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FreeRepublic.com Has Lost its Way
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In 1998 I found a Web site message board called FreeRepublic.com, or The Free Republic, to be a refreshing place where one can get the latest news of the day. I lurked there mostly, for 13 years. Occasionally I'd post an article, but I wasn't that active. I'd comment sometimes. Or ask a question.
This campaign cycle for the GOP nomination, Free Republic has lost it's way. Earlier this year, I made the comment that Sarah Palin was not presidential material. She did, after all, quit her last job to which she was elected. I don't think the GOP needs to send a quitter to the White House to battle a very formidable and entrenched liberal establishment. Later I mentioned that I was favoring Newt Gingrich. This was before Texas Gov. Rick Perry was even on the radar. Both times, I was harshly attacked.
I'm a warrior and anonymous cowards posting on Internet message boards don't exactly scare me. When Rick Perry announced his run, I used Free Republic to counter many of the distortions of his record that were floating around there.
My posts were met with the same vitriol that my earlier comments about Gingrich and Palin were. "La Raza Rick" was the common refrain. Many of the posts on illegal immigration were racist rants against Mexican Americans. If one were looking to organize a new Klan against Mexican Americans, the Free Republic would be a fertile recruiting ground. I kept rolling with my posts. The truth will set them free, I thought.
When the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain surfaced, Free Republic was on fire defending him, to the point that many of the posters there were cornering themselves into severe cases of misogyny. It was unbelievable. Regardless of Cain's guilt or innocence in a court of law, the accusations and payoffs of the accusers, and (most notably) Cain's vacillating, always changing responses to the scandal are not presidential material. Furthermore, the news trickling out of his campaign since it began point towards Cain being an arrogant and reckless leader of people. The sex scandal is the logical course for characters like Cain's. Cain certainly isn’t GOP nominee material; we Republicans have higher standards than Democrats.
I tried to get this across on Free Republic and the attacks grew more intense. But I soldiered on. Yesterday, all of my personal information was posted on Free Republic. This is an unprecedented action against regular posters there, all of whom seem to be extraordinarily paranoid and anonymous.
The last article I posted was the Reuters article that Cain's favorability ratings had fallen. Of course, the message thread quickly turned to anti-Perry sewage. My last comment on the thread was that I wouldn't want my daughter to be Cain's executive assistant. With that, my account wasn't just disabled, it was deleted. I am no longer a member of Free Republic.
Free Republic has a storied history in the conservative movement. Its reach is far and wide, with a majority of the traffic being anonymous lurkers trying to catch a glimpse of what the right-leaning thoughts are on the issues of the day. Matt Drudge was accused in 1998 of using Free Republic for sources for his frequently updated headline links on DrudgeReport.com. I am told that the Free Republic was an organizing vehicle for countering the Al Gore election lawsuit against Florida in 2000. According to Quantcast, Free Republic has the reach of an NFL city's daily newspaper's Web site, around 1.6 million people per month.
Today, however, Free Republic has jumped in the tank with the lunatic fringe of the conservative movement. Mitt Romney supporters were banned from there last month. This month, the poster child of Perry supporters (me) got the boot. All that will remain are lurkers too skittish to post anything, and the far right loons.
When I started posting frequently, I committed to a monthly contribution plan. I was considering upping the commitment, just to keep the place humming. Although, I admit that their expense structure as stated on the donation pages is woefully inflated. They’re making more than just the baseline operating costs, and hiding profit as expenses. But it's still reasonable. I turned off the monthly recurring payment this afternoon and sent an email to Jim Robinson.
In the email I said, "If an Aggie, ex-bomber pilot veteran conservative is no longer welcome on Free Republic, you have lost your demographic."
May Free Republic rot in their racist and misogynist vomit.
Read more about it at freerepublic.com