Democracy & Elections

The Lawfare Podcast: Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny Explain QAnon

Jen Patja, Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny
Thursday, August 6, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

This week on our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, reporters at NBC News. Writing at NBCNews.com, they report on disinformation and misinformation in health and politics. Their work covers a lot of ground, but for this episode, they discussed one increasingly prominent issue on that beat: QAnon, a conspiracy theory built around anonymous posts on an internet forum claiming that Donald Trump is waging war against a deep state and a vast network of child sex traffickers. The conspiracy theory has inspired acts of violence and is becoming increasingly mainstream, with several candidates for U.S. Congress being QAnon believers. They talked about how QAnon started, why we need to take it seriously and how the internet—and big technology platforms—have allowed the theory to spread.



Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Evelyn Douek is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Senior Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School on the topic of private and public regulation of online speech. Prior to attending HLS, Evelyn was an Associate (clerk) to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel of the High Court of Australia. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News.
Brandy Zadrozny is a senior reporter for NBC News. She covers misinformation, extremism and the internet.

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