Fox News’s Saturday night host Jesse Watters appears to be forming an intriguing opinion on QAnon, the conspiracy theory that is sweeping the older, less internet-savvy members of Facebook nation. In December, Watters brought on political scientist Joseph Uscinski to discuss the “essence of the Q belief system” in a segment inspired by a conversation with his friend — “a Q guy who is always telling me, ‘Q says this, you gotta look into this, Epstein and everything, it’s all connected.’”
From that informed stance six months ago, Watters’ opinion on the ever-evolving theory — positing that a mysterious administration official is dropping anonymous tips about President Trump’s efforts to hold off a cabal of Satanic child sex-traffickers running the deep state — has changed quite considerably. In an interview with Eric Trump on his Saturday night comedy-news program Watters World, the Fox News host praised the online community for some of its more refined work, while questioning if Twitter’s recent suspension of thousands of QAnon adherents was an attempt to influence the coming election. “Q can do some crazy stuff with the pizza stuff and the Wayfair stuff, but they’ve also uncovered a lot of great stuff when it comes to [Jeffrey] Epstein and when it comes to the Deep State,” Watters said.
Unlike in December, the Fox News host was not speaking to a Q-skeptical guest: In June, Eric Trump posted a message promoting the conspiracy on the day of his father’s disastrous rally in Tulsa. Thus, Watters was able to frame the conspiracy’s alleged findings as “great stuff” without any lengthy consideration of some of the more destructive events in QAnon’s short history, including widespread advice (before the president proposed it) for followers to drink bleach to avoid COVID-19 infection; the murder of a crime boss in Staten Island; an arrest on charges of terrorism; an attempt to assassinate Joe Biden; and at least two kidnappings. In May 2019, the FBI labeled the conspiracy theory as a potential domestic terrorism threat, which did not stop Trump-world figures including Michael Flynn, the president, and his middle son from promoting QAnon in the past two months. (And as NBC News’ Ben Collins notes, the “great stuff” that the conspiracy’s anonymous leader has unearthed was actually brought to light by reporters and “bastardized by Q to fit a narrative about Satanic child cannibalism.”)
The promotion of a baseless conspiracy deemed a potential terrorism threat on the major conservative network in a TV hit featuring the president’s son shows just how rampant the conspiracy’s growth has been since it crept onto 4chan in October 2017. And regardless of the electoral result at the top of the ballot in November, Q appears to be weaving itself into the fabric of American politics for years to come: While a handful of QAnon supporters ran in congressional primaries earlier this year, it appears there will be at least one Q-congresswoman come 2021.