Van Badham on QAnon and the power of narrative persuasion

The Guardian columnist talks conspiracy theories, the state of modern political discourse, and why it’s not enough to counter fake news with facts.

1 Sept 2022
Written by
The Story
Fb, Tw, Li, Email

Photo illustration: Emily Thiang

If you consume any Australian media, you’ve probably encountered Van Badham. Whether as a guest on Q&A, a columnist at The Guardian and New York Times, or as the co-host of her Week on Wednesday podcast, Badham has carved out a name as one of Australia’s most visible political commentators. It’d be enough to keep even the most prolific writer busy. Yet in 2021 Badham also found the time to write a book, QAnon and On: A Short and Shocking History of Internet Conspiracy Cults.

In this wide-ranging interview with StoryCraft host Ben Hart, Badham talks about delving into the murky world of digital conspiracy theories, and why she now believes it’s not enough to combat fake news with facts. She also discusses her background as a playwright and poet, shines a light on the work that goes into quality opinion writing, and examines the perils of dishonest political discourse.

Listen via the player above, or subscribe to StoryCraft on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Sign up to
The Story Newsletter

The best of the website, with bonus newsletter-only trimmings. Delivered to your inbox every so often.