Why Won’t the Media Ask Trump About QAnon?

QAnon is a lot of things. It’s a conspiracy theory, it’s a prosperity scam, it’s a fascist fantasy, and it’s a lucrative grift. It’s also a sociological experiment, a prank, and a cult. But at its heart, QAnon is a movement of grievances. Some of them are profound (or they would be, if they existed), and some of them are unbelievably petty.

Among the most petty of grievances that QAnon believers have is that the mainstream media refuses to ask President Trump about Q, and is actually working together to NOT ask him about Q.

Such a notion began with QAnon himself, of course. In Drop 1643, posted in late June 2018, responded to a piece on a fringe right wing media site by claiming that the mainstream media could “end this” by simply asking Trump directly about Q.

If Q were fake, they reason, a respected member of the press asking Trump about it and forcing him to say it wasn’t real would end the conspiracy theory for good. After all, what would falsify Q as a member of the Trump team than Trump saying “Q isn’t real, believe me, there’s no Q, it’s not real?”

But since Q is real (to them), this means that the press can never put Trump in a position of talking about it, because the press is top of the list for sealed indictments, field tribunal, and hanging at dawn. Hence, the media conspires to either ignore or actively debunk Q, coordinating their hit pieces and talking points in waves to have stories come one on top of another. Because the alternative is too horrible to even contemplate.

And so, Q believers take to social media and demand that the MSM (who they hate and deride as “fake news”) “ask the Q” to President Trump.

Like most QAnon grievances, this one ignores evidence and assumes facts not in evidence. While there is value in asking public figures that have espoused their belief in Q where they’re coming from, there are a host of legitimate reasons why mainstream media outlets have never asked Trump about QAnon.

It doesn’t require a conspiracy or coordinated talking points or fear of a neck stretching. It’s about the role of the White House press corps, the point of evidence, and the unwillingness to chase every coked-out rabbit down the deepest of dark holes.

Here are just a few of them:

There’s no reason to think Trump even knows what it is. 

Trump has never mentioned Q. He’s never referenced it, never tweeted about it, never even spoken the phrase. While Q believers love to seize on little tics like Trump making circles and poking holes through them while wandering around during his rallies, this isn’t a sign. It’s not even what a Q looks like. Trump doesn’t use the internet other than for tweeting, and it’s never been featured prominently on Fox News, so there’s no reason to think he’s ever heard of it.

Access to the President is limited, and not to be wasted on random conspiracy theories

Trump holds few formal press conferences, and often calls on conservative, pro-Trump outlets. Mainstream reporters get few chances to ask him questions, and even then, they still ask questions that are too complicated and multi-faceted for Trump to answer coherently, giving him room to simply ramble. None of them are going to waste a chance to ask the president about geopolitics, the economy, or the chaos of his administration by asking him to prove he’s not connected to something that doesn’t exist.

Trump-friendly media has had ample opportunity to as him about QAnon – are they part of the conspiracy as well?

Speaking of Fox News, Trump spends more time interacting with infotainment personalities on Rupert Murdoch’s state media company than any other outlet. In his first two years, he did over 40 interviews with Fox News, and is still at it. He had an interview with Sean Hannity (at least his seventh sitdown with Hannity since 2017) just last week, right after his summit in Hanoi with Kim Jong Un collapsed.

For all of these Fox News hits, not one time has he been asked about QAnon. Hannity never has. Neither did Bill O’Reilly. Tucker Carlson? Judge Jeannette? Steve Doocy? Nope, nope, nope. Why won’t Fox News “ask the Q?” What are they trying to hide? What are they afraid of? 

Whatever answer Trump gives wouldn’t matter anyway

Because QAnon is essentially a cult of personality that revolves around Trump, nothing he says will have the slightest impact other than a positive one.

If he denies that it’s real, claims it’s fake through and through, Q believers will simply say that he’s saying what he has to say to keep the operation safe, and that “disinformation is necessary.” If he claims he’s never heard of it, same thing. And if he confirms it’s real…well, he won’t. Because it’s not. Though it’s not like Trump hasn’t leaked classified information out of spite or laziness before…

The Trump administration has already been asked about QAnon

In early August, when Q fever was hitting the mainstream media, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was “asked the Q” about QAnon. Her response? A tepid, boilerplate response about “condemning violence” and changing the subject as fast as possible.

Of course, Q believers retconned that “the question” had not truly been answered, because Sarah isn’t qualified to give the correct answer (or maybe isn’t in on the plot), and only Trump can be asked. The logical fallacy that covers this is “special pleading,” an argument where one deliberately ignores aspects of an answer that they deem unfavorable to their theory.

Trump is the president and can talk about whatever he wants

Donald Trump has no filter. None. During his sweat-soaked, pupil-blown two hour tirade at CPAC on March 2nd, Trump veered wildly from subject to subject, making up fictitious generals, mocking former administration members, making claims that have no relation to the truth, and at one point, appearing to sexually molest an American flag.

If he wanted to talk about QAnon, he’d do it. There would be no need for a prompt or a question, merely a notion in his head that this was something that would get him some cheap applause. QAnon hasn’t spilled out of his mouth because he’s not cognizant of it. Or, he’s been advised not to touch it in public.

Because it’s a crazy, fascist fantasy beneath the dignity of the president.

 

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