Untangling viral misinformation and explaining where it comes from, the damage it causes and what we should do about it.
Usually Monday evening majority draft opinion leaked indicating that the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade would seem to be good news for the QAnon movement, which is deeply enmeshed in the American religious right.
But no matter what happens, the first reaction from QAnon believers is usually that it is some sort of deep state conspiracy.
So when Politico published the draft notice On Monday night, QAnon’s conspiracy advice lit up claiming the timing of the leak was designed to distract people from the launch of a new movie called ‘2000 Mules’, which is the latest conspiracy-laden ‘documentary’ to allege massive voter fraud took place in the 2020 election, rigging the result in favor of President Joe Biden.
The film is the brainchild of right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, a well-known conservative troll who was pardoned by former President Donald Trump in 2018 after pleading guilty to violating federal campaign finance law. in 2014.
D’Souza has been a relentless propeller of false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and in his latest work uses cellphone data to allege that some people in swing states cast multiple ballots in the ballot boxes before the vote. . This, of course, was legal in many states as lawmakers implemented new rules to address concerns about in-person voting due to COVID-19.
The film, which Trump promoted at his rally in Ohio last weekend, is currently only showing in a limited number of theaters, which the film’s backers have rented and are selling tickets on. their website. It will have its virtual premiere next weekend, when people can watch it online for $20 or catch a glitzy in-person premiere in Las Vegas for $500.
VICE News hasn’t seen the film, but based on D’Souza’s own allegations in media interviews before its release, it appears he’s confusing laws that made it easier to vote during the pandemic with allegations of “election robbery”. the Washington Post has already pre-bunked these and more movie claims.
But actually seeing the movie isn’t important, at least not for all the QAnon fanatics online Monday night, who immediately saw the hand of the Deep State at work in the deer to run away.
“Funny how it happens at the same time as the premiere of 2000 Mules,” a member of a popular QAnon channel wrote on Telegram on Tuesday morning.
Others pointed out that “the opinion was written in February. It was leaked TODAY in an attempt to start a firestorm and drown out the sound of around 2,000 mules.
“I’m not saying this decision isn’t important but there is something else coming that they want the public to avoid and in my opinion that is the release of 2000 Mules,” another user wrote. .
On the QAnon-centric Great Awakening message board, posters claimed the leak was proof that the “deep state” was panicking. “This is an extremely desperate move from a cornered adversary,” one user wrote.
In reaction to the news that there were pro-choice protesters outside the Supreme Court on Monday night, one user fell back on a well-worn conspiracy trope: “Paid crisis actors, every single one of them. Eyes should be on 2000 mules, not on this.
This belief was supported by a poster on the Great Awakening board. “They look like hired people. Not your usual March for Life participants. Expect possible false banners/fences to trace back to DC.
Others pushed back against the narrative that the leak was a deep state plot. QAnon Anti-Semitic Influencer Craig Longley told his 115,000 Telegram subscribers that instead of being a distraction, the leak was part of the plan and that “there is no distraction. This turns into the predicted flood.
But a member of the channel went even further on Tuesday morning, calling the leak “triple blind”. According to this user, “covering 2000 mules is a small thing” because it could also change the outcome of the Roe vs. Wade decision. Finally, the user claims the leak is designed to cover up the Biden administration’s decision to give $33 billion in aid to Ukraine that “will go back to the United States so the Dems can donate $10,000,000.” $ for each vote and each county in the United States. They will continue to do so until the army intervenes.
The conspiracy was not limited to fringe message boards and Telegram channels for long, quickly moving to mainstream social media thanks in large part to Josh Barnett, a Republican candidate for Congress in Arizona.
Barnett frequently posted hardcore QAnon content, including a 2019 Facebook post that used multiple QAnon hashtags such as #WeAreQ.
Like many political candidates do when their ties to QAnon have been made public, Barnett tried to distance himself from the conspiratorial movement by saying he doesn’t know much about Q. But his Monday night tweet shows he at least still swims in the same conspiratorial cesspool as the movement’s true believers.
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