Panic, pizza and mainstreaming the alt-right: A social media analysis of Pizzagate and the rise of the QAnon conspiracy

Article


Bleakley, P. 2023. Panic, pizza and mainstreaming the alt-right: A social media analysis of Pizzagate and the rise of the QAnon conspiracy. Current Sociology. 71 (3), pp. 509-525. https://doi.org/10.1177/00113921211034896
TypeArticle
TitlePanic, pizza and mainstreaming the alt-right: A social media analysis of Pizzagate and the rise of the QAnon conspiracy
AuthorsBleakley, P.
Abstract

The conspiracy theory known as ‘Pizzagate’ gained a cult following on alt-right forums, ultimately prompting one believer to conduct a shooting on the pizzeria identified by online conspiracists. A thematic analysis of 767 tweets referencing Pizzagate selected from five key intervention points in this timeframe reveals several factors influencing Pizzagate’s continued appeal over a four-year period. The article examines how an online alt-right conspiracy collective, QAnon, weaponized Pizzagate as part of its overarching campaign to attract support for President Donald Trump and worked to establish the theory as a popular (albeit false) narrative within the contemporary political zeitgeist.

KeywordsAlt-right, child sexual abuse, conspiracy, QAnon, social media, social movements, United States of America
Sustainable Development Goals16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
Middlesex University ThemeSustainability
LanguageEnglish
PublisherSAGE Publications
JournalCurrent Sociology
ISSN0011-3921
Electronic1461-7064
Publication dates
Online29 Jul 2021
PrintMay 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Apr 2023
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/00113921211034896
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/8q54x

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