Whoops! Fox News's Jesse Watters Walks Back Totally Accidental Praise For QAnon
This weekend, Fox News's Jesse Watters made a real splash when, during an interview with Eric Trump, he praised "Q" for having "uncovered a lot of great stuff."
"Do you think this is an attempt to interfere in an election?," he asked Trump on Saturday, about Twitter purging 7,000 accounts associated with the conspiracy theory. "Because you know, Q can do some crazy stuff with the pizza stuff and the Wayfair stuff but they also uncovered a lot of great stuff when it comes to Epstein and the deep state."
Fox News' @JesseBWatters has some high words of praise for QAnon -- which has been responsible for two murders, two… https://t.co/DaXJ3Vy5k6— Zachary Petrizzo (@Zachary Petrizzo)1595723592.0
This is, of course, not true. "Q" — and those who follow Q, who appear to be what Watters was referring to as "Q" in his statements — has not uncovered jackshit. The Epstein stuff had been known for years. He went to jail for it! People knew! If anything, Epstein's arrest was spurred more by the #MeToo movement than anything else. As far as "the deep state" goes, Q/Q supporters claim "the deep state" is involved with an underground Satanic worldwide pedophile/cannibal ring. That's not really "uncovering" anything so much as it is "making shit up." In fact, that is literally all Q and Q supporters do. They make shit up.
Last night, however, Watters walked back his support and gave a statement to Mediaite saying he does not support or believe in the QAnon conspiracy.
"While discussing the double standard of big tech censorship," said Watters, "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."
They weren't "mistaken" for anything. They were very clear.
I am not saying Watters has any idea what QAnon is about. I truly don't think he does. In fact, I think the people who know the least about the QAnon conspiracy are people like Watters and Eric Trump. They don't care to really get into the weird shit these people believe, they're not going to bother, they just like that they are on the Right and that they are fervent Trump supporters. That's all they care about.
If there were a similar disinformation phenomenon happening on the Left, it is likely we would all consider it our personal business to know everything about it and debunk it wherever we can. We are always the first to tell people not to listen to Gwyneth Paltrow when she offers bad vagina advice. I, for one, regularly suggest Gloria Steinem might want to apologize for her role in the Satanic Panic. Conspiracy theories have always existed on both sides of the aisle, but traditionally, the job of debunking of conspiracy theories and misinformation, regardless of who believes them, has mostly been done by the left (with the exception of Penn and Teller, who often lean right-libertarian). We don't want people on our side walking around with spinach in their teeth, steam cleaning their vaginas or not vaccinating their children — even if it means they are very devoted to a cause we believe in. Even if doing it is exhausting. Because we care.
But the Right doesn't (and, to be fair, "not caring" is kind of their whole brand). If people on their side believe something stupid and dangerous, they do not consider it their business to tell them to not believe that stupid and dangerous thing, so long as their belief in that stupid and dangerous thing helps them in some way. This is why Watters suggested banning QAnon accounts might be "election interference" — because even though those people are spreading bad information, even though they are harassing people, even though they are completely off the rails, they support Donald Trump. They, in fact, worship Donald Trump. And they rally people and get them excited to go vote for Trump so he can continue his war against the "Satanic pedophile elites."
If Jesse Watters actually wanted to do his audience a favor (LOL), he wouldn't just "backtrack" on his comments, he would explain not only exactly what the QAnon people believe, but also why none of those things can possibly be true. Not because it would make those people stop believing it — it won't — but because it might, at least, inoculate others from getting into it in the first place.
Telling them "Q" has uncovered some really great stuff and then backtracking in a comment sent to Mediaite? Not gonna do that.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse