MSNBC spoke with Professor Jen Golbeck "who monitors the dark corners of the web where things like QAnon lurk."
Brian Williams Washington Post reports Donald Trump has been fixated on that Republican commission sham audit underway in Arizona and is indeed plotting how to secure other sham audits in other states. The Post reports that according to people familiar with his comments, quote, "Trump remains relentlessly focused on the false claim that the November election was stolen from him and is increasingly consumed with the notion that ballot reviews [Why are we still using gentle euphemisms?] ballot reviews pushed by his supporters around the country could prove that he won." Well, back with us again, tonight is Jen Goldbeck. She's an expert in malicious online behavior, who was an author and professor at the College of Information Studies, University of Maryland. We greatly appreciate having you tonight, Jen, as we do every time the subject sadly, turns dark. How deep is the Trump's going to be reinstated in the August plotline? And what is the talk on QAnon tonight?
Jen Golbeck: So absolutely both QAnon conspiracy adherents and just pro-Trump social media who didn't buy into QAnon that much, are very much invested in these audits. Most of the chatter that I see on all of these platforms now is not just about what's going on in Arizona, but actually getting those in all of the states where we saw a lot of those sham lawsuits after the election. The idea about whether or not that will actually get Trump reinstated in August is mixed. Some people do feel like that's going to happen and are buying into that idea that has just kind of popped up. Others don't necessarily think it is but they think those audits will show that Trump rightly won. And I think frankly, they would be happy just to be like, "See, our team was right the whole time. And we told you!" There's a real "power structure against us" attitude, and they want to show that they can win.
Brian Williams: And at the center of that belief system, tell the folks watching tonight, isn't it also that either Biden is not really the president or kind of a space saver and that the military is really running the country and pulling the levers and it can all be just put back with the flip of a switch?
Jen Golbeck: Absolutely. This has fractured a little bit since the inauguration, where they were kind of hoping something would happen, whereby it would disappear. But yeah, there's a strong belief, especially in the QAnon space, that Biden is a puppet that he's not really there. Some people talk about him being an alien. There's, there's a lot of talk that he's not legitimately in office, there's still people trying to look at video clips and say that they're fakes that he's not really there. And there's a lot of people who believe the military is just waiting for the right time to step in and maybe reinstall Trump, maybe just take down the government that's there. And it could be that the military themselves assumes control. I wouldn't say that's the majority belief I see at this point, but there are certainly people who are hoping for that and kind of pushing forward whatever breadcrumbs they can find to say that that's something that will happen.