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Free Republic Purge: Conservative Web Site Bans Giuliani Supporters
NY Observer ^ | Published: May 24, 2007 | by Rebecca Sinderbrand

Posted on 05/26/2007 1:49:34 PM PDT by Eurotwit

A few weeks ago – in between Hillary Clinton’s official entry into the presidential race and the first Republican primary debate of the cycle – the fiery online conservative forum Free Republic marked a decade in operation as one of the premier online forums for right-wing political discussion.

It also experienced one of the biggest internal battles to rock the site since the 2000 election of George W. Bush -- a tumultuous campaign year that nearly tore the site apart, as its founder and chief administrator first cleansed commenting ranks of Bush supporters, then, later, rallied to his support.

At the heart of the latest controversy: the fight over the conservative bona fides of Rudy Giuliani.

Over the past few weeks, chaos has reigned in the “Freeper” community as members sympathetic to the former mayor's candidacy claim to have suffered banishment from the site. They were victimized, they say, by a wave of purges designed to weed out any remaining support for the Giuliani campaign on the popular conservative web forum. Another significant chunk of commenters have migrated away from the controversial site over the action, according to a number of former site members and conservative bloggers who have been tracking the situation.

In a plaintive post on the blog “Sweetness & Light,” exiled commenter Steve Gilbert, who says he does not support the former mayor’s campaign, blasted the site’s new “anti-Giuliani, anti-abortion jihad.” Since George W. Bush was elected president, he wrote, “there haven’t been any large scale [Free Republic] purges to speak of – until now.”

The fight began one month ago, when site founder Jim Robinson posted an anti-Giuliani manifesto titled: “Giuliani as the GOP presidential nominee would be a dagger in the heart of the conservative movement.” Then the virtual ax started to swing. Longtime posters to the freewheeling discussion threads, used to serious no-holds-barred web etiquette, were still stunned by the intensity of the anti-Rudy activity; conservative blogs buzzed with the development.

“Jim Robinson has been going on a tear demonizing Rudy Giuliani, because Rudy (agreeing with the vast majority of Americans), is personally opposed to abortions on a moral level…” complained a user on the GOPUSA Web site. “Anyone who posts any support for Giuliani at the site, if it's at all forceful, will be banned.”

(“Normally, we don't allow complaints about other conservative forums,” chided the moderator, but “…because it is being discussed all over the Internet, I'll make an exception.”)

Just a few months ago, Rudy Giuliani placed second in an early Free Republic straw poll; now, his support on the site has been virtually eliminated. “After the ‘April Purge,’ I don't think there are any Rudybots left around here,” noted Free Republic commenter “upchuck” in one recent post. “And if there are, they're not posting pro-Rudy stuff :).”

The forums weren’t the only venue for the Free Republic’s new antagonism toward Mr. Giuliani, which coincided with a wave of comments expressing similar sentiments from other corners of the conservative movement. A few days after Mr. Giuliani’s equivocal Roe v. Wade comments at the Republican presidential debate on May 3, a new “STOP RUDY NOW News & Information Thread” was featured on the site, and a newly-created stand-alone category debuted via a link from the homepage: “The Giuliani Truth File.” (So far this campaign season, Mr. Giuliani is the only candidate – Republican or Democratic – to be singled out for that level of scrutiny from the Free Republic.)

Why Rudy? Why now? Some conservative bloggers and former commenters contacted for their view of the continuing controversy say they believe that site founder Jim Robinson holds ideologically middling Republicans like Mr. Giuliani responsible for the GOP’s congressional loss and current woes. (They asked that their names be kept out of this story for fear of antagonizing the famously frisky site regulars.)

Others claim that the former mayor’s top-tier status is spurring frantic site administrators into action. Finally, one popular theory holds that the Free Republic is secretly hoping for another Clinton presidency that would send its Alexa ratings soaring back to levels it hasn’t experienced since its halcyon days of the Clinton impeachment, when a since-soured relationship with blog pioneer Matt Drudge and overwhelming anti-Clinton sentiment in Republican ranks helped make Free Republic one of the hottest Web sites in the nation. It hasn't recovered that luster since the Bush administration took over.

“It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s an observation,” said one blogger, who describes himself as a half-hearted Mitt Romney supporter. “They’ve still got a brand name that means something, but they’re not what they were in terms of real-world impact. A Hillary presidency would get them there.”

Robinson himself could not be reached for comment, but his original post laid out his case against Mr. Giuliani – a graphics-heavy presentation of some of the former mayor’s most damning moderate quotes in mainstream media venues, along with a color-coded report card tracking his less-than-doctrinaire positions on abortion, immigration, gays and guns.

Robinson, it should be noted, famously blasted George W. Bush’s presidential candidacy back in 2000, before a dramatic late-campaign about-face that saw him emerge as one of the GOP ticket’s biggest supporters. But whether or not Free Republic experiences a similar election-year shift this cycle, the site’s current campaign is spreading a dangerous primary-season meme of Rudy Giuliani as big-city liberal – and turning one of the most influential web forums in conservatism into an exclusive gathering place for those who share that view.

KEYWORDS: bugzapper; byebyerinos; freepicide; goodriddance; popcorntime; rinowhine; springcleaning; wambulance; whiners
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To: Graybeard58
"quit slamming conservative candidates in order to boost Rudy."

from what I've seen, its been OKAY to slam Rudy but not Mitty......

of course Mitty is nothing but a big Eastern Liberal, an elitist, but go ahead and play this game....

141 posted on 05/26/2007 3:07:15 PM PDT by cherry
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To: de meanr; Graybeard58
” If I am on someone else’s property and he warns me to stop doing a particular thing, I shouldn’t act surprised when he kicks my ass off. “

You’re only allowed to be suprised if you’re an illegal alien.

And then you have to pay the illegal wages for the past five years - and he is free from paying any taxes. Then, you must give him a lift to the nearest "free" hospital so a new "citizen" may be downloaded. Then, you have to go downtown to find a tax funded attorney that will then sue your ass.

142 posted on 05/26/2007 3:07:25 PM PDT by Principled
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To: EternalVigilance

If I remember my youth in Utah, Eastern Washington, and Idaho was a dinner out with a Steak with wilted Lettuce or Mormon salad, Four Season Dressing and a lumpy potato.

My Great Grandfather did Rail Road work in SD for Beans and Bacon, the High Cuisine of the 1860’s.

143 posted on 05/26/2007 3:07:27 PM PDT by Little Bill (Welcome to the Newly Socialist State of New Hampshire)
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To: Graybeard58

My pleasure. I lived in Macomb for three years; nice to see the time wasn’t totally wasted. :)

144 posted on 05/26/2007 3:08:51 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("I AM A SEXY SHOELESS GOD OF WAR!!!" --
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To: cherry
of course Mitty is nothing but a big Eastern Liberal, an elitist, but go ahead and play this game..

No games here, I agree with you about Romney.

145 posted on 05/26/2007 3:09:34 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for SSgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Smokin' Joe
remaining supporters of Mr. Giuliani have been reasonably civil in comparison to the shrill who have found their own place on the web to sit around and convince each other of Mr. Giuliani's suitability. While they are holding their vigil, waiting for the beattification of St. Rudy of Ground Zero, the rest of us are not, but instead are taking a wider view. There are others more worthy, imho, and it is nice to be able to discuss them civilly without the intractable static.

Well said. There is more than enough room for "the process" to take place on this forum. Still, there are rules, and it's JimRob's house. We have to play nice in it.

I haven't actually run across any Guiliani supporters who have gone overboard, I've seen some good debate, but that may be a testament to the power of ZOT...

146 posted on 05/26/2007 3:11:01 PM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: Eurotwit

Interesting about how there’s a newspaper article about what happened on a website that is “... not what they were in terms of real-world impact [7 years ago]. “

I followed the “April Purge” thread. 90% of the bannings were people throwing themselves off the cliff like a lemming migration. Some I’ll miss, most are no loss to conservative discussion, and the remainder were hired shills anyway.

147 posted on 05/26/2007 3:11:08 PM PDT by LexBaird (Yet another Famously Frisky FReeper!)
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To: Caipirabob

IHMO They whole ZOT thing is silly.

And sad.

Remove trolls, but forget about the brownshirt behaviour.

I guess you Yankees has not experienced occupation and oppression on your land.

But, for a Euro, the brownshirt behavour doesn’t feel right.



148 posted on 05/26/2007 3:14:09 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Damn, I see there that Mia T got banned. She was one of the most reasonable and level headed people I knew.

149 posted on 05/26/2007 3:15:28 PM PDT by elfman2 (An army of amateurs doing the media's job.)
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To: cherry
"of course Mitty is nothing but a big Eastern Liberal, an elitist, but go ahead and play this game...."

I couldn't agree more.

150 posted on 05/26/2007 3:16:04 PM PDT by WorkerbeeCitizen (I Relieve Myself In Islam's General Direction While I Deny Global Warming.)
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To: HAL9000

I think “campaigning” is the distinction. There were some posters who sounded like paid campaign staff, constantly posting repetitive and predictable stick-to-the-talking-points stuff. Maybe they got banned, but people who have posted meaningful pro-Rudy viewpoints, like yours truly, haven’t. I’m not a “Rudybot”. I’m fine with his abortion stance, but concerned about his RKBA stance (despite the fact that he’s moving in the right direction) and his general comfort level with socialist programs. Of the current viable candidates, I lean towards Romney, mainly due his extensive and impressive private sector experience. But as someone who lived in NYC through Rudy’s tenure as mayor, I don’t buy into any hyperbole about how Rudy’s so awful that we might as well have Hillary as our President if our only alternative in the general election were to be Rudy. David Dinkins (Rudy’s predecessor) was that awful, but not Rudy.

The silliest aspect of this article is the suggestion that FR is some sort of slick outfit with marketing goals that drive the “administrators’” decisions about what content to allow. I seriously wonder if the writer even knows that there is no cost to join and post on FR, and no advertising accepted that would translate into financial benefits for the “administrators” when participation is higher.

Personally I think JimRob’s anti-Rudy campaign has been a bit overboard, but it’s his site and anybody who disagrees with how he runs it is free to set up their own site and run it differently. Fact is, the whiners don’t have the energy or commitment level to create and maintain a high-volume, technically sophisticated, intensively moderated, and very influential forum like FR. They think Jim should keep doing the huge amount of work involved to keep this forum up and running, but take orders from them to make the forum suit their tastes. That’s not how things work in the real world, nor is it how they should work.

151 posted on 05/26/2007 3:16:25 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: ex-snook
'Upon further review' taxes were not cut. They were deferred to the future.

In case you didn't notice: Tax RATES were cut. This led to an increased level of growth in the economy, which benefited both the taxpayers paying the lower rates AND the government which collected a smaller percentage of a larger pie. WIN-WIN.

Of course spending needs to be controlled, but pro-growth tax rate cuts are a good thing in any case.

152 posted on 05/26/2007 3:17:32 PM PDT by RobFromGa (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: Eurotwit
I guess you Yankees has not experienced occupation and oppression on your land.

As a Southerner, the war between the states.

But, for a Euro, the brownshirt behavour doesn’t feel right.

One doesn't have to live under brownshirt behavior to recognize it. I've recognized it and fought against it here.

153 posted on 05/26/2007 3:21:19 PM PDT by processing please hold (Duncan Hunter '08) (ROP and Open Borders-a terrorist marriage and hell's coming with them)
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To: Principled
On the tax threads, we still get warm, but the unbridled hatred and name calling

The vast majority of the vitriol and name-calling on the tax threads was thrown by the proponents of the FairTax, not by those that oppose it because of the obvious flaws in the basic premises. It certainly was not one-sided.

154 posted on 05/26/2007 3:23:44 PM PDT by RobFromGa (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: Eurotwit; processing please hold
I miss Travis Mcgee....

Me too. But he's still around. I've seen him posting once in a while on Frugal's Forums, most recently at the General Patriot Discussion where he just posted an article on his Wyoming trip where he was gathering information on a new book.

155 posted on 05/26/2007 3:23:56 PM PDT by Gritty (This Bill is amnesty first, border security later, American citizens last - Dave Weldon, R-Fla)
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To: RobFromGa

I disagree Rob. I believe it was in response to baiting tactics. But that’s just what I think.

Have a nice holiday.

156 posted on 05/26/2007 3:25:43 PM PDT by Principled
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To: Eurotwit; Jim Robinson
I am torn between wishing this was true and distrust of any that are NOT outraged that Rudy Giuliani is on the same page with most of what Hitlery Clinton, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Jane Fonda believes..

Rudy Giuliani is all Rhinestones and Hat, NO HAIR..

157 posted on 05/26/2007 3:28:06 PM PDT by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole....)
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To: hosepipe

I don’t know if this means anything, but my old man concluded pretty early that there little difference between Rudy and Hillary.


158 posted on 05/26/2007 3:30:16 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: Principled

I’m sure we both see some of what we want to see. I have been acccused of every reason for my opposition to the FairTax, including a desire to continue illegal activity and being an IRS employee. And this was by many of the people in your circle of FairTax FRiends, so spare me the holier-than-thou attitude. There are plenty of battle scars on both sides of that debate.

I hope you have a good Memorial Day as well.

159 posted on 05/26/2007 3:30:19 PM PDT by RobFromGa (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: Eurotwit; EternalVigilance
You know I'm almost disappointed that there was no mention of all that:
Image Hosted by
160 posted on 05/26/2007 3:30:38 PM PDT by mkjessup (Jan 20, 2009 - "We Don't Know. Where Rudy Went. Just Glad He's Not. The President. Burma Shave.")
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