President Obama says QAnon is ‘seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party’

  • Former President Barack Obama condemned the QAnon conspiracy theory in a podcast interview on Wednesday.
  • "When you look at insane conspiracy theories like QAnon seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party, what that tells you is that there are no more guardrails within that media ecosystem," Obama said on Pod Save America. 
  • Misinformation "is a problem that is going to outlast Trump," he said. "Trump is a symptom of it and an accelerant to it." 
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Former president Barack Obama condemned the QAnon conspiracy theory and said that President Donald Trump has been an "accelerant" of misinformation in a podcast interview released Wednesday. 

"When you look at insane conspiracy theories like QAnon seeping into the mainstream of the Republican Party, what that tells you is that there are no more guardrails within that media ecosystem," President Obama said in Wednesday's episode of Pod Save America, the left-leaning podcast hosted by his former aides, Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor.

Misinformation "is a problem that is going to outlast Trump," Obama said. "Trump is a symptom of it and an accelerant to it." 

QAnon, the baseless far-right conspiracy alleging that Trump is fighting a deep-state cabal of human traffickers, has been emboldened by Trump. The current president has refused to disavow the movement, continued to retweet posts from QAnon-affiliated users, and said that the conspiracy theorists — some of whom have been linked to killings and attempted kidnappings — "love our country." 

Obama said that the proliferation of misinformation should not be a partisan issue, but a "genuine American society issue," as he asked, "How do we re-establish some baselines of truth?" 

The QAnon movement has a deep connection to viral instances of misinformation on social media. The unfounded and widely-spread Wayfair conspiracy theory accused the e-commerce company of human trafficking. That theory began with a popular QAnon influencer. 

In the weeks ahead of the November presidential election, social-media companies are finally taking more action in preventing QAnon from spreading misinformation after years of inaction.

YouTube announced on Thursday that it would take additional action against QAnon, leading to bans of some of the conspiracy theory's most popular supporters. Amazing Polly, one of the users who accelerated the Wayfair theory, had already been kicked off the platform as of Thursday.

Facebook announced last week a harder crackdown on the movement, banning groups, pages, and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon, and other companies including Etsy, Triller, TikTok, and Twitter have made similar moves. 

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