Inside QAnon: A Look at an Alarming New Book

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Growing up in Texas, Will Sommer was a conservative, listening to Rush Limbaugh broadcasts and Ayn Rand audiobooks on family road trips. His politics changed when he went to college, but his obsession with conservative media never dimmed. “I was fascinated by the currents and the personalities and the scams,” he says. As a reporter at Washington City Paper in 2016, he was among the first to report on the bizarre “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which placed DC’s Comet Ping Pong at the center of an imagined network of Democratic cannibals and pedophiles.

Pizzagate eventually faded, but by the time Sommer moved to a job at the Daily Beast, right-wing conspiracies like QAnon were raging and he turned this bizarre new world of the far right into his full-time beat. Now he’s one of its most knowledgeable chroniclers—as evidenced by Sommer’s new book. Titled Trust the Plan—a QAnon mantra—it surveys the unintentional comedy and wrenching tragedy that has accompanied QAnon’s infiltration into so many American brains.

QAnon is based on supposed revelations from an anonymous government insider named “Q,” but it’s really a kind of a mash-up of previous conspiracy theories.

Yeah, I think part of the appeal of Q­Anon is that—because the clues are so vague and because we don’t know who Q is—you can kind of take whatever you want from it. So if you can’t really sign on to Pizzagate but maybe you’re scared of the vaccine or maybe you’re really, really religious, there are all these different aspects that QAnon can appeal to.

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