The Media’s Obsession With Qanon Is More Insidious Than You Think

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci


Despite its apparent right-wing affiliation, nobody is more obsessed with the Qanon movement than the progressive corporate press, which seems to look for any opportunity to bring it up. This was evident in the debate disguised as a town hall between President Donald Trump and Savannah Guthrie, a left-wing activist who pretends to be a journalist. 


During the event, which took place on Thursday evening, she asked the president if he would denounce Qanon, a right-leaning conspiracy theory movement. She mentioned that those who align themselves with the movement adhere to a conspiracy theory “that Democrats have a satanic pedophile ring and you [Mr. Trump] are the savior of that.” 

She asked, “can you just once and for all state that this is not true and disavow Qanon in its entirety?”

“I know nothing about QAnon, I know very little,” Trump replied.

“I just told you,” Guthrie insisted.

“You told me, but what you told me doesn’t necessarily make it fact, I hate to say that,” Mr. Trump said. “I know nothing about it, I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it.”

“They believe it is a satanic cult run by the deep state,” Guthrie interjected.

The president responded by reiterating that he doesn’t know about Qanon but that he does know about “antifa and the radical left.” 

Guthrie interjected again, telling Trump: “Republican Senator Ben Sasse said, ‘QAnon is nuts, and real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories.'”

“Why not just say it’s not true?” she pressed.

“He may be right, I just don’t know about QAnon,” Trump replied.

“You do know,” Guthrie shot back. At this point, the alleged journalist began becoming heated and emotional, just like any professional member of the press would do. 


Trump repeated his response but added, “What I do hear about [QAnon] is that they’re very strong against pedophilia, and I agree with that.”

For starters, President Trump’s response was apt. If he truly knows little about the movement, he was right not to trust Guthrie’s description of the group. While she wasn’t wrong, members of the corporate media have lied so often and so brazenly that Trump would have been foolish to simply take her word for it without checking it out for himself. For all he knows, she could have easily been trying to bait him into a gaffe. 

But why is the left pretending that the Qanon movement is such a big deal that the president himself must denounce it? So far, the movement has not been credibly tied to any acts of political violence, nor have they called for physical force against those with whom they disagree. Those affiliated with the movement certainly subscribe to unorthodox and unproven theories, but the notion that they are somehow more harmful than any other conspiracy theory movement is absurd. 

The corporate press is pushing the Qanon issue so hard because it is an effective political tactic used by the media on both sides of the aisle. It is an example of “nutpicking”, a practice designed to discredit one’s political opponents by making it seem as if the fringe of a group somehow represents the entire movement. 

According to RationalWiki: “Nutpicking is the fallacious tactic of picking out and showcasing the nuttiest member(s) of a group as the best representative(s) of that group — hence, ‘picking the nut.’” 


The bottom line is that Guthrie and her ilk want to paint the entire conservative movement with the Qanon conspiracy theory brush. They are attempting to convince their viewers that the group makes up a considerable portion of the right. In this way, they hope that their viewers will see conservatives as wacky conspiracy nuts who should not be taken seriously. 

But before we get on our high horses, we can’t pretend that some in right-wing media don’t do this as well. In many cases, conservatives in the media have “nut picked” rabid, purple-haired feminist types and made it seem as if they represent the majority on the left. In reality, this is an inaccurate portrayal as many on the left can’t stand the constant shrieking and race-baiting. 

While this tendency exists on both sides, it might be more dangerous on the left. A study recently showed that right-leaning individuals understand left-leaning individuals’ beliefs much better than left-leaning individuals understand conservative views on the issues. This, of course, is because progressives control most of the nation’s institutions, including schools, universities, the media, and the entertainment industry. 

The left has not been shy about infusing its ideas in each of these different parts of society, meaning that we are all bombarded by their ideas on a daily basis. However, if someone is already on the left, they would have to live in a red area or have close friends and family on the right to understand what conservatives genuinely believe. 


This reality makes it easier to deceive people on the left by cherry-picking those fringe “nuts” that exist on the right. Since these people are not exposed to authentic conservative thought, they are more likely to fall for the lie. It is yet another reason why the conservative movement would be wise to keep gaining inroads in the culture. The more influence we possess, the less effective this tactic will be. 


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