This massive YouTube channel is normalizing QAnon

Last week, NBC News published a story revealing the lengths that the fervently pro-Trump Epoch Times media empire has gone to support a presidency it believes will usher in an apocalyptic Judgment Day. 

As part of the story, NBC spotlighted the Epoch Media Group’s digital media production company, called New Tang Dynasty (NTD) and one of its most popular channels, Edge of Wonder.

Among Edge of Wonder’s numerous videos pushing conspiracy theories and pseudoscience are slick clips spotlighting QAnon, the cultish conspiracy theory that a military intelligence figure is leaking cryptic clues about President Donald Trump’s efforts to eviscerate a Satanic cabal at the heart of the deep state.

Edge of Wonder

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

The Daily Dot watched all of the QAnon-related videos Edge of Wonder has made since the channel dropped its first two videos in August 2018, as well as those in a 14-video “QAnon playlist” it made.

In keeping with its parent company’s pro-Trump, anti-mainstream media stance, Edge of Wonder hosts Ben Chasteen and Rob Counts present a sanitized, scrubbed version of QAnon that bears little resemblance to the actual conspiracy theory, and reflects little of what QAnon believers actually think.

Counts and Chasteen embrace QAnon completely, holding it up as a clockwork military operation preparing to wake up the slumbering public to a wave of mass arrests.

But what those mass arrests are actually meant to punish is glossed over. Also unmentioned are the Q poster’s obsessions with Hillary Clinton and her fellow alleged cabalists drinking the blood of babies in Satanic rituals, executing its enemies after illegal secret tribunals, bizarre numerological aspects, and the violent ideation of its supporters.

In fact, the videos lean heavily on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros and the Rothschild banking family controlling the world, presenting them as fact, rather than the discredited notions that have generated decades and centuries of violence. 

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

Also unmentioned by Counts and Chasteen? The multiple murders and acts of arson committed by QAnon followers, the broken families left in its wake, the chaos it’s caused, and the inconvenient fact that almost nothing QAnon has foretold has actually taken place.

Boasting over 375,000 subscribers, Edge of Wonder takes viewers on what the website’s FAQ describes as an “adventure to the edge of the human body, life, and the universe, discovering wonders and fascinating phenomena that science and mainstream media hardly ever acknowledge.”

Why does the mainstream media “hardly ever acknowledge” these topics? Because they’re among the worst in conspiracies and fringe science. 

All of its videos are slick, professionally produced 15-20 minute infomercials that attempt over and over to convince the viewer the topic at hand is real, and only a fool would think otherwise. And while YouTube has either removed or demonetized many conspiracy theory videos, most of Edge of Wonder’s have mostly continued to run ads, including its most popular QAnon videos. And they are extremely popular, with the top Edge of Wonder Q video racking up nearly a million views, and the next one not far behind. 

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

Neither Edge of Wonder nor its hosts responded to requests for comment from the Daily Dot.

The first video Edge of Wonder made was almost certainly done to capitalize on the media coverage of QAnon thanks to a large influx of Q merchandise-wearing acolytes at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. Sure enough, that first video attempts to prove that Q is real without stating what the purpose of it is, or offering any skepticism beyond generic prompts to “believe what you want to.”  

The video uses coincidences, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, and selective reading to “confirm” the posts are from a Trump insider while casting Trump as secret genius effortlessly playing the mainstream media. 

One of the hosts casually mentions the time that “Q made his first post,” not bothering to mention that it was a claim that Hillary Clinton was about to be arrested, which still hasn’t happened.

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

The first video also brings up the “sealed indictment” conspiracy theory, even though it had already been discredited as a misreading of the PACER database, not an endless pileup of people about to be arrested.

At no point in this video are critical QAnon concepts, like a mass execution of pedophile “trafficking rings,” mentioned. The entire concept of “the Storm,” first mentioned as the name for this mass purge, is downplayed to the point of being mentioned once in passing as if it barely exists.

Yet this violent upheaval is mentioned again and again by Q, adding that the National Guard will have to be deployed and Trump will be taken by Air Force One to safety.

The second video is an equally slick attack on “the media,” which is always mentioned as a monolithic liberal entity that refuses to acknowledge the rightness of Q. The explanation that Counts and Chasteen give for why the media doesn’t talk about Q is baffling and incomprehensible and ignores both the existence of Trump-friendly outlets like Fox News, and much of what they’ve already said in their first video about “media hit pieces” on Q. 

It’s not until 10 minutes into the second video when “trafficking” is mentioned, even then only in the context of a Dec. 2017 executive order “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption.” Except that order isn’t about human trafficking.

But Edge of Wonder claims it is while conflating civilian sealed indictments with military investigations. This key element of Q, one that has followers baying for blood on social media, is barely included in the version of Q that Edge of Wonder is profiting off of. 

And why aren’t the arrests happening? Because it would be “bloodshed and civil war” if arrests happen without a deeper understanding of why. Which is supposedly where Q comes in—even though most people don’t know what Q is, and have no idea how to interpret the posts.

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

The show even claims that Q is non-partisan, involving “Democrats and Republicans working together to filter out bad actors,” even though Q has never posted anything complimentary to liberals, and has set the Democratic Party up as some kind of Satanic cabal to be taken down by Trump. Again, this is pure fantasy and a completely sanitized version of QAnon. 

The third video, “QAnon: 4 Stories Mainstream Media Avoids Like the Plague,” briefly mentions sex trafficking and human trafficking, which are two Q standby talking points. But only at the very start. It continues to present Q as some kind of secret military operation to tell people about things the mainstream media is hiding, rather than as a violent movement fantasizing about a purge of America. 

And the things the “mainstream media avoids like the plague” aren’t being avoided at all. The channel attacks the press for supposedly not talking about things like the NXVIM cult, which has actually been mentioned in major media outlets as a sex cult since the story first broke.

It also accuses the media of hiding stories about “heroine” [sic] laced with fentanyl coming from “the cartels,” when just as much fentanyl-laced heroin is Chinese in origin and comes in either through ports or Canada.

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

The fourth video that includes “#QAnon” goes along the same lines. It namedrops the conspiracy in the introduction, then going on a general ramble about “media tactics” while pumping up actual conspiracy theories like staged false flags as weapons of the deep state.

After that, the videos become even less aligned with the Q mythology, including a five-part series about what Edge of Wonder sees as “the deep state.” In reality, this is simply an exhausting rundown of conspiracy theories, hoaxes, moral panics, blood libel, hyper-partisan nonsense, and decades-old fringe beliefs with no real evidence to support them. 

They pull in everything from Ted Bundy’s “real origins” as a member of the Illuminati-linked Bundy family, to allegations that the opioid crisis was “engineered” by a powerful cabal of politicians, Big Pharma, eugenics, Obama holdovers in the intelligence community, the anti-Semitic “Committee of 300” conspiracy theory, and dozens of others. 

The rest of the videos on the playlist are interviews with major figures in the “disclosure”/QAnon community, all of whom take everything Q posts on faith. Like the previous videos, none include any of the bizarre or troubling elements, nor the many other conspiracy theories one is required to embrace to fully understand QAnon.

Edge of Wonder/YouTube

None of the public lustings for executions, none of the violent ideation, none of the failed predictions, and none of the bizarre numerology or cold reading aspects are mentioned. Nor is the cultish following the movement has gained, the grifters making money off the movement, or the brigading of outsiders on Twitter if they run afoul of Q.

Counts and Chasteen certainly have no obligation to offer a skeptical view of QAnon. They can believe or not believe whatever they want. And it’s clear from their personal Twitter accounts that they do indeed believe in the Q mythology to a certain extent. Both enthusiastically retweet and comment on prominent QAnon personalities, while continuing to push the narrative that Q is on the verge of destroying the deep state with mass arrests happening “any day.” 

But Edge of Wonder presents Q as something it’s simply not: A non-violent, bipartisan research movement devoted to “waking people up” to corruption. Anyone who has spent any time reading Q posts and interacting with QAnon followers knows that it has a dark and violent underbelly. 

Some of these omissions can be attributed to the first videos being a year old when some of the worst of the movement hadn’t taken place. But even the most recent Q video, posted in April, mentions none of the dangerous aspects of the “community”— including the two murders that had taken place at the hands of QAnon followers.

All the while, Counts and Chasteen leave their viewers secure in the knowledge that Q is real, Trump has their back, and the powerful Jews who run the world are going to get what’s coming to them. 

As one of the hosts put it, it’s “not a matter of if, but when [the mass arrests] happen.” This was over a year ago, in the first video. They still haven’t. 

Update 3:22pm CT, Aug. 27: After publication, Ben Chasteen of Edge of Wonder contacted the Daily Dot with the following statement.

“Just saw the article, not exactly accurate, but oh well what do you expect from the other side. But true researchers of Q would never take any violent action against the American people or any other kind of race. We have to ask is QAnon being framed and targeted because of the evidence that is present against the people who were close to [Jeffrey] Epstein and the child sex trafficking? In the future, the people will start to see the truth that the mainstream media has been covering this up because of how deep it truly goes.”

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Mike Rothschild

Mike Rothschild

Mike Rothschild is a writer who specializes in researching and debunking conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs. He also writes about politics, history, and breaking news.