In the last few years, establishment media outlets have directed an abundance of resources toward covering the QAnon conspiracy theory.
In general, QAnon supporters are a right-wing fringe who believe a secret cabal of international sex traffickers to be conspiring alongside members of the American government’s deep state. They also view former President Donald Trump as a sort of messianic figure, chosen by God to stop the supposed syndicate.
If many of the most prominent establishment media outlets are to be believed, followers of the QAnon conspiracy pose an existential threat to American democracy and are especially pervasive among Trump’s base.
However, a new survey shows the prevalence of such ideas has been seriously exaggerated.
According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll, only 4 percent of Trump voters have a favorable view of QAnon.
The nationwide survey was conducted Feb. 15-20 through phone interviews with American citizens who voted for Trump in the 2020 election.
The final results compiled responses from 1,000 interviewees with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Respondents were asked whether their opinion of QAnon was “generally favorable or generally unfavorable.”
In addition to the aforementioned 4 percent, 31.4 percent found the movement “unfavorable,” 43.3 percent said they had “never heard” of QAnon, and 21.3 percent were undecided.
These findings stand in stark contrast to the fearful rhetoric of various establishment media outlets about the conspiracy theory movement.
For example, in September 2020, ABC News claimed QAnon “had arrived in the mainstream.”
If the USA Today/Suffolk University poll is to be believed, these statements are wild exaggerations.
Many critics have pointed out the disparate coverage of QAnon in the establishment media compared with ideas many consider to be equally fallible — such as the theory of systemic racism.
An idea rooted in the theoretical framework of critical race theory, systemic racism propounds that all performance gaps between racial groups must be due to gross racial discrimination.
While the QAnon theory lives on the fringes of the political right, the theory of systemic racism has been a central piece of the Democratic Party’s platform, with President Joe Biden crafting much of his “equity” agenda based on its presuppositions.
Political scientist Wilfred Reilly explained why he saw the “conspiracy theory” of systemic racism as particularly problematic.
“If hard data shows that Asians, Jews, Nigerians, E. Indians, etc. out-earn whites — and it does — this at very least strongly indicates that potent hidden racism is not the primary problem for Black Americans today,” Reilly told The Western Journal via email.
Furthermore, in an article for Spiked, Reilly pointed out that while the fringes of the right and left have their fair share of conspiracy theories — including QAnon — no such idea has more mainstream leverage than that of systemic racism.
“Almost forgotten amid the justified mockery of comments like these, however, has been the extraordinarily extensive prevalence of a different sort of conspiracy theory,” he wrote.
“The narrative behind movements like Black Lives Matter contends that hundreds — if not thousands — of black Americans are murdered by the state on an annual basis, that harassment and abuse of blacks by whites is constant, and that virtually all gaps in performance between racial groups must reflect hidden racism.
“These claims are almost universally false. But they have been accepted as conventional wisdom.”
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