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With Trump rally this week, conspiracy theory QAnon gains mainstream attention




WILKES BARRE, PA - AUGUST 02: David Reinert holds up a large
WILKES BARRE, PA - AUGUST 02: David Reinert holds up a large "Q" sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. "Q" represents QAnon, a conspiracy theory group that has been seen at recent rallies.
(Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

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The anonymous (and obscure) internet persona, dubbed “Q,” came to the forefront on Tuesday as attendees of a Trump rally in Tampa held signs reading “We Are Q” and “#QAnon.”

The so-called “followers of Q” incited a series of questions, mainly: who, or what, is Q?

The New York Times describes Q as a self-proclaimed government insider who has incited a community of conspiracy theorists who view Trump as a man attempting to expel “anti-American saboteurs who have taken over government, industry, media and various other institutions of public life.”

A multitude of figures, including Roseanne Barr, have come out in favor of the group. Members look for any and all clues of their leader Q’s existence, and serve as actors to the theories that Q regularly drops regarding possible anti-Trump governmental activities.

Like the Tampa rally, the existence of Q and its followers have recently become more public. In June, an armed man driving an armored truck blocked all traffic on a highway near the Hoover Dam and demanded that the DOJ release its internal report on the Hillary Clinton email probe. The incident appeared to be a result of QAnon-led conspiracy theories.

Larry speaks with guests about the group’s origins, whether they are having an effect on the public and where they fall within the conspiracy theory community.

Guests:

Alex Goldman, co-host of “Reply All,” a Gimlet Media podcast about the internet  

Kathryn Olmsted, professor of history at UC Davis whose areas of expertise include the study of conspiracy theories