Conspiracy theories win credibility only when they cross over into the mainstream conversation, and that crossover requires a messenger. Enter Congressman James Comer, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, who shared a video posted by what the White House calls a “QAnon adherent” and which below is amplified by Newsmax.
[The Anti-Defamation League describes QAnon as “a decentralized, far-right political movement rooted in a baseless conspiracy theory that the world is controlled by the “Deep State,” a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles, and that former President Donald Trump is the only person who can defeat it.]
The nearly two-decade old video purports to “catch” Hunter Biden using then-Senator Joe Biden‘s influence to drum up business — the scene is narrated by Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly to push the innuendo that a subtle transaction is on view here. (Hunter Biden is clearly unprepared to commit the alleged corruption — he’s all out of business cards.)
Lol— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) September 18, 2023
This video (posted by a QAnon adherent then shared by @JamesComer) is an 18 year old clip of Hunter talking to Michael Hollings, son of longtime SC Sen. Fritz Hollings, who Joe Biden served with in the Senate for over 30 years. Michael was about to run for SC Lt. Governor. https://t.co/w6TQCR7DCp
In a move showing that ignoring fringe and conspiracy theories — a traditional means of marginalizing the marginal — has become increasingly difficult in the internet age, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations and Special Assistant to the President & Senior Advisor to WH Counsel’s Office Ian Sams was compelled to respond to the video.
Sams attempts to position the allegation as a laugh, starting his defense — and giving context — with “LOL.”
But Sams wouldn’t have responded if he didn’t think Comer’s true believers would see exactly what Kelly tells them to see here. The Biden team, therefore, was forced to respond, a maneuver which either helps quell or dignifies the assertion.
The comments are typically split, as comments on conspiracy theories usually are. One response, noting Sams’s LOL, says “Nothing to laugh about” while another, seeing this as yet another Comer nothingburger, says of the MAGA effort to impugn Biden: “they are so bad at this.”