(CBS Local)– Conspiracy theory groups have been ever present during the history of the internet, but few have cut through the mainstream worlds of politics and media like QAnon. The far-right group of conspiracy theorists have gained steam in a world where facts are questioned like never before. QAnon is the focus of “60 in 6” on Quibi correspondent Laurie Segall’s latest piece.
The new joint venture between CBS News and the mobile-streaming service Quibi features weekly 6-10 minute reports, features and profiles that are geared toward a younger mobile audience. The stories are produced with the same feel that viewers are accustomed to seeing every Sunday on “60 Minutes,” the only difference is that the stories are only available on the mobile app Quibi. While Segall has covered many fringe internet groups before, QAnon feels different to her for a few different reasons.
“This one was fascinating. I’ve covered so many underground movements throughout my career and the hacker culture and this almost feels like everything coming together,” said Segall, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “It’s every online movement you could imagine coming together. I walked out of this thinking this is so much larger than any of us are even wrapping our heads around. I think that’s my takeaway from doing this story. If you could put every online movement in one place, that would be almost QAnon to some degree.”
One of the most fascinating parts of Segall’s latest piece is a tense back and forth with Dustin Nemos, who is part of the QAnon group. Segall and Nemos discussed several things, including the legitimacy of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“We looked at the numbers, it’s something like 100 state and congressional candidates circulating the messages of Q,” said Segall. “Twenty-nine of them have won primaries in this election cycle. Anyone who says this is just online and not going to transfer offline… I just think that’s incorrect. We’re already seeing this come offline. I had this conversation with Dustin Nemos, who is very much an influencer in the QAnon movement. It was just interesting because we were sitting across from one another and he was saying COVID is the biggest lie fake news has ever told. We were going back and forth on it and it’s something that is pretty personal to me and even the 60 in 6 team given that we were some of the earliest folks in New York City that were impacted. The camera guys who were shooting this interview are folks that have been in the hospital shooting. It was not only a back and forth on truth, but it was very personal to me. You almost feel like you’re watching two different people, who have two completely different versions of reality.”
Watch “60 in 6” on Quibi and watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.