This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast features an interview with journalist, published author, and the foremost expert in this ever-changing QAnon conspiracy theory, Mike Rothschild. Mike is a contributing writer for millennial-focused news and technology site the Daily Dot, where he explores the intersections between internet culture and politics through the lens of conspiracy theories. As a subject matter expert in the field of fringe beliefs, Mike has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, Yahoo, the Daily Beast, CBS, the San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone, Snopes, NBC News, Vice, and Politico, among many others. He is also a frequent speaker, and podcast and radio guest on the topic of conspiracy theories, including NPR’s weekly show “On the Media,” a Vice documentary, and the ReplyAll podcast. On October 5, 2017, President Trump made a cryptic remark in the State Dining Room at a gathering of military officials. He said it felt like “the calm before the storm” — then refused to elaborate as puzzled journalists asked him to explain. But on the infamous message boards of 4chan, a mysterious poster going by “Q Clearance Patriot,” who claimed to be in “military intelligence,” began the elaboration on their own. In the days that followed, Q’s wild yarn explaining Trump’s remarks began to rival the sinister intricacies of a Tom Clancy novel, while satisfying the deepest desires of MAGA-America. Did any of what Q predicted come to pass? No. Did that stop people from clinging to every word they were reading, expanding its mythology, and promoting it wider and wider? No. In Mike Rosthchild’s The Storm Is Upon Us — the focus of this episode — readers are whisked from the background conspiracies and cults that fed the Q phenomenon, to its embrace by right-wing media and Donald Trump, through the rending of families as loved ones became addicted to Q’s increasingly violent rhetoric. He also makes a compelling case that mocking the seeming madness of QAnon will get us nowhere. Rather, his impassioned reportage makes clear that it’s critical to figure out what QAnon really is — because QAnon and its relentlessly dark theory of everything isn’t done yet. In this episode host Michael Shields and Mike Rothschild discuss the appeal of QAnon to far too many Americans while considering how the mythology of QAnon somehow continues to endure. They explore how Anti-semitism is deeply baked into QAnon’s mythology, how violent the movement has alway been (well before the January 6th Insurrection), how the pandemic affected the QAnon movement, how one can potential help release a family member from Q’s spell, and much, much more.
Grab a copy of The Storm Is Upon Us here!