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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.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: bugzapper; byebyerinos; freepicide; goodriddance; popcorntime; rinowhine; springcleaning; wambulance; whiners
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To: hosepipe

Then again, he is a Tancredo supporter :-P


161 posted on 05/26/2007 3:30:46 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: Gritty
I've seen him posting once in a while on Frugal's Forums,

I'm a member of that site. I haven't been there in a couple of weeks. I don't remember seeing his name.

I used to go to LP, I think I posted there once. I mainly just lurked to read what he had to say.

I'll go to that discussion thread and see what he has to say on FF. Thanks.

Wyoming trip where he was gathering information on a new book.

Will this be his third or fourth book?

Thanks for the info.

162 posted on 05/26/2007 3:31:38 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: GovernmentShrinker
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.

I've seen a post or two suggesting that we should punish our nation by allowing Hillary to become president. As an observer of the Clintons for the last 33 years, I find that philosophy to be absolutely insane. If Hillary is elected, the damage will be permanent and irreparable.

I'm currently supporting Mike Huckabee in the primaries, but will strongly consider Fred Thompson if he enters the race. They have the best chance of stopping Hillary. After the convention, I will support the GOP nominee.

163 posted on 05/26/2007 3:33:23 PM PDT by HAL9000 (Get a Mac - The Ultimate FReeping Machine)
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To: Eurotwit

The FreeRepublic clearly identifies in its mission statement what the purpose of this website is.

You think that when others promote causes in direct opposition to that mission, or commit freepercide by launching personal attacks on others (including the host), it is “brownshirt behaviour” for them be unwelcome?


164 posted on 05/26/2007 3:33:30 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: mkjessup

There is a graphic for that? :-)

HEHE.


165 posted on 05/26/2007 3:33:48 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: mkjessup

Figures you would want to bring up one of the lowest points of the BugZapper thread still today. What a pathetic post.


166 posted on 05/26/2007 3:34:08 PM PDT by RobFromGa (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: HAL9000
They have the best chance of stopping Hillary.

The women I know and work with (many avid Dems) despise Hillary. I'm thrilled by their opinion of her.

167 posted on 05/26/2007 3:36:20 PM PDT by Glenn (Someone in '08!)
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To: Eurotwit
IHMO They whole ZOT thing is silly.

And sad.

Remove trolls, but forget about the brownshirt behaviour.

Not quite sure what you are terming "brownshirt behaviour". Most "zots" I've seen ARE the banning of a troll, followed by a well deserved mocking the said troll's posted idiocy.

"Brownshirt" implies vindictive persecution based on bigotry, not earned ridicule.

168 posted on 05/26/2007 3:39:01 PM PDT by LexBaird (Yet another Famously Frisky FReeper!)
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To: RobFromGa
Figures you would want to bring up one of the lowest points of the BugZapper thread still today. What a pathetic post.

FYI, I got more compliments and 'damn straights' on that final adios to two of the most acrid and foul posters (who shall remain unnamed, in the interest of not speaking ill of the cyber-dead), and there was nothing truly offensive in that post, EXCEPT for those *looking* for a reason to be offended.

Take a deep breath Rob, there's plenty more stuff to be offended by than a parting jab at two former FRiberals.
169 posted on 05/26/2007 3:40:44 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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To: IslandJeff

Thank you!

WOW! That fifteen minutes of fame just whizzed on by :)


170 posted on 05/26/2007 3:42:54 PM PDT by upchuck (Who will support Fred Thompson? Anyone who enjoys a dose of common sense not wrapped in doublespeak.)
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To: calcowgirl

No,

Not at all.

Take out the trolls.

As for the purge, I don’t object to it...

What I did not particularly like was the gang behavour where people where trying to rat out people. And celebrating while the “victim” was beaten up, then dancing on their toombstone...

Freepercide?

Seriously.

Some people were banned and chucked out for saying what Fred
(My man) said this week. That Reagan’s amnesty was perhaps not the greatest idea...

Most of you (and even some Euro’s like me) are fighting for the same cause. Even if some disagree about a candidate we can still stay somewhat civil?

No?

That said I am all for taking the battle to the enemy, foreign and domestic, bt we should take care not to become what we hate.

Cheers,

Euro.


171 posted on 05/26/2007 3:42:58 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: cherry
"from what I've seen, its been OKAY to slam Rudy but not Mitty......"

If so, I'm in big trouble here.

172 posted on 05/26/2007 3:43:52 PM PDT by Enosh ()
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To: LexBaird

See my post 171.

I hope you have a good weekend,

Cheers,

Euro.


173 posted on 05/26/2007 3:45:08 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: Eurotwit; LexBaird

Yes. Freepercide. Seriously. Some went on for hundreds of posts, lie after lie, warning after warning.
There is no other good name for it.

What specifically do you think was “brownshirt behaviour?”
I think that comment was waaaaay over the top!


174 posted on 05/26/2007 3:48:22 PM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: mkjessup
FYI, I got more compliments and 'damn straights' on that final adios

I remember, I saw the whole thing in realtime-- I don't happen to think that a lynchmob mentality is the best way for FR to thrive in its mission. Some people like you just enjoy dancing on cyber-graves.

175 posted on 05/26/2007 3:50:18 PM PDT by RobFromGa (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

WOW!

You nailed it!


176 posted on 05/26/2007 3:52:11 PM PDT by airborne (Duncan Hunter is the only real choice for honest to goodness conservatives!)
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To: Eurotwit
Freepercide?

Seriously.

When some of them actually dared JR to ban them, or demanded to be banned, that seems an appropriate description. When others persisted in behaviors which had caused others to be banned on the same thread, I don't know if FReepercide or "Hold muh beer while I pee on the transformer" is more descriptive.

177 posted on 05/26/2007 3:52:36 PM PDT by LexBaird (Yet another Famously Frisky FReeper!)
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To: calcowgirl

It might...

I just read a book about about the fall of Berlin, talked to my old man about the occupation of Norway, AND watched the Untergang.

hehe. So I might be a bit too hung up on the brownshirts.

All I can say, and the last I will say on this topic is that although I do not object to the purge I did not like the way it happenend.

Cheers and a good weekend to you.

Do you know btw: We are celebrating Pinse: The day the apostles got the holy spirit.

May we all get a little bit of that holy wisdom,

Euro.


178 posted on 05/26/2007 3:53:05 PM PDT by Eurotwit (WI - CSC)
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To: RobFromGa
I remember, I saw the whole thing in realtime-- I don't happen to think that a lynchmob mentality is the best way for FR to thrive in its mission. Some people like you just enjoy dancing on cyber-graves.

When it's the cyber-graves of trolls, liberals, Rudybots, and other misfits, you betcha.

"On my right foot, on my left foot, wingtips are SMOKIN' now!"
-
Doug Tracht aka 'The Greaseman'
179 posted on 05/26/2007 3:54:41 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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To: Eurotwit

That is a complete lie. Nobody was zotted for talking about Reagan’s amnesty. They were zotted for comparing Reagan’s MORALS to Giuliani’s. Comparing Reagan’s divorce (No adulter, he was against it) to Giuliani’s constant adultery and disgusting personal life is just vile.


180 posted on 05/26/2007 4:00:58 PM PDT by Politicalmom
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