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Read this: The Return of 'Q'

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The Return of 'Q'…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 you and if that doesn't mean anything to you.

Don't worry you'll be hearing a lot more in the programme about one of the world's most notorious conspiracy theories will also looking at why Bristol's mayor is facing a boycott of his press and what it says about the off and fractious relationship between councils and journalists and I'll guess on that topic on Martin Booth at Bristol 24/7 and Charlotte green.

Who's a local democracy reporter with the Manchester Evening News Martin hello, what is your big story in Bristol today visit Bristol newly repainted rainbow Crossing just painted and pride celebration.

So got a brand new rainbow Crossing on Wind Street

After the last one was supposed following the local elections and speaking to them about what their plans are the borough and what they're going to do differently so that is the full spectrum of local general right there.

Thank you and we will hear more about more than both of you and others in a bit, but we're going to start with an extraordinary story from the other side of the Atlantic human on is the conspiracy theory that says Donald Trump has been worn a couple of satanic paedophiles who stole the 2020 US election completely unfounded series but Believe by significant numbers q&m supporters were amongst the Mob that stormed the capitol last year the movement has been fuelled by the online postings of a user who signs off as cu, and last week after nearly 2 years of Silence Q posted again Gabriel Gatehouse international BBC News and the presenter of The Radio 4 documentary series The Coming storm that looks at the rise of queueing on and Dr is assistant professor at the University of Michigan School

Information it really Gabriel welcome to the media show thank you most welcome Gabriel when we say queue is back.

How do we know this was ok? So cute was this supposed figure who was supposed to be a dominant inside out with high level security clearance who was feeling secrets about this Kabbalah satanic paedophiles that had supposedly capture the levers of government in the United States and Q was this posting his secrets on a little-known website called 4chan that each and eat cooney's can a very niche internet message boards and the last time.

He posted something was shortly after the 2020 election you posted a link to a song called we're not going to take it.

We thought we thought this thing it disappeared before the kind of merged with the millions of people who believe that the US election have been stolen and that the kind of satanic cabal element has kind of faded into the background, but now he's we assuming it to he is back posting under the name of Q on this same niche website called 8kun and why now.

Do you think what he posted on that and why now we also think it's the same cure the same by use the same short call the Daleks you was on that.

That's why the community can be recognised you as they are you the real cute Waitrose V Wade overturned I say good buddy to come on and you know that the audiences attention to what's happening.

Toyota one of his wife happening right now and he posted three things I think shall we play the game once more it had to be done this way and are you ready to country again remember your oath Gabriel those of course lot of speculation about who queue is your fabulous podcast goes down that route, but you know tell us who you think he is.


I mean most people look into this and there are people who you know a lot more about the intricacies of these of these image boards at than I do believe that human on started and it started as a game and it's interesting this reference to show me play a game once more in this in his latest post it seems to be an acknowledgement and is whole thing is a game and it is very strong evidence that started the something called a laugh which is live action roleplay Dungeons and Dragons online where people play a role.

Send to be a high level government Insider and the other people online kind of play along and pretend to believe in really and the idea is the cue and I'll sort of jumped out of this niche portion of the internet.

What was going on and on to the mainstream internet you like Facebook YouTube where people work so savvy and so they started believing.

It's outlandish stuff whoever started it.

We think that it ended up at least been control by this straight estranged Father and Son duo called German run.

What kids gyms the father and runs the sun bought this website 8kun 8chan and then became 8kun and his son was a computer programmer and we think that in the latter months and years of q&r.

They were the ones who are controlling it in Sydney in the course of research in my podcast and there was evidence that we are covered in other people and covered that people in the Trump

In the run-up to the 2020 election campaign had been in touch with the Watkins in order to try and harness the power of this crazy conspiracy theory to help get trump elected.

It is evidence showing that he was edited manually to match you know cure original shortcode and administrator of the site can do that.

Sort of girl the site manager will be listening listening and thinking why are we even talking about such a bizarre conspiracy it I can spirits see that you know had one of its original narratives Q&A spread and a legend.

Ran by one by Hillary Clinton there's obviously moth into much more than that you know how is it influencing political debate in the US cobra after the election was that this queueing on conspiracy theory which already had any is hard to say exactly how many believe is it had because it's a kind of spectrum.

You know from from people who believe that Hillary Clinton drink babies blood to people who think that there's a deep stage and you know people we don't know I kind of Control in our lives Hillary Clinton's drinking.

You know what you would be surprised and I'm not kidding you.

That's when I think in a survey after the election people most respondents.

How many people thought that Kabbalah satanic paedophiles have captured the levers of power in America and it was a huge amount.

I can't remember the off the top of my head the figures right now, but you know we're talking like terms of percentage points of the electorate especially Republican voters but so what happened was that this is queueing on conspiracy theory about the Kabbalah satanic paedophiles merged with the conspiracy theory about how the election was stolen and in a sense that that conspiracy theory which involved these weird voting machines called Dominion voting machines which country were shipping boats from trump to buy that was also promote by this same Ron Watkins guy who was one of the administrators who you think might have been controlling these two things merch and what has happened now.

Is that the the idea that the in the America is controlled by a malevolent force of deep state that is subverted.

It's democracy is now mainstream political opinion right.

There's a massive battle going.

Inside the Republican party at between those who believe this big lie those who are promoting the bigger than those who really don't but it has become massively mainstream, and if you look at the hearing currently going on on Capitol Hill into what happened around the journey 62021 storming of the US capitol what we see is that the American electorate is completely bye-bye this conspiracy theory which really has kuna as a huge element and the question of what happened in the 2020 election has essentially ceased to be one that is empirically answer in American politics has become an entirely political question and no facts seem capable of describing people who believe these conspiracy theory.

This is a vast disinformation campaign if you like, what is it about it that meant you know so many people have taken it up is it a top down?

Is there something about the way they're using social media to give power to individuals to be part of it, but he definitely started as a more centralised about what happened is Dad went you can have disappeared the moment into different directions and now we have all different like in France before cubia.

We're running the show and these were in the USA religious leaders for the sample or even like a tramp is one of the key to implement this now.

What is so many things about it has a court that kind of music CD and corruption are real problems in the world, so it's easy to the court.

Accompanied by Elias and presentations of discourse through which is that it's all controlled by these crazy Barlow Democrats I think that's what makes it one of the things if I if I can add to that idea about the court room when I was doing this podcast I was speaking to a guy about the Donald Trump is a Russian spy conspiracy theories conspiracy theory that the lot of Democrats support has got quite hung up on him for a while and I was speaking to a guy and I said he was trying to make an equivalence between cue and on and this is rushing now and I said look come on.

Let me know it was a large dollar for truth the bottom of the Russian story, where is this you and you know it is just the right and he said have you ever heard of Jeffrey Epstein so kind of came to believe about you and I was the yes if you

If you took it to me Hillary Clinton was literally running a couple of satanic paedophiles out of a pizza restaurants in Washington DC that didn't have a basement and was supposed to be in the basement and of course.

It's nonsense if you took another kind of Parable which is that people feel that there are unelected people who are kind of controlling their lives in a changing world and they don't really know how it's changed, but they don't feel like is changes are happening to their benefit then as a kind of metaphor q&m has this kind of Central core of truth and that's why so many people seem drawn to it.

I think it's spreading and has it spread across the Atlantic it rainy or Gabriel you know is it in the UK is it in Europe of cu and how is France in Europe and what we found is that a lot of interest?

And I'll be on social media, but we call infrastructure some information on their website and forum send it so much.

What could be taking all the evidence and data points which was very interesting it is to take this narrative and adapting the narrative to the local political contact just so much work at 4:30 and work it out into the distance station.

Is it is it in the UK yes, I think it's not a strong.

I am not an expert on on it kind of how it's taken root in the UK and Europe

I believe it's been strong in Germany I think one of the things that you said about the amount of work that people put in I think that is again one of the things that has helped you and on to spread because it's a participatory think so, it's not you're not just if you're if you're a pure non-believer.

You're not just a passive recipient of secret knowledge.

You do the research you use the internet for you make connections and you might be part of this wonderful movement that can save the world from this overwhelming evil sounds very compelling and Dr Renee Paquette over the university of Michigan school of information.

Thank you so much for coming on the media show but now we're gonna turn to this real between journalists and the mayor in Bristol that has been running on this.

Let me play you a clip from a press conference last week the mayor I just got back from giving a TED talk in Canada and a reporter was keen to ask him about it.

If you saw the irony in flying change and secondly by museum instead.

See you at all.

What did you think of the argument? I made it.

Do you know what the fundamental argument? I made in the little was asking you questions, but I'm just trying to say so that's the Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and local democracy reporter Alex Seabrook known as an LDR that exchange and continued for a while.

They remained as tents.

I've got to say then the press office got involved Alex May I just asked you a question if I may just in terms of sorry your role as an LDR so from my understanding it would.

You know report and providing partial coverage regarding sort of The Regular workings of local authorities and public sector bodies and so I suppose my question is that Marvin was funded by TED 2:00 friends, so I couldn't quite understand what the role as an LDR would be in asking those questions now that apparent suggesting from the price of the local democracy reporter shouldn't be asking such questions of the man has got the trade up in Arms local newspapers broadcasters and the BBC have all since said they are boycotting the Bristol Mayor's press briefings.

It's on a diary with the reporter who says they've been banned from attending them with me is Martin Booth Bristol 24/7 and part of the boys will also going to take a look at the bigger picture of this story, so we've also got another local democracy reporter covering, Oldham and Tameside council, Sherry's Kulkarni as a journalist with the bureau of investigative journalism the local project and caring hands is co-founder of shout community.

A PR company welcome all of you to the media show that start with you Martin be due editor of Bristol 24/7, what is your take on what happened between the mayor and the LDR and why did you decide to join the boycott so I think we all appreciate.

Thanks so much for having me on we all appreciate the necessity of jenis2 sometimes ask difficult questions the factors to ask him the mayor of Bristol why he chose to fly to Canada to give a 14-minute TED talk is a valid question in my ear is that we don't want Bristol City Council all the mayor's office to pick and choose which journalists should be able to ask questions at these for Knightly press briefings.

I just have to add hear that are Bristol City Council spokesperson gave us statements.

They said it's completely false that the local democracy reporters have been banned.

Stream local Media outlets are invited to the mayor's Media briefings.

There's been a long-standing mutual agreement they say between the mayor's Office and The Bristol post to sponsor the local democracy reporter in Bristol about personnel attending Prescott whenever they're announced angel and that would not be sent due to the narrow definition of their role as an impartial service so they're saying they never did go to these three things let's just bring you in you know your reliable the boxing reporter covering Oldham and Tameside council these kinds of difficulties with council's familiar to you is not uncommon authorities.

Don't like to be criticised and a lot of the time and new stories are necessarily glowing in their prayers of councils and how they handle issues.

You know when we talk about things like potholes.

That's not a positive story for a council.

So you do end up having a lot of back and forth with dress up as well.

They try and get you to potentially.

Their side first all they want to try and get the council spend on something because it's in there interested.

Could take the reputation for council, but that's not what we're here is to do with their to scrutinise these people might not know what an LDR is the scheme funded by the BBC and I think there are 165 of you all over the UK at up to fill a kind of avoiding and accountability does a climbing local news has meant that there aren't local government report is going to the council meeting so haven't been to address that easy to get into the meetings.

I will you welcome you with open Arms by council's did not open.

It is not welcome you with open Arms at all.

They were very closing offended that I was coming in and getting a chair and having to sit in the room with them and hear them discuss things they didn't think I had a place there at all, but they let you in there.

Let me in a couple of times.

I have to go and get

Because they wouldn't put a desk for chair out for me which you think is a pretty basic curtis's office someone back in the day people covered covered Council meetings in all their glory every every every time Martin just to bring you back.

You know just doesn't the council have a point in the centre of the local democracy reporting service was set up with very narrow remit the idea.

Is there a report on things that the local newspaper industry said was often on economic to do so so Council meetings trawling planning registers that sort of thing so pressreader by the marriage is already attended by mainstream titles doesn't Merritt the presence of a local democracy? What is a good question at Bristol 24/7 women independent media company where incredibly under-resourced so we are not able to attend every press briefing ourselves and its opportunities like that, but we very much rely on the service that the ldrs can provide and then there's a hyper-local publications that Bristol's Bristol below the surface imprint I still this hyperlocal publications and one of the best things about the LDR scheme is that the content between everyone from the BBC News 2 online publications like like I cells to these hyperlocal publications are not going to be able to have the seat in so that's why the presence of Algiers is so important communications.

Let me bring you in because I guess I just didn't look like good PR did it there.

No, it's a real mess up that one.

I would say I think it all comes down to the keys thing which is station, so that's what PR is about.

It's about establishing good reputations and then keeping their what happens when somebody tries to duck an issue particularly somebody you know he was it in a publicly funded roll, and it's all about accountability.

You know when.

And that is threatened it makes the the people man trying to manage the communication and try to manage that narrative it makes them look and frankly it makes them look like something to hide.

It's something that we always say when we meet some of our clients and we say never duck the issue of the question because why would you do that you can answer it in a very small way it can be really a Bland and boring answer but you have to answer it because of journalistic.

We have a free press and the journalist is within their rights to keep pushing.

That's the life supply for baby.

She did that the reporter didn't go back there again because I would say any journalist sitting in front of a publicly funded figure is within their right to ask us to be clear the mad did answer the question.

I just wanted to bring it.

So so it was it was a tense exchange but you didn't answer the question if I just bring you in your community organiser.

Local reporters with the bureau of investigative journalism project, you're so generous yourself.

What is your experience of working with council's? You should never written a pic of it only be half joking say that sometimes feels like communications managers think it's a documentary and be a manual for how you a big s because the series point is that they increasingly start from the point of view of how do I get the least possible information? It'll hands at the public and that is not their job their job divide the most possible information they paid for by the public by you and me because hey jealousy people to add to do exactly that to Foster opening time of the clinical governance and local services.

I think we did a pretty fundamental reset to get back to that.

They used to try and close down information for the first singers.

They will not answer the phone or I'm truly email because why with them because they are leveraging the power of the Monopoly Monopoly on being your local council if they don't answer my alarm to the phone you up and can't run that story because you need response from them.

You can't go to another Council to answer the answer that question so they can kill the story just by not pick up the phone or answering an email.

You did not respond to requests for comment and you will look worse but sometimes.

They are prepared to do that because they think that I was holding they keep more power that way and it is incredibly frustrating especially when you can you get it is possible to develop good working relationships the press officers and I'm doing that way.

You're more likely to pick up on the positive stuff.

You know the opening of like a new school or something.

Give me more coverage than you would if you got three antagonistic relationship with them.

What do you advise? Your journalist to do and the circumstances makes us very secure job.

It's about 5 or 10 or more stories a day.

You simply don't have time to keep going back to the council or going to the information commissioner at separate but I'm a big a my background is what in broadcast I've been a big advocate for putting up the questions you asked and the plan statement you get which doesn't engage with the question next to each other to reset the people can make up their own Minds because that's the other thing they do is I simply don't engage with the questions.

You'll get a generic state Alicia go back from my you've had a statement the other thing is we do need to be apparently as Charlotte says empty chairing being aggressive about running stories.

Answer that have an opportunity to answer if we run stories we should and Karen is the salt PR voice here and you can count as a Blurred Lines between publishing their own news stories by the pressure off and providing information to help local residents.

I wonder what your assessment parties like any brand have got their stories to promote and they want to I suppose just to find directions and their spendings to to the to the public and I think that they are used as a tool to the benefits.

What what they do, but maybe it's gone too far and it sounded without hold this to exchange that it was very aggressive fairy and it can maybe that's not the best way to communicate.

It doesn't leave to a listener rule review a very good flavour Charlotte briefly your reaction.

Yeah, I think it just made it look very thin.

And it felt like they're taking incredibly personally and I really don't think you should be a in journalism or in comes if you are unable to deal with criticism or answer questions properly and that also been very busy from you.

Will you do you think you'll be back in those press comes with all the all the boys continue to be aggressive.

We want to find a positive and productive enable local democracy reporters to get back in those press conference as soon as possible.

Thank you so much.

I love you.

I'm afraid that's all we got time for cable Gatehouse was on earlier Dr already past kwete Martin Booth Charlotte green.

Local democracy reporter shirish, Kulkarni from the bureau of investigative journalism and caring hands from shout communications.

I'm grateful to you all the media.

Show will be back at the same time next week and thank you to you all for being on it and everybody for listening until then.

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