2005 February 17 Thursday
Free Republic Purges Immigration Restrictionists

William Gheen of the American for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (AILPAC) has an article in VDare reporting on a purge of immigration restrictionist advocates from the Frree Republic web site discussion forums.

Members and readers of Free Republic would be surprised to know that many members of their community have fallen silent on the discussions about illegal immigration lately because free speech is an illusion on FreeRepublic.com. They are silent because they have been banned from the Web site without warning, cause, or explanation in most cases. For weeks the moderators have been suspending and banning new members that chimed in quickly on the immigration debates.[Cache of ALIPAC posts, banned]

Now this trend has broadened as the first groups of long-term users were suspended or banned this past week. Although Robinson and his staff removed many members of the Free Republic community in the first few days of the purge, those that religiously support President Bush's immigration plan, open borders and approve of public benefits for illegal aliens remain on the forum. Those that were banned were the members that wanted more done to control illegal immigration and a strict observance to the President's Oath of Office.

By taking sides with the open borders lobby, Jim Robinson has taken a position that is at odds with more than 80 percent of the Free Republic community and the majority of conservatives in America. The fact he is using tactics his own users would find unethical to censor articles and silence opposition with banishments and intimidation is of great concern to all of us as Americans. New members of Free Republic and those that are not aware of Robinson's covert attempts to stifle debate should be warned.

Robinson predictably calls the restrictionists all sorts of the standard nasty names.

In an update Gheen reports that conservative Fox TV News political talk show host Sean Hannity has a dim view of the Free Republic.

Robinsonís biggest mistake, besides implying he was fighting to keep Free Republic safe from secret Nazi conspiracies, was to show that the points of the original article were true for all to see. He banned true conservatives left and right in a vain attempt to control the debate while calling people names without any evidence his character attacks were true. He shot himself in the foot while that foot was placed deeply in his own mouth.

Robinson later admitted he had no direct evidence that any of the groups and individuals he banned and maligned were racists. He even admitted that he supported the Presidentís guest worker plan and ran a new poll that shows Freeper conservatives are clearly opposed to the Bush immigration plan. In this case it is Mr. Robinson that represents the fringe element and has supported unsubstantiated personal attacks on his forum.

Even Sean Hannity has written off Free Republic, saying "Everyone I knew basically left because of so much childish immature personal attacks, the propensity there to eat their own." [Listen to Sean Hannityís Statement about Free Republic. ]

There is perhaps irony in Hannity's reaction because the claim has been made that Hannity's own discussion board censors posters who oppose Bush's illegal alien immigration plan. Parenthetically, there is a reason why criticism of Bush's plan has to be censored: It is really bad. See my previous post "Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal" to read about just how bad that proposal really is.

Peter Brimelow wonders if a Bush White House influence-buying slush find is financing the purge.

I used to think that Robinson was simply an egotistical fool. Now, with the revelation of Bush White House subsidies to media supporters, I naturally wonder if more is involved.

My take on Jim Robinson's move is that it is seriously backfiring. He has scaled up his on-going purges to a level that has made them too visible and he's chosen to do this on an issue which elicits strongly held views and where he's far out of sync with the views of the majority of the people on the political right. Free Republic is going to become a shadow of its former self in terms of influence. So many members will be banned or leave on their own accord that Free Republic's hey days are likely behind it. Other sites that host uncensored (except for spam) conservative political debate forums are going to receive a fair number of new members as former Freepers look for new places to go. If enough sites of that sort do not already exist they can be created fairly easily and cheaply. If you know of any conservative or otherwise right-wing general political discussion forum sites (as distinct from blog sites that allow comments) which do not censor immigration restrictionist add links to them in the comments. Gheen has a list of threads in various sites that are discussing the Freeper purge. AILPAC has its own discussion forums including a section devoted to threads on the Freeper purge.

Robinson's purge is backfiring most strongly in the debate about immigration. His purge fits into a larger pattern of elite disdain for popular opinion and the purge serves to draw attention to the extent of the elite disdain of popular opinion on immigration and of the extreme measures which many in the Open Borders lobby will adopt in their attempt to shut out popular views.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 February 17 01:40 PM  Immigration Politics

John S Bolton said at February 17, 2005 9:20 PM:

This shows also how only highly undemocratic procedures can be used to promote this massive antimerit immigration. Over 90% of the public believe that Mexicans do not automatically have the right to move here and take a job. The administrations proposals seem to assume that they do, but the net taxpayers of this country have no right to be protected from the foreign aggression committed by such foreign elements, who throw their costs onto the welfare establishment.

Matra said at February 18, 2005 11:08 AM:

According to the Vdare blog a thread on the late Samuel Francis was also removed. I guess they don't want the average conservative to know anything about him as they might start looking up his articles and books. Better for them to get their information from Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol, that way they stay on message and don't question the Dear Leader and the really important things, like re-making the Middle East. Besides all those cheap labour immigrants help ensure that there will be plenty of out of work Americans who can be convinced to join the armed services.

I've only looked at Free Republic a couple of times. I first read about it on a left wing website where it was stated that Free Republic provided proof of the stupidity of conservatives. On the few occasions I've checked it out there were some thoughtful posters but they were outnumbered by people who seemed to think disagreeing with the anti-Western Ward Churchill types on the left required one to be a Bush sycophant.

Carroll P. Reilly said at June 9, 2005 5:53 AM:

Jim Robinson has allowed the "dumbing down" of FR to reach the point that most posts are irrelevant to any real form of conservatism. The primary reason for this is that most-if not all-of the "best minds" have either been banned or have left (with or without an opus). One thing thast particularly worries me is the overly gung-ho attititude of thos who remain. They seem to salivate when they say "let's get Syria next" (in yet another war!) Those that are so eager have no one that will be doing the fighting and dying in any future war. FReepers are great to say how they support the troops, but have no problem sending them off to die. (Lest anyone say that I'm anti-war, I say this: War is an unfortunate evil that is, on occasion, necessary. However, it is not something that one enters lightly or unready for. It's something I learned in 20+ plus years in the Navy, y'know!)

On that vein, JR claims to allow free speech. Funny, it seems that free speech is allowed only if it stay within vertain strict parameters set by Jimbo himself. I can understand banning of DU trolls, but when he bans Cnservatives for politely pointing out the shortcomings of GWB's immigration Policy--he's gone too far. The same is happening to anyone that might think the (necessary) WOT might not being fought as well as it ought. God forbid you should have any beef with Rumsfeld!

Another consideration is that FR is banning those that MADE FR! FR wasn't made by the Uber-genius of Jim Robinson, but rather by the intelligent posts of those now gone (with their money) to other sites.

Many have said that FR has been bought and paid for by the RNC. Regretfully, I have to agree.

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