Skip to comments.Why No Righty Kos? (More Navel Gazing and Free Republic Bashing)
Posted on 09/08/2007 5:16:05 AM PDT by kristinn
Liberaltarian ex-Daily Kos diarist David Weigel and Newsbusters are engaged in a debate over why there is no right-wing Daily Kos.
My answer, as articulated here is that there is a conservative Daily Kos, thats its Free Republic, but that it doesnt really count since its not a blog, and more critically, it wont play nicely with the rest of the movement and it doesnt worship candidates like Kos does.
There are vast architectural differences between FR and Kos, as critics of this comparison are wont to point out. Most of them are points in Koss favor. But fundamentally they were founded to fill the same gap. At the end of the day, they are both vast communities for mid-level activists. Though Kos is more blog-based and tolerant of editorializing, Weigel is perceptive enough to distinguish it from a blog a la Power Line or HughHewitt.com, in which the voice of the blogger dominates and others comment (or dont, in the case of some big conservative bloggers). Daily Kos is simply a different beast than anything else in the liberal blogosphere, in much the same way that Free Republic is a different beast than anything else in the conservative blogosphere. But in terms of traffic and community, its still the biggest. The same item that will get a handful of comments at my personal blog and 30 to 40 on HughHewitt.com, will get upwards of 100 responses when posted to Free Republic. FR may be primitive in its architecture, but I dont think it can be ipso facto excluded from discussions about the size and extent of conservative community online, for the sheer fact of its size.
Part of the reason that there is no conservative Daily Kos is that the broader conservative movement isnt really lacking for a huge online community in the same way the left was in 2002 (DU was, and is, a joke). That community may not be the healthiest one around, but its still a community.
The second fact is that conservative blogs, excluding Free Republic/Lucianne/etc. for a moment, serve a fundamentally different audience than the netroots. Theyre more elite, focused on policy, and interested in the execution of the war. What was going on when conservative blogs first boomed? 9/11 and the American response to it. And discussions of the size of the conservative blogosphere (strictly defined) should take into account the fact that there are only so many people who can digest the kind of almost-scholarly analysis that happens in places like Power Line, Captains Quarters, and Red State. The conservative blogosphere today is what the liberal blogosphere would have been if elite bloggers like Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias had remained the dominant voices.
This is not meant to be self-congratulatory. In fact, I think its probably a serious limitation in the size of our blogosphere, to the extent thats a concern. If you want to be bigger, youre not necessarily going to like the people you have to let in to make it happen. If and when that were to happen, the elite flavor of many leading conservative blogs today would give way to more freewheeling Daily Kos and Free Republic-like sites and comment areas.
I think its probably worth paying that price if we can get people acting like true activists. Conservatives have paid a price for being inattentive to candidate recruitment and whats actually going on at the county committee level. In effect, we allowed the unchecked rise of machine operators like Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, and John Doolittle who sacrificed conservative principle for back-scratching enrichment. One of the big reasons why Larry Craig wont be missed is that he was uninspiring career politician (and porker) with no discernible ideological moorings (beyond the political leanings of his state). Its those kinds of machine pols that always seem to the problem, and we let them flourish by being pundits on the sidelines.
I also think conservative blogosphere has misread the marketplace. To make a crass overgeneralization here, policy is boring and politics is interesting. By blogging about policy, you choose to be boring (and thats ok). There is probably a much bigger marketplace for people focused on elections, especially in even numbered years. (And this is Koss primary purpose.) Why is it that we start talking about Presidential elections two years ahead of time? Because it sells newspapers. The blogosphere overall is stagnating, but if you want to start a new blog that will get read, your best bet is 1) obsessively cover 2008 and be good at it, and 2) fill a niche, especially one covering local politics.
The 08 blogs like Race 4 2008 and Eye on 08 will probably be in five figures in daily traffic by early next year. To give you a sense of the insane community that is building around a focused group blog like Race, take a look at their 700 comment thread during the debate. There is a market there. And a lot of passion too.
So lets follow it.
FR may be primitive in its architecture,
I guess “primitive” is a synonym for “user friendly.”
Why SHOULD there be?
Blind allegiance only sets you up for ridicule later.
The “intellectuals” will decide what’s right for us, just give them manpower and $$$. It’s about power and not policy.
Go there anytime, watch them for a second and it's only "Three, two, one blast off" before one of the Kosmanuts goes ballistic.
That's cute but not intellectually stimulating.
“A rating system might work to freerepublics advantage.”
uh, the only FR “rating system” that matters is the option on the far right:
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yayhoo message boards allow posters to award stars, LOL
The author of the article would simply respond with "That's because you're a Neanderthal'!
Thanks for the post ... intereresting to have a look at FR from outside our ‘box’ ... even though that perspective drifted a little goofy, replete with snide put downs.
On my very first visit during the Whitewater days, I knew FR was the place to be.
I walk through the doors, sit and have a cup of coffee, read the news, listen to interesting conversation and sometimes join in the give and take.
Emphasis on “give” ... Freepers are hunter/gatherers ... roaming the wilds, bagging a critter and posting it on the wall for all to partake, or ignore, as we will.
Emphasis on “take” ... as I always come away from FR with a hat full of new information, sensible ways of looking at things that I might not have arrived at myself, and a feeling of friendship with people I’ll likely never meet except in cyberspace.
There’s more real news here on FR in a single day than all the networks and failing newspapers combined.
JimRob has done a wonderful thing for his friends, neighbors and Country ... may the Good Lord always bless him.
You know what I love best about FR’s format? The lack of emoticons... Too many sites I visit have become emoticon ghettos similar to DU.
One of the most valuable and truly amazing features about FR is the way it covers breaking events. Not sure if KOS, DU etc do that too?
It has never failed- i.e. if there’s an earthquake in some obscure part of the world- either a freeper is there- or their first cousin is and just sent the freeper an email which is passed on to us...
We all come here ASAP the instant there’s big news anywhere- and that includes the globe- not just the US and Canada.
Saying FR is a conservative website is incomplete- it’s that..and a helluva lot more.
.. when something’s happening- my first thought is to log on here - I know I’ll find out what’s REALLY going on in less time than any cable station. Freepers provide links to live coverage of the event within 5-10 posts...followed shortly by other in-depth links to give context to the story. (What does strip mining mean? The map for the campus at Virginia Tech etc)
Paging PJ Comix...white courtesy phone.
Actually, I think FR has the best forum interface on the Net. For instance, try joining one of those million generic bulletin boards and pinging someone...
That’s a good one of the little twerp.
In his response, Patrick Ruffini also discusses FreeRepublic, making a strong case that FR can indeed be considered the conservative Kos although not quite: “[T]here is a conservative Daily Kos, thats its Free Republic, but that it doesnt really ‘count’ since its not a blog, and more critically, it wont play nicely with the rest of the movement and it doesnt worship candidates like Kos does.”
Ruffini is correct in saying that FR will never completely fulfill the same role for the right that Kos does on the left; he’s also correct that FreeRepublic is more independent-minded than Kos. This is mainly due to the fact that FreeRepublic is run as a noncommercial, non-partisan, conservative web site. That very much sets it apart from DailyKos and the rest of left-wing blogosphere which is hyperpartisan and highly commercialized.
FreeRepublic’s different nature has prompted many GOP politicians and PR staffers to write it off as not useful to the cause. This is a huge mistake. In my eight years of being on FreeRepublic, I can say that Freepers can very readily be persuaded to enlist in worthy conservative causes. Almost every day there are Freepers out and about protesting left-wing Democrats, demonstrating against nutjob protestors, and representing the right in online polls and forums. I’ve had them help me out with a number of projects.
Freepers are some of the most energetic and involved members of the political web. The key to understanding and working with them is to realize that they’re not Republican robots. In that way, they are very much representative of the GOP base as a whole. The main reason Freepers won’t work with GOP politicians is the same reason Republican voters haven’t turned out for them: the Republican party has not sufficiently worked with them. If GOPers want Freepers to turn out and help the cause, they need to stop kowtowing to the liberal elite media, explain their policies to the public better, and come to a strong conclusion as to what center-right means for the Web 2.0 world. Once that’s done, the Freepers and the conservative base will turn out in droves.
I didnt take primitive as being a dis. I think he meant it as this site has a very basic architecture for hosting our format.
I think you may be right. Different forum software has different features that appeal to diverse people. I lurked here for some time before signing up, so had a general idea about how it's set up, but the format is definitely different from any other I've seen. Not saying that's good or bad, just thinking of the old seventies tune, "different strokes for different folks". :)
Yup, FR has some features no other boards have, the ability to link posts together by post number and ping specific people.
That said, I still wish FR had a true HTML editor. I hate having to type in all the formatting codes all the time.
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