Skip to comments.Free Republic Purge: Conservative Web Site Bans Giuliani Supporters
Posted on 05/26/2007 1:49:34 PM PDT by Eurotwit
A few weeks ago in between Hillary Clintons 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 mayors campaign, blasted the sites new anti-Giuliani, anti-abortion jihad. Since George W. Bush was elected president, he wrote, there havent 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 werent the only venue for the Free Republics 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. Giulianis 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 GOPs 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 mayors 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 hasnt 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.
Its not a conspiracy theory, its an observation, said one blogger, who describes himself as a half-hearted Mitt Romney supporter. Theyve still got a brand name that means something, but theyre 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 mayors 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. Bushs presidential candidacy back in 2000, before a dramatic late-campaign about-face that saw him emerge as one of the GOP tickets biggest supporters. But whether or not Free Republic experiences a similar election-year shift this cycle, the sites 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.
He’s honest, I’ll give him that
***I won’t. He continues to nuance & flipflop his positions on gun ownership, partial birth abortion, open borders, and other issues. What was that nonsense about appointing strict constitutionalist judges (a definition that fit Ruth Ginsburg!) if he was supposedly being honest?
That language, and other similar slurs, were being uttered by many of the bannees as they continued the march down the freeperside plank. Despite warnings, they continued to say "brownshirt" or "goosestepping" and more offensive terms that I prefer not to even repeat.
Perhaps someone is distributing talking points?
I suspect the Giuliani affair is only the camel’s nose for the upcoming election.
***For Free Republic’s sake, I hope you’re wrong.
That’s what it was like on the bugzapper thread, except that it was for several extended days. I’ve never seen anything else like it.
Has anybody here ever even heard of the NY Observer? I haven’t until tonight.
***Shhhhh... quiet... don’t spoil the fun. ;-)
I thank you. My wife thanks you. The American People thank you.
Yes, it’s a snarky weekly that follows the comings and goings of the rich, offers some fairly good reviews on books/movies, and indulges in political commentary. It’s where Sex in the City started.
I have totally stayed away from the argument.
Perhaps someone is distributing talking points?
*** I think it’s probably more likely that folks read through parts of the bugzapper thread (as admitted) and then pick up some of the same sentiment. There’s still a few whiners decrying the mass FReepercide. But anyone who takes the time to read through it honestly will see the actions of lemmings rather than brownshirts.
I followed the April Purge thread. 90% of the bannings were people throwing themselves off the cliff like a lemming migration.
I missed the whole thing because I was on vacation in Romania but I was kinda surprised that Howlin was banned because I felt she gave some good posts and I am pretty sure that she was not for Guiliani so it must have been something else.
Last I know, Howlin left voluntarily. If she is now banned, then I would think that she requested it.
P.S. Went to the Swift Boat Sailors Reunion in San Diego ...... what a blast!!! Visited parents, kids and grandkids ....again, what a blast.
Heh... This “cleansing” is the event that made me register after years of lurking. I watched that thread very closely, and it consisted of a) people agreeing that it was time to take on the liberal wing of the Republican party and b) representatives of that liberal wing throwing a fit and doing everything in their power to get banned, even after warnings.
Will FR embrace socialism to make way for Rudy Giuliani as a Republican presidential candidate?
BTW, the link was posted upthread somewhere.
I second or third that one. I hope Foreign Enemies comes out soon, I can’t wait.
Hey, NV—You were there! You only have 15000 posts to read to catch up! ;-)
P.S. Thank you SBVFT!!!
fatima is a very sweet person.
Maybe she doesn’t know they were banned.
Those words are used on that site now...
...despite them having a closed room with a thread entitled FR.
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