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How Free is Free Republic
kuro5hin.org ^ | Mon Dec 29th, 2003 at 09:53:55 PM EST | felixrayman

Posted on 12/31/2003 12:12:28 PM PST by visagoth

I didn't find this posted here on FR - so here we go.....

[P]

How Free is Free Republic?

By felixrayman
Mon Dec 29th, 2003 at 09:53:55 PM EST

Freedom

Free Republic is an online story and discussion site similar to Kuro5hin.org, but with an explicitly conservative bias. The site proclaims itself to be "an online gathering place for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web." Intrigued, I proceeded to offer some comments to stories there, addressing some factual errors and dissenting with some conservative views. The result was a quick lesson in the right-wing view of free expression. The experiment left an open question - where do you go on the web to engage conservatives in open debate? Where is the right-wing version of k5?


One article on the Free Republic site entitled "Dean Finally Shoots Self Somewhere Other Than Own Foot" attacks Howard Dean for his statement that "The capture of Saddam has not made America safer". The poster of the article goes on to claim, "If any of the Left is paying attention, Dean has just officially proven the he is DEFINITELY clueless when it comes to foreign policy. Another in a long line of RATS that just doesn't get it".

My reply that "Actually it's pretty obvious that the capture of Saddam hasn't made the world safer - international airline flights had to be cancelled a few days ago due to threats of terrorism and in Iraq the last few days have been as bloody for coalition forces as the days before Saddam's capture" was removed by a moderator within a few minutes.

A comment posted to another Free Republic story, "Howard Dean: The Mayor of Milwaukee", in an attempt to belittle Howard Dean's fiscal record claimed that the budget of one county in Illinois was larger than the budget of the state of Vermont. It claimed the budget of the County of DuPage, near Chicago, to be $1.6 billion, and that the budget for the entire state of Vermont was $73 million. After a quick google search, I found this assertion to be incorrect. The reply I posted 'The "$73 million" figure you quote is for the Vermont Municipal Employees' Retirement System, not the entire Vermont budget. Vermont's budget calls for 1.8 billion in state spending with another billion in federal spending', was removed within a few minutes.

The Free Republic claims in its help section that, "While Free Republic is not edited or censored, it does reserve the right to remove any postings that are considered inappropriate. Examples of inappropriate posts are those that are off-subject or contain advertising, pornography, obscene material, racist material, Nazi (or other hate group) material, materials promoting violence, threats or illegal acts, etc". It would be interesting to know under which category my replies were considered to fall.

For another example, a response to the story "You Might be a Leftist If . . ." read, in part

"The only meaningful difference is between those who believe in the original intent interpretation of the Constitution and those who do not. Those who believe in the Constitution believe in individual liberty. Those who ignore or rewrite the Constitution do not believe in individual liberty. This is the only difference which matters. "

I responded to this poster with the comment "Individual liberty? Didn't the constitution as written specifically allow for the continuation of slavery as an American institution"?

Within minutes, the post was removed by a moderator. In addition, after this third reply, my ability to post comments on the site was revoked.

So obviously, the Free Republic is not free, except in the sense that the German Democratic Republic was democratic, or the sense that supporting the PATRIOT Act is patriotic. Web site operators certainly have a right to set whatever rules they choose for their users. And a quick test showed that there are sites with a left-wing bias that are just as cowardly as Free Republic when it comes to allowing an actual debate. The question remains, are there any sites with a conservative bias that allow such debate?

Full discussion: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2003/12/27/173837/60


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TOPICS: Free Republic; Front Page News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: braindonor; cheeseandwhine; dairyproducts; fr; freerepublic; gotzot; grapejelly; lovedclintonswars; reddiaperbaby; saddamite; troll; waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa; whatapantload; zot; zotforbrains
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1 posted on 12/31/2003 12:12:29 PM PST by visagoth
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To: visagoth
It was posted a few days ago and apparently pulled.
2 posted on 12/31/2003 12:14:41 PM PST by Quilla
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To: Quilla
OK - Thanks... I guess that's why I couldnt find it.

We'll see what happens to this one then.

3 posted on 12/31/2003 12:15:22 PM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: visagoth
FreeRepublic must be extremely effective to elicit this response. One would expect the attacks to grow as we get nearer to election time.
4 posted on 12/31/2003 12:16:12 PM PST by Nachum
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To: visagoth
This thread has been pulled.
Pulled on 12/30/2003 12:42:41 PM EST by Admin Moderator, reason:

Promoting left wing site

Okay

5 posted on 12/31/2003 12:16:51 PM PST by Rebelbase (If I stay on topic for more than 2 posts something is wrong. Alert the authorities.)
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To: visagoth
:::yawn:::
6 posted on 12/31/2003 12:16:55 PM PST by BunnySlippers (Help Bring Colly-fornia Back ...)
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To: Quilla; visagoth
Some moderators are a little too quick on the trigger.

I would have preferred to answer this fool and figuratively roasted him/her over a slow fire.

7 posted on 12/31/2003 12:17:24 PM PST by sauropod (Excellence in Shameless Self-Promotion)
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To: visagoth
Free Republic is privately owned and funded. We exercise our right to control the use and content of our website. We also exersize our right to freedom of association. Liberal trolls and their posts are usually removed. We do not want to waste our time or resources on their nonsense. Free Republic is not a liberal debating society.
8 posted on 12/31/2003 12:21:35 PM PST by Jim Robinson (All your ZOT are belong to us.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim:

Thanks for your reply. My intention in posting the thread was not to 'promote a left wing website', but to give others a heads up on the discussion regarding trying to 'troll' FR.

Thanks again for FR. I appreciate it.

9 posted on 12/31/2003 12:24:10 PM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: Jim Robinson
Thanks for keeping this site clean. If I want to wallow in the sewer I can go to DU.
10 posted on 12/31/2003 12:24:26 PM PST by ChuckHam
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To: Jim Robinson
Thanks!
11 posted on 12/31/2003 12:25:32 PM PST by nwrep
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To: Jim Robinson
Thank you Mr. Robinson! And a happy, prosperous new year to all!
12 posted on 12/31/2003 12:26:38 PM PST by airborne
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To: visagoth
Nobody said that Saddam's capture will stop ALL Al Qaeda attacks on the US. But no objective reasonable person can say that his arrest hasn't made Americans safer. Apart from logic, events that occurred afterwards prove my point: Many terrorists were arrested thanks to information found on Saddam, and a lot of Iraqis have come forward since his capture to help with the capture of other terrorists, specifically because they were now less afraid to do so. They at least knew that it's now official: Saddam mathematically can no longer be expected to come back to power.
13 posted on 12/31/2003 12:27:14 PM PST by winner3000
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To: visagoth
This is a gathering place for conservatives only. We do not want to debate liberals on this forum. We can find liberal viewpoints throughout the media and on sites such as BartCop and DU. Let us have our liberal-free zone. OK, buddy?
14 posted on 12/31/2003 12:27:20 PM PST by SunStar (Democrats piss me off!)
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To: Jim Robinson
Jim--Way to go!! Why do these left-leaning self-appointed intellectuals try so hard to be heard in the wrong places??
Anyway, great response!
15 posted on 12/31/2003 12:27:43 PM PST by BobFromNJ
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To: Jim Robinson
Not sure if I'd call that a left wing site or not. I've been checking it out for a couple of days.

There is at least one other freeper there, and some pretty good left/right discussions going on.

Apparently they had a mass exodus of lefties to some other site, equaling things out a bit.

Just my observations.
16 posted on 12/31/2003 12:27:54 PM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: sauropod
Looks like people on his own site are calling him on his BS.

17 posted on 12/31/2003 12:29:10 PM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: Jim Robinson
OK, I've been around FR for a few years and I'm pretty darn conservative. I agree with yanking speculative and/or inciteful remarks by lefties who are just trying to cause trouble.

BUT...

It seems to me that his second remark was a factual correction of some sort. As a true conservative, I want the facts. I'd look at a correction like that and think "ok, someone here is wrong." Then I'd do some quick research and figure out what the truth really was.

I haven't looked at this matter, so I don't know where the truth lies, but it does disturb me that the reply was yanked. Any attempt to set facts straight should be given consideration unless it is a blatant misinformation. I look at that post and it doesn't seem like blatant misinformation.

Am I wrong to feel this way?
18 posted on 12/31/2003 12:29:36 PM PST by bolobaby
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To: SunStar
This is a gathering place for conservatives only. We do not want to debate liberals on this forum. We can find liberal viewpoints throughout the media and on sites such as BartCop and DU. Let us have our liberal-free zone. OK, buddy?

Actually I like to debate liberals if they can back up their argument with intelligent debate. Unfortunately, most of them are caught up in emotion and media lies.

19 posted on 12/31/2003 12:30:43 PM PST by ChuckHam
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To: visagoth
FreeRepublic free? No way! I've heard it on pretty good authority that this place rakes in the money? Here is a spyshot of Jim Robinson and a special van he bought with all the money he has made here! And just look at the house Robinson bought!

Oh, this thread has nothing to do with this? Nevermind:)

20 posted on 12/31/2003 12:33:02 PM PST by isthisnickcool (Guns!)
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To: visagoth
Thanks for your reply. My intention in posting the thread was not to 'promote a left wing website', but to give others a heads up on the discussion regarding trying to 'troll' FR.

I am the one who posted this same thing yesterday, because a link to the article on the site was prominently displayed at freshmeat.net, which is (supposedly) a non-political site that shows the latest releases of open source software. I thought we might add our two cents to their left wing rants.

My intention was not to promote any left wing site either, although I did get accused once of doing that on the thread - which both made me laugh and got me a little ticked.

It made me laugh because anyone who knows me would never associate me with anything close to the left (or even the "center").

It got me ticked because you can call me anything you want, but if you label me as anything other than conservative, I'm going to get ticked.

21 posted on 12/31/2003 12:34:20 PM PST by Mannaggia l'America
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To: visagoth
Within minutes, the post was removed by a moderator. In addition, after this third reply, my ability to post comments on the site was revoked.
 
I know just how he feels.  I was recently banned from the CBS Sportsline site for calling another poster an "AIDS Monkey".
 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

22 posted on 12/31/2003 12:34:28 PM PST by South Hawthorne ("Fire can be our servant, whether it's toasting S'mores or raining down on Charlie" –Ppl Skinner)
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To: ChuckHam
Thanks for keeping this site clean. If I want to wallow in the sewer I can go to DU.

What's 'clean' about pulling a response where someone puts the correct figure for Vermont's budget when someone posts in error? I don't get it.

23 posted on 12/31/2003 12:36:11 PM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: Jim Robinson
BUMP!

We get plenty of liberal brainwashing on the news... Thanks for your dedication to maintaining the focus of FR as a conservative meeting place.

24 posted on 12/31/2003 12:36:27 PM PST by SunStar (Democrats piss me off!)
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To: bolobaby
It seems to me that his second remark was a factual correction of some sort.

Jim can correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my impression that new trolls are often banned in some manner that automatically deletes ALL their replies, not just ones that are out of line (quicker than having to look through every post they made).

25 posted on 12/31/2003 12:38:10 PM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: visagoth
In addition to a right to free speech, there are other rights, such as the right of like minded people to associate.

We defend the right of all, including leftists, to free speech. But that doesn't mean we have to, or choose to, welcome such speech here.

26 posted on 12/31/2003 12:38:24 PM PST by ThePythonicCow (Mooo !!!!)
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To: Gunslingr3
What's 'clean' about pulling a response where someone puts the correct figure for Vermont's budget when someone posts in error? I don't get it.

Didn't say that was clean. My response to Jim was regarding his policy of pulling the crap posted here by the usual suspects (trolls). If I want to read DU crap then I'll slum over at the DU.

27 posted on 12/31/2003 12:38:27 PM PST by ChuckHam
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To: Gunslingr3
See my #25.
28 posted on 12/31/2003 12:39:15 PM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: Sloth
"I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander'

That line cracked me up. And I still don't know why.
29 posted on 12/31/2003 12:40:02 PM PST by new cruelty
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To: Sloth
Yeah, now that I think about it, I'm guessing that is the case, too. Perhaps IP logging identifies the trolls lickedty-split and an automated system simply removes there posts even if they are sensible.
30 posted on 12/31/2003 12:40:08 PM PST by bolobaby
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To: bolobaby
Whenever somebody's account is pulled, all their posts (both objectionable and not objectionable) are pulled.

I think his account was pulled as a suspected troll (we gets soooo many). Therefore, all his posts were removed whether they had merit or not.

As to the one "factual correction", it still misses the point that the budget of the State of Vermont is roughly equivalent to a Chicago suburb, using his own figures.
31 posted on 12/31/2003 12:40:53 PM PST by Tall_Texan (Want to improve your memory? Loan someone your money.)
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To: Mannaggia l'America
Mannaggia:

Thanks. I think a few people are still missing the part where I typed:

My intention in posting the thread was not to 'promote a left wing website', but to give others a heads up on the discussion regarding trying to 'troll' FR.

Have a great New Year!

32 posted on 12/31/2003 12:41:26 PM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: visagoth
How Free is Free Republic?

I don't know. How much are you paying for access ?

33 posted on 12/31/2003 12:42:33 PM PST by af_vet_1981
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To: isthisnickcool
And just look at the house Robinson bought!

Jim bought Barbra's house? Man, I hope he had it fumigated.

34 posted on 12/31/2003 12:43:58 PM PST by kennedy
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To: Britton J Wingfield
I'll have to check it out.
35 posted on 12/31/2003 12:44:38 PM PST by sauropod (Excellence in Shameless Self-Promotion)
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To: visagoth
but with an explicitly conservative bias

So, like what is your point dude?

36 posted on 12/31/2003 12:47:18 PM PST by RetiredArmy (We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way! Toby Keith)
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To: visagoth
So obviously, the Free Republic is not free ...

Yes it is. It's free from trolls.

37 posted on 12/31/2003 12:47:42 PM PST by kennedy
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To: bolobaby
"Am I wrong to feel this way?"

No.

38 posted on 12/31/2003 12:47:59 PM PST by sauropod (Excellence in Shameless Self-Promotion)
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To: af_vet_1981
I don't know. How much are you paying for access ?

I will try to be as polite as possible here... but please read Post 9

And because you asked, $25 a year.

39 posted on 12/31/2003 12:48:33 PM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: Jim Robinson
Free Republic is not a libation liberal debating society. (uhh,, oops!)

Amen to that! Now if ya want to debate libations, that's another story. I'm drinking a beer followed by another beer, imported of course, anybody want to debate about that? ;-)

Hey... It's New Year's Eve. :-\

The only problem with being at the head of the pack is everyone gets to take a shot at your rear.

40 posted on 12/31/2003 12:49:53 PM PST by NormsRevenge (2004 .. Send the 'Rats a message even the media can't spin.)
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To: Jim Robinson
And blessings to you and your family in the new year.

Can't imagine a better website anywhere!

41 posted on 12/31/2003 12:50:02 PM PST by OldFriend (Always understand, even if you remain among the few)
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To: Jim Robinson
I've posted quite a few things that are not necessarily within the FR scope, and have never even been warned. However, I've also been around here for a while, and it seems to me that long-time posters get more leeway. I can't think of any forum where you can go in and start throwing bombs immediately, and not be banned. Sometimes I disagree with a thread being pulled, but I've noticed that sites that don't have any active moderation degrade into the lamest fringe elements that have little to do but post all day. There are a pretty big contingent of anarchists who believe in no government who would love to take over FR, because of the wide exposure. LibertyForum, it seems to me, is having terrible problems keeping the site sane.

The scope of FR allows a pretty wide range of debate. If I were to characterize it, though, I'd say it's closer to libertarian-anarchist than conservative. I've also noticed that liberals are allowed to post, so long as they maintain a certain level of civility, and don't try to make the entire forum a blog for the communists. I also suspect that many of the people who are banned are people who have been banned multiple times, as determinable from their IP address (although I have no access to this information). Whenever someone comes in and on their first day posting prints a Mother Earth News indictment of capitalism and uses the term "bushbots" and "WOD'ers", I pretty well suspect that this is their third or fourth screen name.

I think the quickest way to destroy freedom is to abuse it. The statement frequently made is that the only way to protect freedom of speech is to defend that speech which is most indefensible. This is garbage. It is similar to saying that defending the "right to drive a car" is only protected when we defend the most irresponsible driving. Also, FR sends no one to jail for printing their beliefs. However, it is not obligated to give anyone a podium. The arguments made in the article are silly. It implies that the keepers of this forum are not moral agents who have any authority to run the forum as they see fit. To the writer of the article: Start your own forum. Run it without any rules. Watch the nutballs show up. Give equal time to people that write "blah, blah, blah" or post gibberish until it becomes impossible to follow a thread because of the incoherence injected by people who want to destroy debate, not create it.

42 posted on 12/31/2003 12:50:25 PM PST by Richard Kimball
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To: All
I agree with you all in principle but I am a little disappointed that FR didn't keep the thread up so that all of us could pound this Bozo into the ground. Don't forget we have objected to the Lefty's not allowing US to post or debate on DU or any on of the other sites they have. I would have loved to have been able to shove that in their face...
43 posted on 12/31/2003 12:52:59 PM PST by Mr. C
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To: winner3000
The only way Dean and the liberals who worship him can claim that America hasn't been made safer by the capture of Hussein is to contend that you stop being a part of America once you leave our shores. Otherwise, how else can Dean contend that the American troops who are serving in Iraq have not been made safer by the capture of Hussein. Simply put, every single Baathist who is captured in Iraq makes the American military and, by extension, America safer.

When you think about it, Howard Dean's statement about Hussein is really quite scary because the statement has unintentionally exposed Dean's philosophy on foreign policy which is that if you are not on American soil, you are on your own as far as Dean is concerned.

44 posted on 12/31/2003 12:54:24 PM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Jim Robinson
Exactly right.Take your left wing agenda elsewhere.This is not a debating society.This site is for people who believe in America,not those trying to tear it down.Hope Jim gets rid of you & your other confederates who are trying to disrupt this site.
45 posted on 12/31/2003 12:55:36 PM PST by whizzer
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To: NormsRevenge
I'm drinking a beer followed by another beer, imported of course, anybody want to debate about that? ;-)
 
Quite obviously, you're a member of the Fifth Column, drinking imports when so many fresh local brews are available.
 
Myself, I'm leaning towards taking in a few drams of my favorite...
Islay's Finest
There being no domestic equivalent, MY Patriotism remains in tact.
 

Owl_Eagle

”Guns Before Butter.”

46 posted on 12/31/2003 12:59:39 PM PST by South Hawthorne ("Fire can be our servant, whether it's toasting S'mores or raining down on Charlie" –Ppl Skinner)
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To: Tall_Texan
Not quite true. A person can be banned without all of their posts coming down. However, when someone is trolling they tend to get nuked, as do people who have been previously banned and are trying to sneak back. When nuked, all posts come down.

And as it happens, this guy got nuked by one of the staff. Reviewing his posts, I am confident it was a good nuke.

All the best, LM

47 posted on 12/31/2003 12:59:54 PM PST by Lead Moderator
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To: vbmoneyspender
Or, more importantly, Dean's attitude towards our military.
48 posted on 12/31/2003 1:01:44 PM PST by bolobaby
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To: visagoth
Thank goodness there is some control over posts, otherwise it would be impossible to maintain any kind of theme here. This board would become valueless if the usual liberal bullyboys could take over here and set the agenda with their vicious attacks and ideological nonsense. The liberals know their business, and it is suppressing conservative voices wherever they can. That they begrudge a place like this - one of the very few of its kind - just shows their own lack of tolerance for ideas that conflict with their own.

As for where to argue conservatives, go to yahoo, fella. Anyone can post there. If we don't go there, it is because liberals' ideas of "debate" contaminate it and make it worthless.
49 posted on 12/31/2003 1:02:59 PM PST by KellyAdmirer
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To: NormsRevenge
>> Now if ya want to debate libations...>>

Not a good idea... I once lost an argument to a bottle of 151. Dang near knowcked me out and left me with a headache (HHOK!)
50 posted on 12/31/2003 1:04:08 PM PST by dangus
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