SALEM – In the run-up to the insurgency on the United States Capitol on January 6, Oregon has led all states in per capita Internet searches for “armed groups” and conspiracy theories.
This data comes from Moonshot CVE, an anti-extremism technology company that, from September to December, tracked internet disinformation and threats of violence related to the US presidential election.
The findings come as no surprise to Joseph Lowndes, a political science professor at the University of Oregon who studies populism, racial politics, and far-right groups.
“Oregon has seen a convergence of strong support from QAnon, an active paramilitary milieu, and, in Portland, the Patriot Prayer,” he says.
He points out that the state has long been the hotbed of right-wing militia activity, spurred years ago by cuts in federal timber payments as well as increasingly limited government services in some rural areas. .
“The militias have moved in to take over some of this work, to act as first responders,” he said.
Oregon’s Three Most Common Searches in Moonshot’s data – and five of the top 10 – relate to QAnon’s conspiracy theories. The fourth is “Anarchist Cookbook,” a reference to a 50-year-old manual for bomb-making and related DIY activities.
The London-based company’s February report, “From Sh – by posting to Sedition ”, also found that Oregon had propagated a conspiracy…
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