Qanon: The Storm is Coming, The Great Awakening & Follow the White Rabbit

For some time, I have been curious about the Qanon hashtag on Twitter. So, I decided I better find out what it is, because it is quite popular.

As it turns out, it is a complicated and long running conspiracy theory of sorts—it is another attempt to expose the deep state—some have compared it to the pizzagate phenomenon.

Let me explain as best I can.

Know Your Meme traces the origin of Qanon to 4chan and dates it back to the end of October 2017. Q apparently refers to a security clearance and the poster identifies himself or herself as “Q Clearance Patriot.” The posts began jumping over to Reddit and then on to Twitter. Early on, The Outer Light YouTube channel also promoted Qanon as legit. Since that time, many other YouTubers have capitalized on the conspiracy theory as well as folks on 8chan.

As best I can tell, the assumption is that this Qanon person is a high level staff member inside the Trump administration who is leaking information to the public through cryptic posts and clues referred to as “bread crumbs” or simply “crumbs.”

When “crumbs” are dropped, followers try and deconstruct the message to understand what is happening inside the deep state. The conspiracy theorists believe Trump is dismantling the deep state and putting himself in grave danger by doing so. Q even posted recently that an assassination plot within the government itself had been thwarted and that, for now, POTUS is safe. Crumbs have also lead to the belief that Gitmo is being held open to eventually imprison the deep state traitors, including Hillary, Obama and George Soros.

The Q phenomenon has lead to YouTube channels and web pages and blogs that attempt to decipher the latest “crumbs.” One such personality is Jerome Corsi, Head of Washington D.C. News Bureau for Alex Jones and http://Infowars.com. Corsi maintains an elaborate “decoding” of Qanon posts on scribd.

https://www.scribd.com/user/869063/Jerome-Corsi

Apparently Corsi has a PhD in political science from Harvard and is a well known conspiracy theorist and prolific author. He has many books listed on Amazon, the most recent being Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump. He also has a book on Obama’s birth certificate controversy and another on the theory that Hitler escaped death.

Qanon Endorses Book “Beyond A Pale Horse”: Book Sells Out on Amazon

So back to Qanon. There are many associated hashtags such as “The Storm,” “The Storm in Coming,” “The Great Awakening” and “Follow the White Rabbit.” Another frequent reference is to Operation Mockingbird:

Operation Mockingbird was an alleged large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency that began in the early 1950s and attempted to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes. (Wikipedia)

One theory about Qanon is that it began as what is called a “LARP.” A larp or larper is a live-action role-playing game, similar to a video game storyline but being acted out in real life through role-playing. Regardless, it has true believers who do not like being mocked and who share information readily with one another or announce the latest Q crumb and compare notes on what it might mean.

SAMPLE POSTS FROM Q:

Qanon has even inspired a T-shirt!

 

News Sources to Avoid: Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

Important takeaway from this study:

These sources deliberately publish misleading, deceptive or incorrect information purporting to be real news about politics, economics or culture. This content includes various forms of propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan, or conspiratorial news and information.

For a source to be labelled as junk news at least three of the following five characteristics must apply:

  • Professionalism: These outlets do not employ the standards and best practices of professional journalism. They refrain from providing clear information about real authors, editors, publishers and owners. They lack transparency, accountability, and do not publish corrections on debunked information.
  • Style: These outlets use emotionally driven language with emotive expressions, hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, misleading headlines, excessive capitalization, unsafe generalizations and fallacies, moving images, graphic pictures and mobilizing memes.
  • Credibility: These outlets rely on false information and conspiracy theories, which they often employ strategically. They report without consulting multiple sources and do not employ fact-checking methods. Their sources are often untrustworthy and their standards of news production lack credibility.
  • Bias: Reporting in these outlets is highly biased and ideologically skewed, which is otherwise described as hyper-partisan reporting. These outlets frequently present opinion and commentary essays as news.
  • Counterfeit: These outlets mimic professional news media. They counterfeit fonts, branding and stylistic content strategies. Commentary and junk content is stylistically disguised as news, with references to news agencies, and credible sources, and headlines written in a news tone, with bylines, date, time and location stamps.

List of Junk News Sources

100percentfedup.com

allenbwest.com

americanthinker.com

anonews.co

barenakedislam.com

beforeitsnews.com

bipartisanreport.com

bizpacreview.com

bredred.com

breitbart.com

campusreform.org

centerforsecuritypolicy.org

clintonemail.com

cnsnews.com

commonsenseconservative.org

concealncarry.stfi.re

conservativedailypost.com

conservativeoutfitters.com

conservativeread.com

conservativereview.com

conservativetribune.com

constitution.com

crooksandliars.com

dailycaller.com

dailynewsbin.com

dangerandplay.com

dcclothesline.com

deepstatenation.com

dennismichaellynch.com

donaldtrumpnews.co

drudgereport.com

endingthefed.com

eutimes.net

floppingaces.net

freebeacon.com

frontpagemag.com

gotnews.com

hannity.com

hotair.com

hotpagenews.com

infowars.com

inquisitr.com

joeforamerica.com

judicialwatch.org

lawnews.tv

lifenews.com

magafeed.com

mediaite.com

mobile.wnd.com

mostdamagingwikileaks.com

mrctv.org

nationalreview.com

naturalnews.com

newsbusters.org

newsmax.com

nydailynews.com

occupydemocrats.com

pamelageller.com

pastebin.com

patdollard.com

patriotpost.us

politopinion.com

puppetstringnews.com

rasmussenreports.com

redstate.com

redstatewatcher.com

scooprocket.com

shareblue.com

silenceisconsent.net

stateofthenation2012.com

theamericanfirst.com

theamericanmirror.com

theblacksphere.net

theconservativetreehouse.com

thefederalist.com

thefederalistpapers.org

thegatewaypundit.com

theodysseyonline.com

thepoliticalinsider.com

therealstrategy.com

therebel.media

truepundit.com

truthfeed.com

ukok.page.tl

usalibertynews.com

vaskal.ca

weaselzippers.us

westernjournalism.com

wnd.com

youngcons.com

yournewswire.com

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Summary of study along with links to supplemental information: 

Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

Data Memo 2018.1 cover

What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address.

Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook’s public pages.

Download here.

Online supplement (.pdf)

Seed list (.xlxs)

Vidya Narayanan, Vlad Barash, John Kelly, Bence Kollanyi, Lisa-Maria Neudert, and Philip N. Howard. “Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US.” Data Memo 2018.1. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk

The Computational Propaganda Research Project (COMPROP) investigates the interaction of algorithms, automation and politics. This work includes analysis of how tools like social media bots are used to manipulate public opinion by amplifying or repressing political content, disinformation, hate speech, and junk news.

We use perspectives from organizational sociology, human computer interaction, communication, information science, and political science to interpret and analyze the evidence we are gathering. Our project is based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.

Adam Schiff is NOT Related to George Soros by Marriage

Circulated on various social media sites:

 

Absolutely FAKE NEWS! Adam Schiff doesn’t even have a sister. There is apparently no relationship whatsoever. SNOPES has a more detailed explanantion on the source of the disinformation.

Sean Hannity’s False Imprisonment & Other Twitter Funnies

When Fox News Star Sean Hannity’s Twitter account mysteriously disappeared in the wee hours of 1.27.18, conspiracy theories flooded the Internet, fueled in part by Julian Assange calling attention to the odd glitch on his own Twitter page:

By midday, Twitter had let a few news outlets know that the account had been briefly compromised and the company was working to restore Sean Hannity to Twitter. The implication seems to be a hack of sort occurred as opposed to the previous occasion when Donald Trump’s account was intentionally removed by a Twitter employee, but that is yet to be verified.

Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists worked hard to decipher Hannity’s last tweet, or rather it now appears the hacker’s last tweet, which said “Form Submission 1649.” Internet sleuths wanted to know if there was some sort of hidden meaning to the phrase–suppositions ranging from Hannity being “falsely imprisoned” to something to do with the year 1649.

And, of course, for many, it was just a good opportunity to poke fun at Hannity himself.