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QAnon: A Look Inside The Online Conspiracy47:29
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In this Aug. 2, 2018 file photo, David Reinert holding a Q sign waits in line with others to enter a campaign rally with President Donald Trump in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Matt Rourke, File/AP)
In this Aug. 2, 2018 file photo, David Reinert holding a Q sign waits in line with others to enter a campaign rally with President Donald Trump in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Matt Rourke, File/AP)

Conspiracy theories have always woven their way through American history. But with the internet, and the emergence of QAnon, they’ve run wild.  

Guests

Adrienne LaFrance, executive editor of The Atlantic. (@AdrienneLaF)

Joseph Uscinski, professor of political science at the University of Miami. Co-author of “American Conspiracy Theories” and editor of “Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them.” (@JoeUscinski)

Jane Lytvynenko, senior reporter covering disinformation for Buzzfeed News. (@JaneLytv)

From The Reading List

The Atlantic: "The Prophecies of Q" — "The origins of QAnon are recent, but even so, separating myth from reality can be hard. One place to begin is with Edgar Maddison Welch, a deeply religious father of two, who until Sunday, December 4, 2016, had lived an unremarkable life in the small town of Salisbury, North Carolina."

Washington Post: "How the Trump campaign came to court QAnon, the online conspiracy movement identified by the FBI as a violent threat" — "Outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, Kayleigh McEnany raised a microphone to a mega-fan and asked what it felt like to be acknowledged by President Trump at his February rally in Sin City."

The Atlantic: "The Coronavirus Conspiracy Boom" — "COVID-19 has created a perfect storm for conspiracy theorists."

Washington Post: "Who supports QAnon? Here’s what our poll finds." — "The QAnon conspiracy theory surged back into national news recently when Twitter announced that it had banned numerous QAnon-affiliated accounts for coordinated harassment."

USA Today: "What is QAnon and where did it come from? What to know about the far-right conspiracy theory" — "A growing right-wing conspiracy theory has garnered national attention after Twitter announced it was removing and suspending accounts associated with it."

Associated Press: "Misinformation on coronavirus is proving highly contagious" — "As the world races to find a vaccine and a treatment for COVID-19, there is seemingly no antidote in sight for the burgeoning outbreak of coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham cures."

The Atlantic: "The Normalization of Conspiracy Culture" — "The catastrophe wasn’t what it seemed. It was an inside job, people whispered. Rome didn’t have to burn to the ground."

This program aired on August 4, 2020.

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Stefano Kotsonis Producer, On Point
Stefano Kotsonis is a producer for WBUR's On Point.

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Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.

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