By Joshua Phillips
Over the past week, nearly all legacy news outlets have published articles criticizing the growing movement around a mysterious figure or group known as “Q,” which since October 2017 has been publishing alleged leaks on behind-the-scenes actions taken by the Trump administration to uproot alleged global corruption.
The general angle on Q from most news outlets is the same—that it’s a conspiracy theory—and The Washington Post even went so far as to call it a “deranged conspiracy cult.”
The media backlash has done little to dissuade Q supporters, however, who continue to support the movement with billboards and t-shirts at Trump rallies, and in numerous online groups that analyze and discuss recent news and posts from Q.
To gain a better understanding of the movement, and why people believe in it, The Epoch Times spoke with Q fans at recent Trump rallies in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and with Jordan Sather, a prominent figure online who speaks and writes about his analysis of Q.
“Anybody calling it a cult or calling it a conspiracy theory, or calling it names, is doing so from an ignorant standpoint. Everybody attacking it, I find, they’re not even reading it,” said Sather, who runs the “Destroying the Illusion” channel on YouTube, on which he analyzes Q posts.
Q is a series of anonymous posts on the 8chan forum, which includes encryption to protect the identity of users, allowing for free discussion. The Q posts are mainly based on politics and focus on giving context to events both in the past and allegedly still to come. They focus heavily on government corruption and allege that actions are being taken by Trump and his administration to purge this corruption.
Sather described Q as a “laser pointer” that directs people to research chains of open-source information and discuss their findings on the forum.
He said that Q “hopped on the scene at a very pivotal point,” in October 2017. According to Sather, there is a fight between a “deep state” system comprising intelligence agencies and corrupt organizations, and an alliance of military intelligence agencies and patriots fighting this system. This fight, Sather believes, ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign message to “drain the swamp.”
Sather said, “What 2016 and 2017 brought us was an opportunity with Donald Trump for somebody who is not going to go along with the rogue intelligence agencies anymore, and that’s when Q popped onto the scene as basically the big public warning saying stuff is going to start going down.”
The Q forum has received a large following. On June 28, Time Magazine listed Q as one of “the 25 most influential people on the internet.” Some users follow Q posts directly on 8chan, while many others follow various websites and YouTube channels that republish and analyze the posts.
Francesca Spotts, 38, who works as a bartender, was holding a Q sign at an Aug. 2 Trump rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “The information is for you to investigate yourself, just like the news,” she said. “If you’re watching CNN, you’re looking at information and it’s up to you to go out and validate that information in other places, and this is the same thing. It’s just a different news outlet.
“Q is basically just a forum for news—tidbits of information that the American public can see for themselves and figure out for themselves. It’s news that we’re not seeing on the mainstream media. So that’s why there’s a big following.”
Jay Domer, 27, who works as a cook, was at the Aug. 4 rally in Lewis Center, Ohio. He said that he has been following the Q posts for several months and that some of the posts point to hypocrisy in legacy news outlets. “[Q posts] a lot of CNN and Washington Post articles, and basically uses their own articles against them,” he said. “So, this is what they posted two years ago, and this is what they’re posting today, and they’re the complete opposite.”
Rachel Reed, 27, who works as a manager at a retail store, was attending the rally with Domer and noted that, from her perspective, the attacks on the Q movement by legacy news outlets “mean we’re doing something right.”
“If we were no threat, they wouldn’t have to waste their resources and time to silence us,” Reed said.
She also pointed to the more than 45,000 sealed indictments said to be waiting currently at the Justice Department and noted that in a normal year the number is only 2,000 to 3,000. A team of volunteers compiled the number of indictments using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records service of the federal judiciary. Reed believes the sealed indictments are tied to Q claims about the Trump administration clearing out corruption.
According to Sather, many news articles have attempted to analyze who Q is, rather than why the posts exist. In Sather’s analysis, the Q posts are part of an information dissemination project being run with the purpose of informing the public about political events as they take place.
“This is a full disclosure,” he said. “This isn’t just small little pieces of corruption. The amazing thing about this Q operation is it connects the dots over so many connections.”
He said that if the Trump administration were to uphold its promises to “drain the swamp,” it would likely look like what Q is discussing. He also said that it if the alleged events are real, it makes sense that it is done through an alternative channel rather than legacy news outlets or social media that could censor the information.
Sather also believes that the sometimes indirect nature of the posts, which use abbreviations for names and incidents, relying on the community to decode the meaning, is also done in a way that would not violate national security laws.
Part of the belief that Q is a back channel of the Trump administration is also tied to alleged “proofs” the movement has received from Trump tweets that subtly correspond to Q posts, or other actions such as pointing to people with Q shirts and signs at rallies. Sather noted a recent video where the Trump motorcade honked at supporters holding a sign that read “Honk for Q MAGA.”
Sather also noted, “If this was a conspiracy, why hasn’t Trump himself distanced from it? If this would hurt his platform in any way, now or in the future, you’d think he would have said something about it by now. I mean, it’s everywhere.”
Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.