PORT ANGELES — Donnie Hall, an organizer of the Sequim-based Independent Advisory Association, said he has changed his mind about QAnon, the right-wing conspiracy theory movement.
After calling it a platform for forgotten voices, he now believes it’s a hoax, he said last week.
Hall wrote a four-page essay in September 2020 responding to a Sept. 7 Peninsula Daily News story about Sequim Mayor William Armacost’s affinity for QAnon, which claims a Satan-worshipping cabal of pedophiles runs a child sex-trafficking ring that was bent on undermining Donald Trump’s presidency.
“QAnon is a populist movement, originally oriented toward creating awareness of international child sex trafficking networks but has since grown into a forum giving the forgotten man and woman a voice in matters social or political,” Hall said in the essay.
“Intense media scrutiny has failed to turn up any evidence of extremist or criminal behavior on the part of QAnon. However, by plowing the ground of guilt by association, QAnon has been presented to the public mind’s eye as a dangerous subversive group.”
Hall said last week he doesn’t believe that anymore because he has decided that QAnon does not exist.
“It’s a hoax,” he said.
“What you think you know about QAnon is the product of the corporate media fog machine,” he said in an updated version of his essay emailed to the PDN on Friday.
He said QAnon does not exist because no leaders have been identified.
“There are no members of the QAnon leadership cadre arrested and jailed as a result of the Jan. 6 riot at the capital. So where are they? And, if they can’t be shown to exist, how much of a threat are they?”
Support for QAnon beliefs has figured prominently in criminal indictments of those who allegedly participated in the riots, according to national news sources.
If QAnon is a hoax, then 49 million Americans are being deceived, according to a recent survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute.
“A nontrivial 15 percent of Americans agree with the sweeping QAnon allegation that ‘the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation,’ while the vast majority of Americans (82 percent) disagree with this statement,” according to the group’s report on the poll at prri.org.
The group details its survey methods on the website and makes raw data available after one year.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb @peninsuladailynews.com.