole.

      Delete
    2. It's not that exactly. They are being gas-lit (not sure what that means), so let me say they are being propagandized and lied to by entrenched Democratic interests and the CIA that want to take the eyes of poor dupes like yourselves off of the hollowness and shortcomings of their party. And to avoid the lessons of the 2016 Sanders campaign which showed a clear desire to move the party to the left, something entrenched Democrats cannot do because they are too entwined with Wall Street and other corporate interests.

      WU TANG!

      Delete
    3. The CIA?
      Is that you, QAnon?

      Delete
    4. Were the accusations not made by the heads of intelligence from the start?

      Delete
    5. (The CIA was threatened by Trump who wanted to pull out of our myriad foreign escapades.)

      Delete
    6. "Were the accusations not made by the heads of intelligence from the start?"

      That's what TPTB would want you to believe.
      Pro tip: They're always trying to send you down rabbit holes.

      Delete
    7. TPTB like Seymour Hersh?

      Delete
  5. As near as I can see, this treatment of QAnon by the media is the same as that accorded to any cult or conspiracy theory. You don't explain their beliefs because you are not in the business of spreading their conspiracy.

    I have seen many stories about scientology without any explanation of their beliefs. I've seen stories about Pentecostals without any explanation of how they differ from other religions. I've never seen the beliefs of the alt-Right explains fully by the media. There is a group of covid-truthers that believes Bill Gates is going to poison everyone with vaccines.

    Q-Anon has been around for a long time, it hasn't just emerged. It was promulgated by Alex Jones and you could find out about it by watching his shows. They not only believe that Trump is going to save us by defeating a global pedophilia sex-trafficking ring, but they believe that alien Reptilians are taking human form to live and walk among us, now occupying key positions of power.

    What is different now is that the internet is available to such people for recruiting purposes. Somerby seems to be advocating that the media provide more info about such groups, which would give them greater perceived legitimacy and help spread their ideas. I don't believe that is necessary or desirable.

    The election of Republican candidates in primaries who pander to or actually hold these beliefs is a sign that such conspiracy theories are no longer inhabiting the fringe but moving into the mainstream. In a society that permits free exploration of all beliefs and ideas, that is a sign that our system is not working. Freedom of belief does not mean that all ideas must be treated as equally viable, equally worthy of consideration. When Somerby demands that the press explain these theories, instead of describing them as cult or fringe beliefs, he is asking that such theories be given equal treatment and that is a huge mistake.

    Who argues that Q-Anon (and similar Alex Jones garbage) should be given serious attention on TV? Not liberals. I don't think Somerby has thought this one through. Next he'll be arguing that covid-truthers should appear on Maddow's show, that 911-truthers be given a platform as serious news, that Trump's Russia-gate investigation is real and that Hydroxychloroquine is a real treatment being suppressed by the medical community for their own gain. Because reporters must give equal time to the biggest flakes, treating their ideas as equally valid. At that point our media will be no different than tabloids, social media and there will be no reliable source of information in a society that depends on vetting of stories. He used to argue for the need for such vetting. Now he wants reporters to spell out the details of the nuttiest delusions. What has become of Somerby?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The election of Republican candidates in primaries who pander to or actually hold these beliefs is a sign that such conspiracy theories are no longer inhabiting the fringe but moving into the mainstream.

      It was not too long ago that people like Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Ron Johnson were fringe radicals. They are now party leaders.

      Note that past republican House Speakers like Paul Ryan and John Boehner had to get out because they were deemed too wishy washy RINOs.

      Delete
    2. "It was not too long ago that people like Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Ron Johnson were fringe radicals."

      Yes, dear Hillary, as compared to your perfectly reasonable comrades known as "The Squad".

      Not to mention your cult's VIP clowns kneeling at the capitol building while wearing tribal African cloth, to honor a five-time convict and junkie.

      Delete
    3. Mao,
      Google translate doesn't have a Gibberish to English feature.
      Sad.

      Delete
    4. I'm sorry, dear dembot, I can't help you. Maybe try some other translation software?

      Delete
    5. Mao gives us his Pee-Wee Herman impression - "I know you are but what am I" Bwahaha

      How's the weather in Belarus, Boris?

      Delete
    6. Dear Hillary, if I may ask, outta curiosity: who is this Boris you're dreaming of all the time? Is it someone you met on the Pedo island?

      Delete
    7. Don't fall for it. Mao would love to be turned into a sex slave by Trump, Maxwell, and Epstein.
      He's hoping Pedo Island gets shutdown due to jealousy.

      Delete
    8. "You don't explain their beliefs because you are not in the business of spreading their conspiracy."

      Exactly! Todd was right not to state any of the specifics and spread them over the airways. Though he did say: it is a really fringey conspiracy theory that sort of lumps all conspiracy theories together, claims some weird "Deep State" thing, one person's pulling the levers.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The media love QAnon because they can criticize a right-wing group. OTOH they ignore Antifa, or even claim it doesn't exist, because Antifa are left-wing crazies. The media strive to ignore Antifa's many violent acts, like the one at the link.

    Portland protesters beat driver unconscious after crashing truck near Black Lives Matter rally

    https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2020/08/driver-of-crashed-car-is-beaten-blocks-from-downtown-portland-protests.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This link shows videos of the mob beating the man unconscious and attacking a woman who might be his wife. The videos are disturbing.

      When will Democrats and their media allies acknowledge that this is happening?

      When will they denounce this violence?

      https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/08/antifa-is-evil.php

      Delete
    2. AnonymousAugust 17, 2020 at 2:41 PM
      mm,
      Those Trump voters are so pissed off at Trump for abandoning them and loading even more Wall Street swampers into the government, they're going to badmouth BLM.

      Delete
    3. In my hometown, there were 80 BLM protesters and 200 counter-protesters. The counter-protesters drove vehicles through police barriers into the protesters. A police car had to hit one of the vehicles to stop him from hitting people with his truck. In a second incident, the police went before the vehicle, helping people get out of the way of the car deliberately driving through the protest. A car is a weapon when you drive it into a crowd of people.

      No one reported this incident either, except for my local newspaper. I suspect there are incidents of violence like this all over the country, too small to gain national attention. Since it was the counter-protesters misbehaving, this incident won't appear at powerlineblog.com.

      Delete
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