Baseless OAN attack on Ketanji Brown Jackson echoes QAnon conspiracy theory
Following Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) Twitter rant yesterday against Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a segment on OAN took his unfounded and misleading attacks against her record in a more deranged direction. The host and her guest falsely accused Jackson of being “kind” to pedophiles, echoing the long-running QAnon conspiracy theory accusing liberal elites of engaging in pedophilia.
During the March 17 segment on OAN’s Tipping Point, host Kara McKinney outlined the conspiratorial accusations against Jackson before RedState editor Brandon Morse immediately dove into QAnon-like commentary about what he described as “the pedophilia problem that is currently happening in the left”:
Morse’s rant about pedophilia echoes the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose adherents believe former President Donald Trump was (or still is) secretly working to take down the purported “deep state,” a supposed cabal of high-ranking officials who they claim are operating satanic pedophile rings. This conspiracy theory is now deeply rooted inside the Republican Party, and the FBI has labeled it a potential domestic terror threat. It has persisted past Trump’s 2020 electoral defeat and the central anonymous figure of “Q” refraining from any new posts. Most recently, multiple QAnon supporters cheered on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fantasizing that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will wipe out the imagined “cabal” of pedophiles.
And, following Hawley’s attack on Jackson, some QAnon supporters have promoted it and, like Morse, claimed Jackson “has got a soft spot for pedophiles.”
As farcical as these claims are, they’re also easily disproved. In one of the cases Hawley mentioned, United States v. Sears, Jackson denied compassionate release during the COVID-19 pandemic to a man convicted of possessing child pornography. Also, in United States v. Charles Hillie, Jackson denied a man’s attempt to dismiss federal child pornography charges.
New York University law professor Rachel Barkow called these attacks on Jackson “ridiculous,” and White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded that “in the vast majority of cases involving child sex crimes the sentences Judge Jackson imposed were consistent with or above what the government or U.S. Probation recommended.”