A Fox News reporter cited a major promoter of QAnon on-air Friday morning, exposing the network’s viewers to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory.
In a Fox & Friends First segment on Donald Trump’s new executive order on campus free speech, Fox reporter Carley Shimkus read a tweet from @QAnon76, a significant QAnon account on Twitter that has more than 160,000 followers.
Shimkus cited @QAnon76 as one of the Twitter users praising Trump’s new executive order, reading the tweet on-air as Fox put the Twitter handle on-screen.
“Do not for one second, underestimate the significance of this EO,” the tweet read. “Thank you POTUS for reestablishing and preserving FREE SPEECH rights for ALL students.”
QAnon adherents believe a series of online clues posted by “Q” have exposed a secret world hidden by the “deep state.” They think that Trump is engaged in a secret war against a pedophile cult in the Democratic Party, in an echo of the earlier Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
QAnon believers think Trump is about to arrest and even execute top Democrats, and much of their time is spent in online messages boards awaiting the day when Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama will face military tribunals.
Despite the outlandish ideas it’s based on, QAnon has taken among a segment of Trump supporters. Believers have shown up at Trump rallies with “Q” shirts and signs, and Trump met with a major QAnon follower in the White House last year. QAnon supporters have also been linked to several violent incidents, including a Seattle murder and the recent killing of a mafia boss.
QAnon fans are desperate for validation that their bizarre theory is real—and they saw Fox’s mention of @QAnon76 as more proof that it is.
“We are the news!” wrote one QAnon believer on Twitter, racking up hundreds of retweets from like-minded QAnon fans.
The anonymous operator behind the @QAnon76 account celebrated the Fox mention too, citing it as proof that QAnon is real.
“PATRIOTS IN CONTROL,” the account tweeted.