Is JFK Jr. Still Alive? – Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy | The Daily Show

By | November 9, 2022

Is JFK Jr. still alive? Daily Show contributor and podcast host Jordan Klepper digs deep into this conspiracy theory that’s circulating at Trump rallies and the larger MAGA world. Where did this idea come from? Where is it going? Jordan sits down with journalist and author Will Sommer and political scientist and conspiracy theory expert Joseph Uscinski to trace the JFK Jr. myth back to its QAnon origins. #DailyShow #JordanKlepper #Podcast

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John F Kennedy Jr was the son of John F Kennedy the 35th President of the United States Tragically JFK Jr was killed in a plane Crash in 1999. Or was he Yes he was of course he was But what if he wasn't What if he were about to re-emerge as The vice president of Donald Trump who By the way is still the president sound Crazy it is In fact it's one of the Wilder Conspiracies I've heard in my seven Years covering Trump rallies you're Probably familiar with my Daily Show Segments Jordan klepper fingers the Pulse Emmy nominated twice lost twice Where I chat with Trump supporters at Rallies we are not a call it's an American ideal that we treat women with Respect you got to give me the back of That shirt one more time that's too much Fun drop that [ __ ] We don't even see the irony in it and if You're into conspiracy theories and There's nothing that comes close to a Trump rally what's on your back uh Q Flag Crazy people Joseph Biden and Kami law Are not legitimate wasn't huge whole Thing that Trump would be reinstated as President he's never left if you go Online there's a whole list of pedophile

Symbols really yes it's like Woodstock Except everyone there thinks Jimi Hendrix is a hologram normally when one Of these conspiracy theories comes up I Have to respond then move past it Because we're shooting a piece for TV And we have to stay somewhat focused but This is a podcast and we don't have to Stay focused at all so I'm finally Diving into some of the most incredible Conspiracy theories that have been Pitched to me at Trump rallies by America's most imaginative Minds this is Jordan Clapper fingers the conspiracy an All-new limited series podcast from The Daily Show so folks come on down from Your grassy Knolls and let's take it Let's talk about John F Kennedy Jr but To help me do that I want to bring in Our first guest will summer Will's a Politics reporter for The Daily Beast He's got a book coming out in February Called trust the plan the rise of Q Anon And the conspiracy that unhinged America Well welcome to Jordan Clapper fingers The conspiracy I'm excited to have you on you are here To help me walk through and understand What is going on in this world of John F Kennedy Jr and I will say this I I go Out on the road and I start hearing People talking about JFK Jr and Initially I'm thinking oh they're Talking about JFK there's a long history

Of conspiracies with JFK and then I'm Putting together that it's JFK Jr and Then I start to see signs up I start to See bumper stickers that have him as Vice presidential candidate to Donald Trump and then a month or so back I go to a rally in the Midwest and I'm Hearing sweet old grandmothers talk About John F Kennedy Jr and I I can't Make heads or tails of it can you can You set out a little bit of where this Began what do we need to know Sure so I mean this is really bizarre uh As you noted I mean the origins of this Are within Q Anon Um of course there was the this figure Q Who was giving these Anonymous Clues and Then at one point in 2018 Q sort of Vanished for a month on the forums where The clues came out and then someone Named R shows up and starts saying you Know all of this is really about JFK Jr And so that's kind of where the where it Begins and eventually Q comes back and Kind of says like this JFK Junior sells Garbage you know what have you been Tricking all my people Um but the JFK Junior stuff really Starts there with this idea that JFK Jr Faked his death to take on the Deep State and help Donald Trump sort of Bring about this sort of Q Anon Utopia There's a conspiracy inside the Conspiracy it's a it's a it's a

Conspiracy turducken right now exactly Yeah it's sort of a splinter faction and You get this situation where like the Kind of the mainline Q Anon people will Often be like oh my God like you know I Believe all this pizzagate stuff I Believe this about Hillary Clinton but These JFK Junior people are embarrassing Us they just believe totally stupid Stuff that's the dynamic you want though You're like oh my God can we just go Back to serious things like talking About how the Democrats drink baby's Blood and all this JFK Jr stuff we're Losing credibility people we're losing Credibility put your tinfoil hats back On and let's March Yeah I mean basically they're saying you Know these JFK Junior people are almost Like a government op meant to embarrass Q Anon but really this belief has in JFK Jr has persisted ever since so so what Was ours intention in this situation Like initially that JFK Jr won is alive So perhaps he faked his death and two He's aligning himself with Donald Trump It feels like there's four steps there That I'm having a hard time connecting Why JFK Jr and let's start with why he's Alive and why that should matter Sure so the arc that is presented by R And and I want to point out here that q R is the letter after q and so that's Sort of the explanation for that is it

Or is it will Your mainstream elitist alphabet says It's the letter after q but I am I only If you're moving forward through time But that's a whole other podcast exactly So so the the sort of the the story That's laid out is that John F Kennedy The father is killed by the Deep State You know in 1963 JFK Jr sees this and Says oh man the Deep State might come For me and I want to get revenge on them For murdering my father and so for years He builds up this relationship with Donald Trump you know because they were Both sort of these New York socialite Figures there are pictures of them Together and so this is used to suggest That they were like best buddies then in This storyline JFK Jr fakes his death in This plane crash to sort of go Undercover and sort of lay the Groundwork for the the Q Anon journey And eventually emerge for a while they Thought he was going to replace Mike Pence in 2020 on the ticket and that he Would sort of kind of help Trump sort of Get this final revenge on the Deep state So in this world they see JFK Jr as Faking his own death to exist undercover And wait for the right time still Maintaining a relationship with Donald Trump throughout all of this or to or Did Donald Trump just come about and Become sort of an avatar for JFK Jr's

Ascension yeah that's a great question I Mean a lot of it is a little Contradictory and not super thought out Uh you know that might surprise you I Know but but basically the the idea is That you know back in the 90s or or the 80s they kind of cut this deal and they Said Donald Trump said man this stuff is Really messed up you know and then and JFK Jr says tell me about it you know They shot my dad and so then they sort Of teamed up and JFK Jr went into hide It Tell me about it they shot my dad oh wow Yeah you're right this is messed up let Me uh let me run for president a few Decades from now make this thing happen You're helping me connect that Circle if It's a circle What I'm confused about I go out there JFK Famously not a republican Um John F Kennedy Jr at least from my Perspective New York Elite not political But somebody who is a magazine magnate And Seinfeld character doesn't exactly Match up as the type of person that this Often far-right group would would align Themselves with why why do they see this Potential in in somebody who's so Outside of the norm you know I think That's a great question and what is the Emotional Resonance of JFK Jr why is why Is it JFK Jr they fixed it on rather

Than another celebrity who died in the 90s so the I think the answer to it is That when we think about the the Q Anon Believer and I think in particular the People who go for the JFK Jr stuff They're usually Baby Boomers and I think The JFK assassination had a huge sort of Emotional impact on them and I think Also JFK Jr was sort of seeing there's This very like prominent baby boomer Um sort of an avatar of his generation And so in that way I think there is this Kind of this very emotional connection To him in a way that there that there Wouldn't be with another celebrity I Think also the idea of JFK as like the Last good Democrat is something that has Persisted among Republicans even before Q Anon this idea of kind of this popular Martyred president Um and oh isn't it terrible that uh you Know LBJ in the in the 60s took being a Democrat into such an awful Direction so I think JFK himself still has a lot of Resonance with Republicans and Q Anon Believers so I think there's a lot of Kind of like emotions tied up in all That when you look back on JFK Conspiracies does it seem quaint does it Seem sort of like the initial modern Conspiracy theory that Americans have Sort of built a Mythos around I mean I Think obviously we've had conspiracy Theories throughout American history but

The the Kennedy assassination is such a Sort of an epical one that I think gets A lot of people into conspiracy theories And is certainly I think the biggest and The richest one to dive into uh in Modern history it also sort of brings Everything full circle incorporating Kennedy Q Anon is this um sort of a Super conspiracy theory or a mega Conspiracy theory that where you can Sort of get whatever you want out of it And so we see a lot of Kennedy Conspiracy theorists drawn into it I Talked to a guy who was a really big Q Anon leader and he had for decades been Just like a JFK crank I mean he was Going to all these conventions stuff Like that and then Q Anon arrives and he Says oh you know I can sort of Incorporate my Kennedy beliefs into Q Anon and sort of broaden my world view And see more of the world explain to me In that way Um so I do think that's an aspect of it As well it's it's interesting I think What a lot of people Miss is just how Fun conspiracies are they they are Engaging especially if you're on a Computer one of the most fun things you Can do is go down that rabbit hole and And also Come Away with something that Empowers you because you feel like you Know something somebody else doesn't I I Did a job down in Dallas a decade ago

And I I was walking through the grassy Knoll multiple times right there there In Daily Plaza and People would approach you and they would Tell you things that you should know and Shouldn't know and so there was it was Like a cottage industry for a conspiracy Theorists to give small little tours uh Take you to places that they they tell You what what happened what they're not Telling you and it's easy to get wrapped Up in that and you see the people Starting to develop Um uh you know not only mindsets out of It but uh it gives them importance it Gives them in some cases a job but it Makes them important in that little Place and I start to see that pop up at Some of these Trump rallies that I go to Seeing people who now own part of these Little conspiracies and they become many Celebrities at these rallies that we see In looking at this JFK Junior coming Back as part of there's been discussions Of his reappearance and there's been Groups one group called negative 48 who Has staged events waiting for his Um return can you tell us a little bit About negative 48 sure yeah so negative 48 is a group that is is very convinced That JFK not only JP Junior but but Kennedy JFK himself uh and all sorts of Sort of a bevy of other beloved deceased Celebrities uh are it's not that they're

Going to come back to life but they've Sort of been in in occlusion they've Been in hiding and that they're going to Come back and and sort of Usher in this Q Anon world the reason they're called Negative 48 is because they they This is kind of hard to explain to Someone who's not really deep in it but Essentially they believe in this thing Called Gematria where they assign Numerical values to letters and then They derive meaning from that a equals One b equals two and so on but Essentially they would say like uh Jordan klepper 20 trust the plan 20. uh Make America great again 25 and they They just sort of speak in this language That doesn't really make sense to anyone Outside of it uh but they they see Importance in these numbers and in these These coincidences and so from there They essentially kind of whip themselves Up into believing these things like JFK Jr is coming back I I found out what Gematria was real quick one of the Rallies I went to when a woman kind of Walked me through this she brought out a Gematria calculator and started typing In my name typing in Trump's name and Connecting all sorts of numbers it was It was wild it was real fun you can kind Of make anything make sense there type It in the calculator you get these Numbers and so Michael Jackson's last

Concert was this is it comes to 113. you Know what that means Do you I don't know what that means so 1 Through 13 means not true Well Jackson that wasn't his last Concert and he's alive it's not Necessarily A conspiratorial Thing although it's used in that sense It's correct me if I'm wrong it's Essentially a mathematical way of Turning letters into numbers and Religions have been using this for uh Centuries just to try to find and try to Derive meeting trying to look deeper Into biblical texts and what have you And I thought that was a key component When I talked to this woman because the Way she talked about Gematria It was beyond this is a conspiracy it's Fun I have power because I have Knowledge it was also I'm serving a Biblical character there's religion Attached to this I think that's where The real danger comes here where you Have people who are serving uh serving Religion and serving God through this Fun little weird game that they play and Then deciding that Aaliyah is going to Appear alongside Michael Jackson and Perhaps uh and JFK Jr all at once oh my God Bin Laden was Obama clarify who's Still alive Bin Laden Jr is JFK Jr still Alive JFK Jr still alive yeah so I think JFK Jr is going to try and expose

Globalists because they killed his Father we're talking about Tupac's Coming back Robin Williams is coming Back Aaliyah as you mentioned sort of Pick your favorite dead celebrity and so What happened was these folks descended On Dallas where they thought there was Going to be sort of the dead celebrities Parade and they're Milling around and They're seeing like a homeless guy and They're like I think that's Robin Williams and then everyone's like yeah That's Robin Williams and so on and a Lot of these guys I mean look I'm not Sure these guys are super up on like Tupac for example and they're they're Having that's Tupac you know all these Guys I think that's biggie uh and it's Sort of this you can see they're sort of Going into this world where like nothing Bad ever happens no no one ever dies of A drug overdose or a suicide Um the other thing I would add is that They think a lot of dead celebrities Were murdered uh or went into hiding Like JFK Jr fake their death because They were going to blow the lid off the Cabal so like the the late DJ Avicii you Know he faked his death all these kind Of people uh just you know Whitney Houston oh but they're all coming back At this big moment and you can see these People who have just particularly in This when they were kind of Milling

Around Dallas for months just the amount Of their own lives and and their own Like hearts that they've invested into Into it you know they're just you know Headed for a brick wall when eventually They realize none of it's happening It's just predominantly white people who Live in a bubble walking around Dallas Thinking they see Tupac everywhere it Does I mean it's really Do you barely know who Tupac is and you Think that guy's Tupac and Biggie they Are these are diametrically opposed on Many levels but I bet you're seeing it As the same person who's going into a Subway well they would do these live Streams where they would say like didn't Y'all see that dead rapper like they Wouldn't know any names you know and They kind of this game and telephone to Figure it out I'm not gonna be a Conspiracist or anything like that but I Just watched a movie last week with Robin Williams in it it was called Man Of the Year man of the year and guess What they had election fraud back then The machines are switching to doing Electronically and they were counting Wrong is this a documentary no it's just A movie are there any lessons we can Take from Mork and Mindy No well it should be pointed out they've They've pointed to people specifically JFK Jr as there's been a man who's gone

To multiple rallies stands behind Donald Trump and that's JFK Jr I went to CPAC And I saw him there as well and he's Taken selfies because he's also JFK Jr So some people aren't just abstract Apparitions they are actually humans That they point to and say you know this Is who you are yeah I I've actually I Was just texting with him so so his name Is is Vincent fusca and he is this like Trump super fan in the lead up to in the 2016 election he had this van kind of Festooned with Trump paraphernalia and So he kind of ends up becoming because He's a big Trump fan he's behind him at A lot of rallies when the JFK Jr stuff Starts happening and this guy I should Say looks nothing like JFK Jr he dresses Uh he wears like a big Fedora he's very Scruffy guy he wears like like a big Suit coat and so now to be clear JFK Jr Was a stylish man and yeah it could only Be assumed that that's Style mixed with Privilege and wealth would have led him Into the modern era not choosing to wear A fedora yeah Yeah so and so oh yeah early swing date Big Bad Voodoo Daddy he would have had a Fedora there would have been a lot of College kids who wanted to look like JFK Jr who could pull off a fedora but Modern JFK Junior no no freaking way no Way and so so he's standing behind Trump And when the JFK Jr stuff starts

Happening people go oh my gosh I I think That's JFK Jr behind Trump and then There was like a blonde woman nearby and They said I think that's JFK Jr's wife And so I mean they kind of get going but The the wild thing to me about it is This guy doesn't come out and say hey Guys I'm not JFK Jr leave me alone he Goes oh I don't know who's to say and so I've seen this guy maybe seven or eight Times and he'll be at a rally or Something and people go oh JFK Jr you Know we want pictures and then I say to Him uh hey you want to tell me about how Everyone thinks you're JFK Junior you're Obviously not and he goes oh I'd love to Talk to you later how about in an hour Let me catch up I'm just so busy today But I'm in town you know you have my Number let's talk later obviously never Gets back to me I talked to this one Woman who was like oh posing for all These selfies with him and I said you Know that's not JFK Jr right and she's Like haven't you ever heard of Hollywood Haven't you heard of visual effects Haven't you ever heard of Medea you know It's You know they I mean they're really deep In Tyler Perry as evidence it's a it's a Smart move and I I give Vincent props I Tell you if somebody stops me on the Street and says Joel McHale I love you In community I don't correct him nope

That's let them think that let them live Their own reality As Americans we have Every right to live our own reality I Think it's in the Constitution somewhere Somewhere deep and no no there's there's A dark side to some of this because I I Will say when I talk to the woman who's Into gematrium and she was a part of This negative 48 group they show up in Dallas they wait in Dallas for JFK Jr to Arrive and then they stay there for Months and months on end and there's Stories of families who are losing loved Ones to this conspiracy mindset and People are sending money to these the The leader protzman I believe Um like what are some of the dark sides Of believing in these weird fantasies Yeah I mean so you know q and I have Talked to so many people who have lost Family and friends to q9 and when you Talk about something as Extreme as Negative 48 as sort of that faction I Mean you're talking about people who Have essentially given up their lives at This point I mean it's like they've Joined kind of like a traveling commune Or something I mean you know they're Staying in this hotel room for months at A time which is not cheap they're kind Of pooling all their funds at one point You know there were a bunch of like Little toddlers little kids involved Which you know it's not great for them

To be roaming around looking for Tupac Or whatever Um and you know I talked to one guy who Whose wife had he thought he had a you Know a totally fine normal marriage and Then she just says oh yeah I'm gonna go To this Trump rally well as it turned Out she was going to join negative 48 And then just vanishes and you know it's He's seeing her in these videos and Stuff and he's like what is happening in My family there's no evidence she's ever Coming back uh you know all this kind of Stuff I mean it is really really Grim Stuff this is a poor guy you just you See him at home like my wife she left me For JK Jr I get it what a successful man and he's Been through a lot you know he's died He's come back he's living at this man Vincent he's trying to pull off fedoras In modern times it's difficult yeah it's A bold decision yeah I'm glad he's found Love but she's left me alone we're gonna Pause it right there we'll be right back Welcome back to Jordan Clapper fingers The conspiracy I want to bring in Professor Joe yuzinski political Scientist and conspiracy theory expert At the University of Miami who followed The JFK Junior gathering in Dallas Joe Welcome Thanks for having me so Joe we got will Summer here we've been going down this

JFK Junior Wormhole Rabbit Hole uh Whatever hole You Wanna Call it we're in it Um you've looked at what's happening and What continues to happen in Dallas uh From your perspective what's going on Down there So you have people that probably have a Bunch of psychological issues maybe They're prone to delusions they're prone To believing things in spite of evidence And that's what got them to this point And this is fanciful it's fun for them They're probably enjoying it but it Doesn't shock me to hear the things that Will is talking about I mean there are Families and I get emails from these Families once in a while you know the Sun disappeared or you know one family Member you know got into a conspiracy Theory now they can't even talk to the Person And there isn't much I can say to these Families other than I'm not that kind of Doctor I mean there's nothing I can do For this sort of stuff and I sympathize And empathize with them but Um there isn't much you can do what Makes people predisposed to believe Conspiracy theories in the first place Why do they go and seek them out well The answer is going to be a little bit Unsatisfying but this is where we are And that is that some people more than

Others have a world view in which you Know they go over to the window when They wake up in the morning they look Out and they see stuff and they say oh That must be caused by a conspiracy you Know being driven by people who I Already don't like And the question becomes well where does That come from and the answer is we Don't know yet we just know that it Exists and we know that Um some people are just really prone to It so it's not the beliefs themselves It's not the ideas it's that it's people That have a very thick set of lenses so When they come into contact with these Ideas it's just easy for them to say Yeah that must be true you know America It's not a new thing to believe in Conspiracy theories it's not a new thing To have perhaps a warped sense of Reality we are the country that gave you The Salem Witch Trials we're always Looking for weird ways in which to Perceive what's happening around us Um how serious is the situation we're Living in now is this is this an Aberration is this is this something That social media has one created or two Is just reflecting what's already been Happening out there and we're blowing it Into uh or it's it's overblown uh our Perspective on it yeah you know I mean Look as you said I mean conspiracy

Theories have been with us throughout American history as going back to the Witch trials I mean there's really rich History of it sort of each kind of big Pivot moment in the United States of a Conspiracy theory is really abounding Um at the same time I think what's Unique about the moment we're in is Number one uh social media as you Mentioned which I think helps people With this kind of conspiratorial mindset Connect with one another the way I think Of it is if you think of like the Kennedy assassination in order to find Like-minded people you would have to Maybe print a Zine send letters go to a Convention stuff like that and then Everyone on your block would be saying Like you're a nut or whatever Um whereas now these people can just go Online and find like-minded people Reinforce their beliefs and find new Recruits really really easily uh the Other thing I would say is we've I at Least I think in modern history we Haven't seen this kind of conspiratorial Thinking embraced by so many politicians To the point where we have members of Congress who believe in Q and on and Have supported it recently Donald Trump Is posting really explicit Pro Q Anon Videos so in that way I think it really Helps mainstream these conspiracy Theories in in a way that we haven't had

Before I love thinking that in the old days you At least had to learn how to produce a Zine like there's something to The Stereotype of like well you had to cut Out letters and you actually had to Build a board and connect it with Strings here and there and it's like no Literally there's a certain buy-in that That buys you now you can do this all Online you don't even have to go to Hobby Lobby to buy this [ __ ] you can do It on internet the buy-in is so low uh Joe I wonder where do you see the threat Level of something like this it's it's With politicians so to me I I don't Think people have changed all that much Over time if anything we're believing Conspiracy theories as much as we did 10 20 30 years ago Um what's different now is Not just Trump but particularly Trump And other people who want to do what Trump has done So when you have people who can act on Conspiracy theories with a monopoly of Authoritative Force when you have people Who already have large audiences because They're politicians transmitting these Things that's going to reach a lot of People and it's going to influence a lot Of people like any of us could go on to Social media and spurt out whatever Stupid conspiracy theory we want doesn't

Mean anyone's going to pay attention Right it doesn't mean anyone's going to Care or even look at it but if Trump Doesn't That's a very different ball game right And When you have people who have political Power engaging in this that's incredibly Dangerous and if you look back through History The times where we have You know the worst episodes of Conspiracy theorizing It's usually because of politicians Getting involved and acting on it in Some way is it possible to put these Ideas back in a box can you roll this Back you know I I recently was out Talking to people about you know the Election and election deniers and so Much is based on this idea of as soon as You have doubt and you see it through a Lens of doubt and mistrust everywhere it Almost doesn't matter what's going to Happen in the next election you're going To see it it's going to be there are we Already hardwired these brains to see And distrust so many things that there Will not be a turning back that even Though somebody like Donald Trump might Wield so much power and be able to Direct it in certain ways that we've Sort of already infected a generation With this mindset well there's already

People who who think that no matter what Right after any election there's about You know 20 to 30 percent of the country Who think it was rigged why because they Lost Right so as in politics as in sports who Complains after the football game now It's the losing team right so that's Sort of normal after every election What's abnormal right now is that you Have the losing candidate saying it was Rigged I was cheated and going on and on And on about it and pulling in the whole Of the conservative media and lots of Allies in Congress so now you have sort Of a full court press of people saying It's rigged it's rigged it's rigged So that's why you have between 60 and 80 Percent of Republicans saying 2020 was Rigged against them rather than the Normal 30 40 50 that might have Otherwise said it was rigged just for The fact that they lost How close are we to having 60 or an Eight percent of uh the GOP believe JFK Jr is coming back is that is that weeks Or months away I think that would be a Tougher one to pull off I mean Trump has A lot of influence so if he got behind a Conspiracy theory repeatedly for a long Period of time he could make people buy In and if it's something like election Fraud he can pull that off because those Ideas are always around but sometimes

You'll come out with conspiracy theories That just don't influence anyone I mean I'm not aware of a lot of Ted Cruz dad Kill JFK truthers out there even though He pushed that you know six or seven Years ago I mean it just didn't take off but I Think if you go after ideas the people Are sort of already inclined towards I Mean he can do a lot of damage that way Yeah I mean I think we are all inclined To the idea of wanting Aaliyah to be Back in our lives again we want another Classic album we want that Redemption I Think that's on the cusp if if he if he Even nudges us in that direction I think We all buy tickets immediately to the Next concert whether or not she appears Or not I mean we think that Q Anon stuff Is wacky and crazy and where do people Come up with these ideas but I mean we Live through the 80s I mean there was Massive satanic panics during that time Satan was everywhere and even Oliver Stone's JFK movie which was you know a Popular movie was about the pedophile Deep State going after the president of The United States I mean Joe Pesci Played the defrock pedophile priest so Even the the basic idea behind Q Anon is Not new I mean all of this stuff is Recycled and rehabbed and it's largely The same people believing the same stuff Sort of a Choose Your Own Adventure Mad

Lib book that they're that they're just Replaying over and over again I think q9 Has a political valence to it as well do You look at the pictures from January 6 The people all the people who were there Who were convinced that this was going To be kind of this big like kind of Fascist moment uh where the dreams were Going to come true Um and certainly I mean I I think it's Unique in that it has achieved such Mainstream prevalence within the Republican party I mean we're talking About election denial stuff like that And in many ways I think Q Anon is kind Of an easy thing to talk about because You can kind of get a handle on it it's People holding cues and stuff like that But a lot of these ideas that are core To Q Anon have become or kind of Swirling around the GOP and have become Much more successful uh without the Q Label attached so we think about for Example this idea that you know talking About gay people existing in a school is Part of a pedophile groomer plot and so We can see these things really being Weaponized into policy in a you know I Think I really ominous way I want to talk about how this is covered What you know obviously there are Elements of conspiracy theories that Belong in the news that become news Um what do you think the role of role

Should be for journalists in coming some Of these Fringe beliefs is it giving too Much air uh to to to follow some of These JFK Jr ideas uh and and put them Up on a pedestal so people can see those Ideas and have that air out or or what You're talking about right now because This is affecting our culture do they Need to be more Vigilant and bring this To the Forefront so we can engage with Them we can knock them down or at least Be aware that they're out there sure I Mean I think it's a complicated one for Me I you know you certainly don't want To just go find a couple of nuts online And say like oh yeah these guys are so Crazy for me it's when it starts Crossing over into the real world I mean We've had Q Anon Believers murdering People we had a Q on guy murder his wife Uh in 2018 a q Anon guy shut down a Bridge near the Hoover Dam he had a Bunch of guns that was at the point Where I was like this is not just an Online thing anymore this is something Where I have to trust my readers enough Both as an audience and as you know Citizens that they deserve to know What's going on in the world and you Know I do think that idea of Amplification is a relevant one but at The point where you have Donald Trump Saying like check out this Q stuff you Know I I think the the cow is out of the

Barn and I would add in the case of JFK Jr I mean one of these maybe he's kind Of the evil JFK Junior impersonator There's another guy who's put together a Coalition that is going that has people Running to control elections and Battleground States who's a JFK Junior Impersonator they're the Republican Nominee so really I mean this is stuff That is going to have uh really I think Really concrete impact uh on our lives Unfortunately That was one of the details when I Talked to the Gematria woman you know What what the the talk of the the rally At that point was not that this was just A person who believed this wild thing But it was a person who was in Dallas Who had a strong following on places Like telegram Um and the talk was that they had a Relationship with the Trump campaign That a lot of these people from negative 48 were also uh setting up chairs uh and In you know the fact that they would Show up and try to help the campaign get Set up at the rallies they would get Certain VIP passes and this is not just A fringe thing that exists outside some Of the campaigns in some ways they're Also working and coordinating within Them it's becoming folded into it there Is sort of this tension with the Trump Campaign where they seem to see these

People as what they are which is huge Trump super fans and Trump is kind of Constantly signaling to the Q Anon Believers but at the same time they Don't want the average person to see a Bunch of cue stuff at the rallies so we See the negative 48 people doing the Q Anon symbols and stuff at the rallies And they're being told you know don't do That what have you but there's kind of This pull this back and forth and Trump Doesn't understand it it's so Complicated it's it's so above him There was some onion headline that I Think nailed it that was essentially Trump half-assing Um his support of Q and I like yeah I Guess uh the Democrats eat babies or Whatever the hell it is you guys think Like you could you can feel it like I if This makes you like me more sure but I Can't even begin to wrap my head around What you guys think is going on Joe I'm wondering what you think the the Proper response from the media would be In covering these types of stories That's a really tough question I mean I'll tell you when I started studying The topic about 15 years ago there was Barely any coverage of conspiracy Theories in in the mainstream news so I Started a Google alert back then so Every night I would get all the articles That that had the term conspiracy theory

In it and back then I was getting four Or five articles a day and none on the Weekends and at the end of 2015 that had Jumped to a hundred a day every day And just just this is anecdotal but just For myself I think I took close to 300 Interviews in 2020 alone So almost every journalist was calling Me when they were writing about it and They were all writing it about it quite A bit and then I think what happened shortly after 2016 Is that a lot of major news outlets Started getting their own misinformation Conspiracy theory social media news Desks so they now have dedicated Reporters just just covering this topic So it's going to continue to get a lot Of attention I don't know You know what the what the effect of the Coverage is I mean I I think that some Things went wrong in 2020 I think there Were a lot of journalists that had sort Of a panic over conspiracy theories and Misinformation and the headlines sort of Got into their own Echo chamber it was Like Q was taking over the world and It's the biggest thing ever and you know As I was pulling on it I was like I'm Just not getting these these massive Numbers it's there it exists and they Have a presence online Um but I think will was one of the few People who was in journalism who was

Saying you know maybe it's not as big as Some of the Fantastic headlines are Saying it is So I I think in some ways you know some Of the the uh sensationalistic reporting Got ahead of itself We'll be right back It will give us a little perspective Here not only on the Q Anon movement as To where it is now but even looking at Something like this JFK Junior Theory The negative 48 group you know how big Is it actually and how much of an effect Does it have on the conversation yeah Sure so I've actually got uh I've got Some polls right in front of me for for Just this moment Um so yeah okay so and now these polls Are a little out of date and and Joe Does some great polling on this and I Think he has newer numbers so but the Difficulty of nailing down Q Anon belief Is there's a couple things number one a Lot of times people are gonna say they May believe some of the tenets of it but They're not like on the Forum saying you Know where we go when we go all stuff Like that at the same time we have to Realize that at the end of 2020 Q Basically told the fans the brand had Become too damaged and to stop saying QQQ and just to sort of use the talking Points and so there is going to be an Amount I think of people who are kind of

Downplaying it there's a March 2021 poll 5 000 people that's found that 15 of Them believe satanic Satan worshiping Pedophiles around a global child sex Operation we got 2 000 people in January 2021 that found 15 percent believe that Trump was at war with these Hollywood Pedophiles and now when you start asking About Q Anon the numbers get a little Lower you're talking like three to seven Percent but still we're talking about Millions of people that's more popular Than some religions uh in the United States so you know it don't [ __ ] on the Quakers why you gotta [ __ ] on the Quakers I know what you're getting at There I can read between the lines They're a good peaceful group of people Stop [ __ ] on the Quakers don't come On my podcast and make all this Anti-quaker attacks I know they had a Hard time getting people into the Whatever they call it community room but They're working hard on this okay Exactly continue believe the Quakers out Of your mouth just getting wrecked by Q Anon yeah they're getting blown out uh So so yeah we start talking about that At the same time I mean the JFK Junior People are kind of a faction of that and Then we get down to the negative 48 Group which is smaller than that so I Would say negative 48 I think has tens Of thousands of telegram subscribers I

Think when we think about hardcore fans We're probably talking a couple thousand It's actually interesting to see Joe Where do you see they're the hardcore Fans the people who show up at the Events who are posting most of that Information but there's that secondary Element too of when it just becomes a Brand I go to some of these events and I See people wearing cute paraphernalia Cues back and there's Q [ __ ] everywhere Yes the online conspiracy following a Mysterious character known as Q was more Popular than ever is that a cue yeah are You a q supporter certainly some people I taught you the way that just because They understand that it's a it's Trolling behavior that it's a brand they Can put on their body it's going to piss Off the media it's going to get Attention from the people they want to Get attention with and they may not even Know the tenets of what Q is but they do Know that it's something that they Support in theory because in their mind The support is just trolling is that Dangerous is that sort of a is it is it The evolution of a conspiracy theory That when it just becomes Pepsi that We're we're we're in for a world of hurt Where do you see that well we're sort of Calling everything q and on now right And and if you go back to the idea that Q Anon adopted a lot of ideas that

Pre-existed Q Anon then it's not quite As disturbing so between 2019 and more Recently we're depending on how you ask The question if you if you're just doing Direct questions are you a believer in Q Anon do you follow Q Anon we're getting Between 5 and 12 which makes it one of The least believed info followed things That I pull on I mean to put that in Perspective we just say do you think There was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy In 1963 we're getting between 50 and 60 Percent So Q Anon isn't isn't all that huge but When Will's exactly right when we ask on These more General ideas like our Teachers grooming kids to become trans Are there satanic Cults doing massive Satanic rituals across the country are Elites running sex trafficking Rings We're getting between 20 and 35 percent Now I wouldn't call those ideas Q ideas I mean q Anon adopts them Um but they could have existed decades Ago and some of those ideas sort of have Their origin thousands of years ago Um so they've been around and I I just Don't want to attribute them to Q Because then it says like oh this guy Was able to convince 30 of the country That Elites are running sex trafficking Rings when in fact those ideas you know Might have been around well before that It's just

We weren't paying attention you know Even back during the satanic Panic of The 80s there were very few polls taken Of how many people were buying in to This idea of satanic Cults running Around and I've only found one poll and And it was of Texas so you have to you Have to keep that in mind but it was 80 Percent of people at the end of the 80s Thought that you know one of the major Problems in the country was satanic Cults going around abusing people so I Don't know how well that might have been Believed in you know some other state Um at the time but but right now we're Trying to pull on all these things and It's just we don't have good comparisons To the Past You know one thing I would note there is That there's something unique about Q Anon in comparison to some of these Other conspiracy theories if you're Talking about uh like the thingy the Kennedy assassination was it was it was A conspiracy theory or uh the the moon Landing was fake well there's kind of Not a lot you can personally do about it In the case of Q Anon there's kind of This uh there's sort of a fascist Utopia At the core of it and that there are Places that we are going to go terrorize These satanic pedophiles so there is Kind of like a way that people can Participate about in it that I think it

Makes it more dangerous than you know Believing that uh again the moon landing Was fake or something like that yeah I Mean it's a game there's a group Identity right so a lot of people Believe Kennedy was killed by a Conspiracy but they're not Friends they don't consider themselves To be part of a group or a movement Right but Q Anon a lot of those people Do like they are doing something Together they're following along they're Solving the clues they're expecting an Outcome in a shared way and that's Something that most conspiracy theories Don't really have and that's why Q Anon's always been very hard to Define Right because it's Sort of cultish but not really a cult It's a group but sort of decentralized It's got a lot of conspiracy theories in It so it's not just a conspiracy theory And it's got sort of activities that People can do to sort of be a part of it And play along that other conspiracy Theories just don't have I do love Thinking of it like activities it's like We get to get together we get to solve Why Tom Hanks is drinking baby blood It's it's like just a bunch of little Encyclopedia Browns running around America it's funny you say that I mean They they had a rally in DC and they Said you know we're going to kind of go

On this excursion if you're interested To go protest and Comet Ping Pong so They have the whole itineraries Well Before I Let You Go part of the Reason this podcast is one for me to Wrap my head around some of the stuff That I'm seeing out there on the road But two help me what am I gonna see out There on the road a couple months from Now one in regards to the JFK Junior Conspiracy how does that morph and two Am I gonna get a new Robin Williams Movie out of all this [Laughter] Uh yeah you know I I think the JFK Junior stuff is going to continue I mean I saw and in particular I think if Trump Keeps engaging more with Q Anon I think We're going to see more people getting Into q and I kind of see some fresh Energy behind that Um I I once went to the kind of the Trumpian July 4th event and all these Women at the Trump Hotel were wearing Like JFK Jr shirts and this lady had a JFK Jr mask on her face and I said to Her uh you know what's that about she Goes he's alive and she kind of flitters Away so I mean I don't think that energy Is going anywhere Um and you know I think we get we get New conspiracy theories all the time and So I think you know you got the big one I I'm seeing a lot of movement on this

Idea that the elites want to make us all Eat bugs uh Jordan so like you might Want to be on the lookout for that I Think there's gonna be a lot of like What they say is I will not eat the bugs And so I think you might get someone you Know accosting you about that so so Don't don't make them do it I hate this I hate this job so much dear Lord dear Lord Jordan you might want to be on the Lookout uh I guess there's this thing About Elise trying to make you eat bugs Bugatti is that what it is Joe what do I have to look out for uh so Worse than that I think the same Reporter who was writing about the bug Eating was also writing about uh forced Anal swabbing it's not just about Testing for covid it's about humiliating You in public so if you walk down the Street and they have like a government Tent set up where they're sticking People with uh Q-tips up the ass that's Going to be Um that's going to be something uh come True somebody's dark dream apparently so This is how I'm writing it down right Now I need to be aware of bug Ghazi and Bumgazi they're they're on the horizon Uh thank you gentlemen well well Joe Thanks for coming on the podcast Um I'm gonna go down to a trump rally And a few do you guys want to come along Is it might be a little intense for me

Fair enough fair enough well thank you Guys for joining me and helping me Figure this conspiracy thanks for having Me thank you

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