Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Freeper No More

Time to move on...
For six years, your editor has been a Freeper, an association I was once proud of. No more. The site has been going downhill for a long time, and it has finally lowered itself to a level I just can't abide. Some pretty reprehensible things have been posted on Free Republic -- some of it which got FR labeled a "hate site" -- but I simply chalked it up to the usual extremes of opinion one is likely to see on a forum. But then it began to get troublesome.

A small band of anti-Palin activists on FR just about had me ready to bail, but then one of them went too far with a very crude comment, and the site's owner, Jim Robinson, kicked him off. For a short while there, it seemed like the climate at Free Republic was improving. But then other troubling tends indicated things were just getting worse there. One of these is the dominance of the birthers at FR. The place has gone full birther. We've said it many times. Whether Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, Kenya, or on Planet Giedi Prime, the best way to make sure that he doesn't get four more years to destroy our nation is to hit him on pocketbook issues. "It's still the economy, stupid." Tilting at his birth certificate like so many windmills is simply too... well, quixotic, and the Obamunists just love it. That's time spent not holding the president accountable for the financial disaster he's fostering on everyday Americans, and it hands leftists the paintbrush they need to portray all conservatives as loonies.

A second small band (isn't it always a minority who screws things up for everyone else?) of Freepers have become prominent on the site. These people are the anti-bloggers. The anti-bloggers believe that bloggers should cross-post their op-eds in their entirety on FR if they post them there at all. As writers and publishers, our work is subject to the same copyright laws as articles published in other media, such as newspapers. We believe that if we share our work with FR, we should be allowed to publish excerpts. The anti-bloggers call us "blog pimps," even though many of us don't have much of a revenue stream for our sites. This blog has no paid blog ads, and regulars here can testify that I don't hit the readership up for donations often. We usually don't rattle the tip jar unless we have a crisis of some sort, such as when the old laptop died in December. If we're "blog pimps," then we're not very successful ones, as blogging is far from a lucrative undertaking. It's more of a labor of love.

As a rule, bloggers freely link to one another. Although there are a few who don't want to share either credit or readership, most of us don't mind driving traffic to the sites of other bloggers we feel are worthy of it. With our Quote of the Day and QOTD Honorable Mention posts, regular features of this site, we've provided thousands of links to other websites. That doesn't even take into account many more thousands of links in our other posts and in our sidebar. We've always felt that such link love generates a synergy of sorts which is good for bloggers on both ends of the hyperlink transaction. As JFK said, a rising tide lifts all boats. Although he was talking about an economic tide, the principle is the same.

What finally drove home the reality of the sad state of Free Republic was this post by Marc Schenker on Warner Todd Huston's Publius Forum. By way of disclosure, I used to be a contributor there, but I no longer post my articles at Publius'. Warner was an occasional contributor here, but he's apparently kept so busy by all of the other sites he writes for that he no longer posts here. I don't agree with everything Marc has to say in his post. I believe, for example, that he should not have played the victim card. Marc and other bloggers are not the victims of FR's slide down the pipes, but rather it is the cause of conservatism that suffers. We have other issues with his post, but Marc is right that FR sure ain't what it used to be. It has changed, and none for the better. The voice of reason is heard on FR with much less frequency these days than in the past.

It's a shame. Jim Robinson is pro-Palin himself, although he had allowed the Palin bashers free reign in his playground for a long time. Just as he tolerated the Palin-haters, we believed that he was just tolerating the blogger-haters. But Jim showed, by way of a comment on FR, that he shares their opinions of bloggers. Jim, it seems, considers whatever traffic is driven to FR by bloggers to be such small potatoes that bloggers don't deserve to have their copyrighted material treated as such by FR. The website has had copyright issues in the past, and as a result, there are several publications from which FR is prevented from even publishing excerpts. For a conservative website, FR's "what's yours is ours" attitude about copyrights and intellectual property rights is disturbingly "progressive." FR's hostility to bloggers comes right from the top. That's something we can't abide.

I personally do not want to be associated with FR any longer. I never thought the day would come when I didn't want to be a Freeper, but today is that day. I logged off of Free Republic for the last time. Some of the people who have been driven away from FR include Matt Drudge and Lucianne Goldberg. Talk show host Sean Hannity commented about Free Republic, "Everyone I knew basically left because of so much childish immature personal attacks, the propensity there to eat their own." So I figure I'm at least in good company. When it comes to pushing back against the left and its lies, don't Conservatives have enough on our plates to keep us busy without trying to eat our own?

Our policy here at Texas for Sarah Palin, as well our other sites -- The Book of Sarah, Blogs 4 Palin, and Brazos Valley Pundit -- remains unchanged. We will gladly cooperate with other blogs and bloggers if doing so is in our opinion positive for Gov. Palin and for the larger cause of Reagan conservatism as well. That includes the exchange of links, promotion of related worthy causes and events and special projects as well.

- JP


  1. JP, it's always sad to see someone, who was once thought of as a friend, deteriorate. But I see you growing in strength (virtues of genuine faith in God, wisdom, fairness and common sense). I'm with you!

  2. I copied this post of yours into my FReeper profile and logged off.