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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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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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