QAnon and on: why the fight against extremist conspiracies is far from over

Tim Adams in The Guardian:

On 7 January this year, a day after the mob stormed the Capitol in Washington DC, a curious exchange occurred in the netherworld of global conspiracy. Alex Jones, the rasp-voiced mouthpiece of fake news for the past decade, was in conversation with the most visible leader of the previous day’s shocking events: Jacob Chansley, the self-styled “Q Shaman” who featured on the world’s front pages, in buffalo horns, animal skins and face paint. Jones, on his fake-news platform Infowars, with its million-plus viewers and sharers, had for years been the loudhailer of unhinged stories that included the belief that Hillary Clinton was the antichrist, that Michelle Obama was a man, that the Pentagon and George Soros had detonated a “homosexual bomb” that turned even frogs gay, that 9/11 had been a “false flag” operation and, most viciously, that the Sandy Hook school murders, in which 20 children and six teachers died, were staged by “crisis actors” to promote gun control. Jones had inevitably been among those who addressed the restive crowd at Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” march (having donated $50,000 for the staging of the rally) and calling for supporters to “get on a war footing” to defend the president. Two days later, however, when faced with the rhetoric of Chansley, whom he had invited on to his show to explain the insurrection, it seemed even he, America’s conspirator in chief, finally couldn’t take the lies any more.

As the Q Shaman launched into his justification of the mob violence that had left five people dead, a diatribe involving reference to the supposed QAnon revelations that the Democratic party was a front for a satanic paedophile ring that Trump was destined to expose and destroy, Jones repeatedly interrupted him. When Chansley asked plaintively why he wouldn’t listen (“you’re a hero to me, man”), Jones cut him off: “Because you’re full of crap!” he yelled. “That’s why! Because every goddamned thing out of you people’s mouths doesn’t come true. I knew what you were on day one and I know what you are now and I’m sick of it! I’m sick of all these witches and warlocks… I can’t talk to you any more. Jesus Christ! Lord help me. Aaargh!”

More here.