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FreeRepublic.com Has Lost its Way

Nov 6, 2011
Joe Hyde

You wrote this. Only a communist or an egomaniacal lunatic would desire to vote on their own stuff.

Click "Okay" and close this before someone sees this.

FreeRepublic has lost its way

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

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Same thing happened to me at

Nov 6, 2011 5:45 pm

Same thing happened to me at Tea Party Nation, I mentioned that Cain's 999 plan won't work its bad for grandmas and grandpas, started out being 999 then 909 then the "empowerment zones" and which was welcomed with personal attacks then zap I was suspended... This is crazy, I've been blogging Conservative Politics for years, and I have my own blog, it has gone vicious especially if you support Perry. I should note that not all Tea Party are like that, in fact I think this is a exception...

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Well, it's too bad about the

Nov 6, 2011 5:50 pm
Joe Hyde

Well, it's too bad about the FreeRepublic. But the message needs to get out that not all conservatives are in agreement with the radical tone it has adopted.

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People have been very upset

Nov 6, 2011 8:06 pm
Jane Schofield

People have been very upset by Barack Obama's presidency. They are looking for someone to fix everything. For awhile, they thought it was Rick Perry until he made his "heartless" comment, and then their emotions instantly turned to hate. For reasons I don't completely understand, they have decided that Herman Cain is the man to solve everything. Any critique of him is dismissed, and anyone who says anything negative is demonized. This is not just true on the Free Republic, but on many Conservative sites.
Rick Perry is not perfect, but no one is. To dismiss him as a candidate because of one issue is irrational to me. But many of the Conservatives seem to be irrational lately. If they don't get over this phase, we will see four more years of Barack Obama.

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At the Free Republic, I could

Nov 6, 2011 8:23 pm
Jane Schofield

At the Free Republic, I could see that people were unable to deal with any criticism of Herman Cain, so I kept quiet. In their minds Herman Cain is right, and the women are lying "sluts". Sadly, something did happen, and we should know the facts.
As you mentioned, you cannot say anything positive about Rick Perry without being totally trashed on the Free Republic. Their replies are often racist, juvenile, and just plain nasty.
The National Review kept an edited version of Rick Perry's New Hampshire speech on the front page of their site for several days. Rich Lowery called it a strange speech. If you listen to the whole speech, it is a good speech. The audience liked him. People who were with him that day said he did not drink anything. But how do you counter things when even Rich Lowery lies and shows an eight minute version of a twenty-five minute speech.

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I was there during Rathergate

Nov 6, 2011 9:07 pm
Laura Olmstead

I was there during Rathergate. The three posters who first figured it out are all long gone.
In 2004, FR had a George W. Bush Rapid Response Team. I know, because I was on the team. The folks who started the team were smart and effective political hands from Oklahoma and California who are also long gone from FR.
FreeRepublic.com never accomplished anything, and never got anyone elected. The intelligent and informed people who used to post there are the ones responsible for any effectiveness FR ever had.
I honestly think that I would be very, very worried about my own sanity if my favored candidate was an FR favorite. They are hopeless, and more of a hindrance than a help.

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You hit the nail on the head.

Nov 7, 2011 8:02 am
TWEETY P

You hit the nail on the head. Free Republic did nothing. It was the people of FR that made the difference and got things done. When those people left and turned it over to others, FR ceased to be a tool of conservatism.

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Laura-- thanks for the

Nov 6, 2011 10:04 pm
Joe Hyde

Laura-- thanks for the comment. I am getting tons of emails from people banned. One sent me this link to a blog post that pretty much sums up the history of Free Republic. I had no idea Jim Robinson was such a loon. But he apparently is. The loons left there act as if he is Warren Jeffs and not to be crossed. Well, I crossed him. Here's the article on the long history of Free Republic and Jim Robinson's unsavory past: http://sweetness-light.com/archive/on-the-latest-meltdown-at-free-republic

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I was just at the Free

Nov 6, 2011 11:31 pm
Jane Schofield

I was just at the Free Republic. Someone posted a postitive article about Rick Perry, and all of the replies were not just negative but nasty. They have banned positive articles about Mitt Romney, and they might as well have with Rick Perry. I have been trying to post some positive things about him, but from what I've read here and seen there, it's a waste of time. The site has always had a tendency to be extreme, but it's getting worse.

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I have no doubt that had I

Nov 7, 2011 7:53 am
TWEETY P

I have no doubt that had I not left FR when I did, I would have been banned shortly after that. It's a shame really that such a fantastic tool of conservatism has been allowed to be taken over by the extremes and those posing as extremes. I have been there for about 11 years and even through the 2008 election it was still on the right path for the most part. I started sensing some odd things happening shortly after that though that started making me question the direction of the site. I moved onto other things for about a year and then about 5 months ago I got back on FR and I was blown away. I did not recognize anyone or anything about the site! For me, having been on there for 11 years, I literally felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone, nothing was as it seemed. I honestly have no idea what happened in between my last visit a year ago and my return but it was a stark difference. I have posted and been "assaulted" or disagreed with all over the internet on a number of topics, not just politics, but I have to say that I have never recieved such personal, hate filled comments from anyone as I had received from FR people before I left. These threats aka attacks were against me, not my candidate, not my views, me personally. They would say personal things against me and then accuse me of doing it to them even though I was very careful to never wade into the personal area. It was really bizarre. FR served it's purpose I guess, it's just too bad that it will fall on the ash heap of history rather then stay true to it's principles. Jim can now remove the "Free" from FreeRepublic.

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