Qanon cultists in Congress are wreaking havoc, promoting dangerous lies
Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene must not be given a pass, by the GOP or by the media
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Newly elected GOP House representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was suspended Sunday night from Twitter for promoting the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Greene had posted tweets, including a video, in which she promoted claims that the election was stolen from Donald Trump, that there was massive voter fraud, that Dominion machines were breached and just about every other lie that has been pushed by Trump and conspiracy theorists.
Twitter suspended her for 12 hours, demanding she remove the tweets, which she did. But once she was back on Twitter she began attacking the social media company for “silencing” conservatives, claiming this was a “free speech” issue, just like Trump and many other supporters claimed when he and thousands of Qanon-spreading and white supremacist accounts were banned a week and half ago.
The argument is ridiculous as Twitter is a private company that can decide what the rules are regarding its free service. No one has a “right” to use Twitter — or Facebook or any other social media company — and your speech isn’t hindered in any way if you’re banned for not following rules: You can send out a press release, or go yell on a street corner if you like.
Regarding Greene, Twitter should go further and ban her, just as it banned Trump and thousands of other accounts. She, like newly-elected GOP Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, is a promoter of the Qanon conspiracy, which claims a cabal in the government, largely made up of Democrats and others in the “deep state,” are Satanists and pedophiles, and that Trump is on a secret crusade to stop them. This insane conspiracy dove-tails with the election fraud conspiracy and, well, it’s complicated — but actually, it’s not, because it’s all nonsense and dangerous.
Both Greene and Boebert built their followings, and their support in their deep red Trumpist districts, promoting conspiracy theories. Boebert has vilified immigrants, promoted open carry laws — she and her husband own a restaurant called Shooters Grill, where the servers are armed — and, like Greene, defiantly violated coronavirus restrictions and mask mandates. Greene has promoted racist, Islamophobic, and anti-semitic lies, and, like Boebert, demonizes Democrats as the baby-killing socialist party.
While they’ve both promoted Qanon and “Q,” the unknown person behind the message board account who created the conspiracy, they have tried — failing dismally — to now separate themselves from the cult:
While Greene has walked back her support and said the QAnon candidate label "doesn't represent me," she has praised "Q" as a patriot and spread baseless conspiracy theories linked to the movement. And though Boebert has claimed she's not a follower and worked to distance herself from the conspiracy theorists, she has said of QAnon, "I hope that this is real."
There’s no question that both House members, who voted to overturn the election results at the Electoral College certification, spurred on the Capitol terror mob, which included well-known Qanon personalities and many followers.
Boebert, who ran an ad in which she vowed to carry a Glock handgun while in Congress, was in what she called a “standoff” last week with the House Sargent-at-Arms, refusing to let her bag be searched after she set off newly installed metal detectors at the entrance to the House chamber — though carrying a gun onto the House floor is prohibited. She barged through the metal detectors, and it was unclear if her bag was searched.
Greene said last week that she’s introducing articles of impeachment against Joe Biden, who hasn’t even taken office yet — for his work as vice president under President Obama. She and Boebert have been on such a rampage only days on the job that Boebert’s communications director, who just started his job days ago and has worked for other GOP members over many years — including Mitch McConnell — quit his job over the weekend, citing the insurrection as one among several reasons.
After Greene re-emerged from her 12-hour suspension this morning from Twitter, I tweeted out an open letter to Twitter saying she should be banned, just as Trump was banned. The Washington Post reported that new research showed misinformation had dropped by 73% following Trump’s ban from twitter:
Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.
The new research by the San Francisco-based analytics firm reported that conversations about election fraud dropped from 2.5 million mentions to 688,000 mentions across several social media sites in the week after Trump was banned from Twitter.
Imagine what could have been averted if Twitter — and much of the mainstream media, including cable networks that gave Trump speeches and pressers wall-to-wall coverage — had acted sooner?
Greene’s response to my Twitter open letter was to block me — ironically engaging in what she’d defined as censorship.
Republicans in the House have done nothing to push back on the two Qanon cultists, and in fact have only emboldened them. After they won their primaries they were welcomed by House leaders. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy congratulated them.
“Our party is very diverse. You mentioned two people who are going to join our party, and both of them have denounced QAnon,” McCarthy told reporters last summer, in a statement that was patently false. “So the only thing I would ask for you in the press — these are new members. Give them an opportunity before you claim what you believe they have done and what they will do.”
Well, they’ve now had that opportunity, and they’ve both promoted lies, attacked their colleagues with distortions, inspired an insurrection against America and are now facing calls for expulsion by people across the country and by Democratic members of Congress. It’s time for Republicans in Congress as well as the media to call them out forcefully as the reckless, dangerous bigoted conspiracy theorists that they are, and to take appropriate action.