One of the great contradictions of the QAnon conspiracy theory is that they crave the attention of a mainstream media that they simultaneously believe is the enemy of free people everywhere. QAnon gurus and followers constantly complain about the “hit pieces” run by the “Mockingbird media” that point out the failings and violent ideation of the conspiracy, and at the same time, complain that the media writes them off as a LARP.
The most frequent way that this complaining manifest itself is in QAnon followers whining that the media will not “ask the question” of Donald Trump – ie, getting the president on the record having to confirm or deny whether QAnon exists.
This isn’t new, of course. The Q poster themselves started the whining drumbeat in June 2018 with a drop calling it “the ultimate question.”
“We are waiting for a reporter to ask the ultimate question.
What are they waiting for?
They can end this at any time simply by asking POTUS, right?
We may have to ‘force’ this one.”
I wrote about the #AskTheQ phenomenon a while later, asking some pertinent questions such as “why must the president be asked?” and “why doesn’t Sean Hannity or Lou Dobbs do it?” Since then, we’ve had another year where nobody “asked the question,” leaving Q fans to make memes, complain, and demand random people on Twitter harass the president about their pet conspiracy theory.
Since that post, media access to the president continued to degrade to the point where the only real opportunity someone would have to “ask the question” is when Trump holds one of his impromptu question and answer sessions under the whirling blades of Marine One, a phenomenon tagged with the nickname “yellicopter” because all the president does is yell answers to questions he can barely hear. Formal press conferences have been rare, chaotic, and essentially useless. But he’s continued to do appearances on Fox News, which has not seen a single host “ask the question” of their God Emperor President King.
One other thing that’s happened is that around Christmas, holed up in Mar-a-Lago and surrounded by sychophants, enablers, and endless scoops of ice cream; the president retweeted a bunch of QAnon accounts. Some of these were just Twitter bootlickers who had previously tweeted something related to Q, while others actually had Q hashtags or icons in their profile. But all had some mention of Q somewhere in their social media footprint.
Again, it’s not clear if the president actually knows what Q is – though I’m still working on analyzing the individual tweets to see what I can learn. He’s still never mentioned it by name, or even strongly implied it. And none of the tweets he shared actually mentioned Q. So we’re still in the same place we were in last time I wrote about this, but now there’s an actual impetus for the mainstream media to ask Trump about Q.
So far, they haven’t. Trump had another impromptu presser at Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve, and with the erupting chaos in Iran on everyone’s mind, QAnon didn’t come up. But at some point, Trump will hold another yellicopter session, take questions during a joint press conference with a foreign leader, or go back to the safe and warm arms of Fox News. And one of those will present an opportunity to ask the president about all those bizarre trolls he was retweeting around Christmas.
So will anyone? I still don’t know. And I can see reasons nobody will. More mainstream (ie, “fake news”) outlets likely still won’t want to waste their precious chances to get the president on record. And more Trump-friendly outlets likely won’t want to ask the president something potentially embarrassing about the violent cult that idolizes him.
Over the weekend, I recorded an appearance on the QAnon Anonymous podcast, which you really should be listening to. And we talked about this very subject and agreed that there’s one specific way to ask it, by framing the question not around the movement itself, or the lunatic garbage it believes, but by the violence done in its name.
A reporter who chose to could say something like, “Mr. President, just before Christmas, you retweeted a number of accounts connected to the QAnon conspiracy theory. Are you aware of the violent acts that QAnon believers have committed?”
But even if some intrepid reporter did ask the president that, what would the desire outcome be for anyone? He’s probably going to spin out some word salad about loving his people who love him and lots of great people on both sides and I don’t know anything about it and we’re looking into it and we’ll have something to say in a few weeks and some people love me a lot. The answer will be meaningless, and will have the added effect of making the questioner look like a fool.
QAnon believers, of course, will be ecstatic that the president mentioned their Plan to Save the World, no matter if he condemns it, claims he’s never heard of it, or even belittles the people who believe it. The words won’t matter, only that they were said. It certainly won’t “end this” because the only person who can end QAnon (if it truly can be ended at this point) is the Q poster. And the president mentioning Q will shoot Q into a new stratosphere of grift and madness that Q and the gurus in Q’s wake will want to be sure to monetize.
So don’t look for anyone to “ask the question” any time soon. Hell, I’ve asked the White House for comment on Q several times, and have never received an answer. Other Trump-connected officials have condemned the conspiracy, most recently Trump campaign person Jessie Jane Duff, who denounced it on Twitter.
It doesn’t matter. The question doesn’t matter, and the answer won’t matter. All that matters is keeping tabs on the movement, countering its violent ideation, and helping the families its destroying.
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