Fox declined to comment all day on Sunday. After repeated requests for comment, the network issued a statement from Watters, which said, “While discussing the double standard of big tech censorship, I mentioned the conspiracy group QAnon, which I don’t support or believe in. My comments should not be mistaken for giving credence to this fringe platform.”
But Watters said on the air that “they’ve also uncovered a lot of great stuff,” which means he may believe parts of it.
Researchers have found overlap between QAnon adherents and supporters of President Trump, which is why multiple references to the conspiracy theory have worked their way onto Fox’s pro-Trump shows in recent months. When it happens, it’s a failure of both producing and hosting.
Sinclair backs down
Darcy’s key question: “Is it still appropriate to give airtime to a conspiracy theory like this one, even if presented alongside other views?” He asked a Sinclair spokesperson, but never got a response.
‘Covid-19 conspiracy theories are being fed by institutions meant to inform the public’
Another important point from his piece: “The mainstreaming of conspiracy theories about the inception and spread of Covid-19 could seriously complicate the country’s ability to manage the pandemic by corroding the public’s inclination to comply with expert guidance.”
Presidential sources of poison
The president tweeted more than 60 times on Sunday, mostly through retweets which promoted Fox and bashed the rest of the media and mocked Covid-19 mask mandates and demonized Portland.
At one point Trump said “the ‘protesters’ are actually anarchists who hate our Country,” writing of Portland, “The line of innocent ‘mothers’ were a scam that Lamestream refuses to acknowledge…”
What makes conspiracy theories so attractive?
Why is a Fox News star spouting off about QAnon? Why is a Sinclair anchor providing a forum for anti-Fauci nonsense? Why is the President frequently posting fact-free conspiracy tweets?
There are multiple answers since there are multiple motivations at work. Spinning yarns about the “deep state,” as Watters did, and sowing doubt about Fauci, as Bolling did, is about supporting Trump’s political agenda.
Conspiracy theories are sometimes rooted in political propaganda or profiteering schemes. Sometimes, researchers say, they’re about satisfying a natural human craving for understanding.
“It’s hard for anyone to make sense of what’s going on,” he added, “and these conspiracy theories provide a simple story.”