The (not so) Secret History of FreeRepublic.com
If you have spent any time on the internet in the world of politics, you have heard of FreeRepublic.com. A right wing message board that boasts one of the largest memberships and pageviews of any right wing website. It is its own self-contained community that has a long history of ups and downs. Many times members of FreeRepublic.com have influenced real world events, and their notoriety have made them a powerful block in right wing circles. Even if the right wing circles don’t want to acknowledge exactly what is being said by the various Freepers.
So what exactly is FreeRepublic.com? How did it get started? What have they done? this article attempts to answer those questions by giving a timeline overview of the history of FreeRepublic.com. We use publicly available messages, both from FreeRepublic.com and external sources (members, ex-members, bitter ex-members, news reports, and enemies) FR has done A LOT of stuff. This is in no ways a complete list of everything they have accomplished or a complete history. Most major events are mentioned, as well as many minor events, some listed just as examples of the state of the FR forums at the time. Some of the sources are more dodgy than others, even history on the FR boards themselves are whitewashed and purged at times. But it is a good rough draft, and revisions are welcome in the comments section.
FreeRepublic.com was launched in February 1997 as a public message board, but existed in late 1996 as a private forum. It was started by founder Jim (James C.) Robinson. Jim Robinson (aka JimRob) was a computer programmer (among other things) who was kind enough to leave his resume online – JimRob resume
Jim enlisted in the Navy in 1965 and served until 1969. He later married his wife Sheila and had two sons, John and Chris. John helps run FreeRepublic.com so you will see his name from time to time in official capacity. We’ve collected some photos of JimRob that were posted on FR so you can see him as an actual human being, instead of a faceless guy who writes rants on the internet. This is the JimRob Tribute Thread where many photos of JimRob over the years were posted.
The Pre-FR Days:
JimRob’s pre-FR days on the internet are mentioned in an article on Sweetness & Light:
He used to post quite regularly on the Whitewater bulletin board at Prodigy, where he butted heads quite regularly with the moderators. They claimed they were only objecting to his posting of articles that were copyright protected. Robinson claimed they had a political agenda.
Eventually Robinson was banned from Prodigy. He next turned up at another place I and many other conservatives regularly visited at the time (circa 1995), the now legendary usenet group alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater. This site had tremendous influence for a news group and was regularly featured in mainstream media stories in this period.
Mr. Robinson continued to post at a.c-e.c.w the same kind of articles he had posted at Prodigy. Then he began to post links to promote his own fledgling site, Free Republic.
I was later told by Jim and/or by his son John he really had no interest in politics until the Iran-Contra scandal under Reagan hit. So the Lippo Group/Riady business and the supposed drug-dealing through Mena, Arkansas were of major interest to him, as was of course Whitewater.
A lot of this is standard conservative conspiracy theories from the mid to late 1990s. For those of you old enough to be tooling around the internet in those days, you will probably remember all the chatter about the Clinton Crimes and various theories that linked them to the New World Order, Factions 1 and 2, and fun things like that (and if you go really deep down the rabbit hole, we bring up the Greys, Reptilians, Hollow Earth, Area 51, and alien-controlled Sasquatches.) Much of this evolved from pre-internet conspiracies that constantly morphed based on who was in charge at the time. The drug running through Arkansas is just an evolution of the old charged that the Bush family ran drugs through their offshore oil platforms, funded through the CIA which George H.W. Bush was head of at one time. These conspiracies would evolve yet again upon the election of Bush 2.0, go nuts after 9-11, and then Obama’s election turns the crazy into overdrive. It even made it into the comic book The Losers. But that’s another article. There are still plenty of sites around cataloging stuff like this (unfortunately, we lost a lot of them when GeoCities was shut down) for the curious.
FR has begun to wane as a conservative force to be reckoned with. It is still massive and JimRob pulls a lot of weight, but the increasing number of blogs, thinktank funded conservative online communities, astroturf ning sites, and JimRob’s own instability have caused FR to not have the leadership role it once did. Their ability to reclaim the undisputed top of the heap title grows farther and farther each day. Only time will tell the future of FreeRepublic.com, and this is an article solely about its past…
The Founding of FR:
JimRob wrote about some of his FR founding days in an article that is reprinted here. JimRob’s obsession over Clinton and his crimes (both real and imagined) lead to the creation of FR as a message board and vehicle to drum up support for a Clinton impeachment. To quote: In September of 1996, I created the Free Republic website. Missy Kelly, who was a regular on Prodigy, sent me several articles and other info about the Riady’s, the Lippo Group, the Rose Law Firm, and Clinton’s crooked financing from the 80′s through his election, and I also had info from Michael Rivero’s Foster pages and I had some info on the phony drug war and our government’s involvement with drug running through Arkansas, etc., and I set it all up on a series of web pages and just knew that if Clinton’s corruption was exposed to the general public, no way would he be reelected. Hah!
After the corrupt sob was reelected, I became determined that I was gonna do all I could to see him impeached, so I wrote the forum software and launched the Free Republic forum in February 1997.
The Early Years:
FreeRepublic’s big break was during the Clinton impeachment (1997-98) when it was linked by the Drudge Report as “Whitewater Archives”. Drudge had become big news due to the breaking of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. This set FreeRepublic above and beyond the normal crazy websites that were springing up all over the internet.
By the end of 1997 FR was being threatened by their ISP to pay $700/month in bandwidth charges. Instead, they started the first donation drive that landed them over $300, enough to buy a dedicated server. FreeRepublic.com survives to this day due to the constant donation drives (called Freep-athons.) The website’s for-profit status prevents said donations from being tax deductable.
James Golden of TalkSpot then contacted JimRob about working together, which resulted in TalkSpot paying JimRob as a consultant and TalkSpot taking over most of the hosting duties. By JimRob’s own admission, this was around $100,000/year. TalkSpot was defunct by the time this July 1999 Salon article was written. As far as I can tell, JimRob only received one years worth of pay from the TalkSpot organization.
Shortly afterwards, Lucianne Goldberg contacted them and they began negotiations to market the Linda Tripp tapes on the internet. But this fell through when the tapes were released to the public by the OIC and Congress.
An Freep-organized impeachment rally (the March for Justice) on Halloween 1998 was broadcast on CSPAN. The March for Justice claimed 3000 attendees, including Alan Keyes, Bob Barr, Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson of B.O.N.D., Larry Klayman, Ann Coulter, Lucianne Goldberg and Matt Drudge. JimRob claims the inspiration for the rally was a beating of Don Adams by “paid union thugs” in Philadelphia. This attack happened on October 2nd 1998, and Don Adams soon became Freeper TAdams8591. This is the first rally organized by FR that I could find mention of.
JimRob also claims the event cost them more money than they took up in donations (the “insurance cost” is $15,000 and the event total is $30,000) The debt incurred was carried by Bob Johnson until they sold enough FR paraphernalia to pay him back. That is also where JimRob claims to have the idea for donation drives, all “for projects” and he is rather insistent that he isn’t just using the money for himself.
The early board was largely unmoderated, which lead to the posting of entire articles from news sites and lost of crazy racist stuff. The former led to a lawsuit while the latter led to links being dropped by Drudge Report and others. The details of the L.A. Times v. Free Republic case can be found here, which includes FreeRepublic losing (though the judgment against them was reduced from $1 million to $10,000), their lawyer Brian Langford Buckley being declared inactive (and thus ineligible to serve as a lawyer), and Buckley eventually getting banned from FreeRepublic after getting into a spat with JimRob. Thousands of posts were purged due to copyright infringement.
link – More from JimRob:
Bob Barr calls. Duty calls and the FReepers go to Washington again. Boston conceives the idea of an ad in the Washington Times to urge the House to move on the impeachment. The FReepers raise something like $15,000 to pay for the ad and some additional artwork. We also raise some money to pay for the rally. Somewhere in here, we raise money to pay for the publishing of Alamo-Girl’s Clinton Downside Legacy and to deliver a copy to each Senator. Gonzo contributes $6,000 dollars to the fund, which he had loaned to us previously to cover some of expenses of the MFJ and now says we should keep as a donation rather than pay back. Again, I’m not begging for anything… Boston and his group wanted the ad and wanted us to raise money on FR to cover it. Nothing sinister here. I’m still a hobby not a business. And not begging for money as some allege.
The rally he mentioned was the December, 5th, 1998 “Judgment Day” rally on the Capitol steps, another rally for Clinton impeachment. These rallies and the ads that FR ran in the Washington Times, and the resulting surge of “grassroots activism”, are claimed to have to moved some of the reluctant Congressmen to vote for impeachment – A claim made by JimRob on his own resume! How is it grassroots when a Congressman (Barr) is partially organizing the campaign?
House Managers Tribute rally – May 4th, 1999
FR was cosponsors with the Free Congress Foundation for the “House Managers Tribute” rally and dinner honoring the House Managers on May 4th, 1999, at the Washington Hilton and Towers.
All thirteen House Managers, plus Congressman Tom DeLay and many other conservative notables attended. Henry Hyde and Steve Forbes were the keynote speakers. Alan Keyes, Larry Klayman, James Rogan and Chris Cannon and many other conservative leaders spoke at the rally. – source
The House Managers were the 13 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, who served as prosecutors at the impeachment trial:
Henry Hyde of Illinois (Chairman)
Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin
Bill McCollum of Florida
George Gekas of Pennsylvania
Charles Canady of Florida
Steve Buyer of Indiana
Ed Bryant of Tennessee
Steve Chabot of Ohio
Bob Barr of Georgia (again!)
Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
Chris Cannon of Utah
James E. Rogan of California
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Treason is the Reason rally – July 24 1999
Notice a theme to these rallies yet? The Treason is the Reason rally was in Lafayette Park across from the White House. There were speeches by CA Republican Rep. James Rogan (another House impeachment manager), Bob Barr again, and even Clinton-hating columnist Christopher Hitchens.
Clinton death threats:
This constant rhetoric of treason, hate, and vilification had an effect, in that Freepers were openly calling for the murder of President Clinton.
T.J. Walker, an online columnist who dug up a passel of ominous posts on the Clintons in the past few months (another sample: “People, we are going to have to go to Washington, and kill this horrible bastard ourselves!”),
Samples about the Clintons: “Somehow, genital herpes just isn’t enough for this duo … 357 seems more on the mark (it may take a village to whack you, you sullen bitch!)
“Hey billzo, fondled any chicks on a rope line lately? Criss, have you noticed that these two assholes, the pres and his bitch, need about four layers of protection just to walk around in public? They know that everybody hates them, and wants them to be dead! Senator? yea-sure, c’mon, bitch, I got yer senator rite heayre! …”
Clinton hate would also morph into revenge against anyone associated with Bill Clinton. Julie Hiatt Steele was charged with obstruction of justice by Kenneth Starr during President Clinton’s impeachment trial. She then began to take credit card donations to help with her legal bills. The Freepers found out, and soon flooded her website with fake donations using fake credit card numbers (technically wire fraud) and cost Steele around $4000 (as she had to pay her e-commerce service company 25 to 35 cents to process each one.)
But the era of Clinton was ending, and a new Millennium was dawning. And a new election.
The Election of 2000:
Conspiracy town was in high swing as the elections of 2000 started. Frontrunner George W. Bush was regularly linked to his former CIA head father and the old as dirt conspiracy theory that they smuggled drugs into the country through the Bush family oil rigs.
Sweetness & Light - May of 1999, when out of left-field Robinson started to post his theories that the CIA funded itself by drug running and that George HW Bush, having been the director of the CIA, was a kingpin in their international drug operations.
Mr. Robinson further claimed the US had fought every conflict since WWII to establish and preserve this drug empire. He also maintained that drugs were introduced and propagated in the US by the CIA for these same nefarious ends.
I’m surprised he didn’t work Prescott Bush selling arms to the Nazis in there! This lead to a split among many of the conservatives, as FreeRepublic was not seen as towing the conservative line by backing the frontrunner.
FR blasted George W. Bush to the point where conservatives dropped the site like rats from a sinking ship. Former friends Lucianne Goldberg and Matt Drudge were among the people running for the hills. Before this time FR is drawing 50,000 individual visits per day, but after the fighting visits were down by over half.
“This site has become loaded with crazies and that’s a damn shame,” wrote another in an abject letter of resignation, one of a steady stream of Freepers to head for the exits in May, when impeachment was long gone as an issue and an army of conspiracy-minded extremists seemed to float to the top of the message boards.
“He’s a mean shit,” says Goldberg of Robinson, once her partner in exposing Clinton crimes. She launched her own Web site, Lucianne.com, taking “2,000″ Freepers with her, she says. “I am not anti-abortion, I am not Y2K either. I’m not a homophobe, I’m not an anti-Semite — Christ … I have a Jewish husband … I have four people who work for me and half of them are gay. I mean, this is ridiculous.”
“A stinking mackerel in the garbage can of truth,” says Ken Giles about Robinson. Giles, a onetime Free Republic star contributor, charges that Robinson allowed the site to become “a hate group open to all sorts of off-the-wall stuff — conspiracy theories that really come from the left.”
Meanwhile, Robinson says he’ll continue to make his own points about the Bush-CIA past.
“The theories of the CIA’s involvement with drug runners and terrorists in Southeast Asia and Central and South America are well known and have been around for many years,” he answered a query from Salon News. “And many of the stories we’ve heard are probably true or at least are grounded in fact and I, for one, would like to get to the bottom of it and put a stop to it.”
He added, “There are some in Lucianne’s group who do not want to touch these issues because they might lead back to George Bush as leader of the CIA, vice president and then president, and these discussions might damage G.W.’s chances of winning the nomination.”
The Drudge Report dropped the link to Free Republic by February 1999, “because they were doing racist stuff over the (imaginary) [Clinton love child]… I click on and I see this headline, “Nigger Baby.”” Drudge quickly restored the link, but later dropped it again for unknown reasons. But don’t worry, the story has a happy ending as the link on Drudge is back.
The Observer notes: Robinson “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.”
JimRob then bans anyone who posts against Bush, including many regulars who didn’t get the memo.
2000 Election: Florida
The 2000 election controversy was something that caught the nation off guard. But FreeRepublic was ready to protest protest protest! The FR protests were spun as counterprotest actions to defend America from Democrats stealing the election. There were almost weekly protests in Fresno (near JimRob’s home) with the dates December 3rd and December 12 being two I found written documentation of. An interesting link is an archive of an article entitled FREEPERS: Just who are they? [Opposition Research]
Sore-Loserman signs were created by a Freeper named Registered, who also came up with a concept of a plane flying with a banner that said “Surrender Gorethy”. A second reference I found claims the sign was co-created by Freepers CPL BAUM, Registered, Spiff, and Mass Exodus. The Sore-Loserman merchandise was then marketed heavily by Freepers such as Technocrat (who claims FR made almost $20,000 in donations off of sales) Surrender Gorethy was flown by Freepers Seeking the Truth and flygirl calling themselves the FreeRepublic Air Force. Also in the thread note the Freepers mentioning they were switching yard signs and bumper stickers.
Technocrat made lots of Freep merchandise over the years, even owning the Freepstuff.com domain for a while (now dead.) They weren’t the only ones marketing Sore-Loserman
But Bush won a Supreme Court victory and Freep was loaded with threads with titles such as VICTORY IS OURS! Sore/Loserman Rally FReports! Thousands Take to the Streets! Pt.V
2001 saw the first of the Freeper Inaugural Balls, with the house band being then-Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s band! Keep in mind years later Huckabee would be one of the most despised Republicans at FreeRepublic.com. Classily named the Free Republic Inaugural Gala and Count the Silverware Ball, FR showed hate for President Clinton until the end. (And even now.)
Among the attendees were James Golden (AKA Bo Snerdly from Rush Limbaugh radio broadcasts, an early investor in Free Republic), Sandy Kramer, and the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson of B.O.N.D.
The Freepers were so ecstatic over their SoreLoserman fun that they decided to go on a cruise. October 15th 2001 was the send-off date. Even the eventual War on Terror didn’t interfere with the party time.
C-CPAN aired a Victory Brunch with JimRob on March 24, which spawmed multiple threads that all seem to be gone from the internet.
If he keeps on he’s going to make me come up there. There is only one solution to the Klintons, two 45 rounds and a nice little spot in Marcy Park. –patriot in texas
The user patriot in texas was later banned
FreeRepublic was soon showing their loyalty to President Bush by going all Internet Detective on a bartender who refused to serve drinks to an underaged Jenna Bush. Besides posting personal information and poster “tracer” recommending that Freepers use it to steal her identity (personal info later pulled) they emailed the restaurant/bar the event took place at (Austin Texas’s Chuy’s) with various threats and intimidation. More fallout here.
But soon harassing bartenders was small potatoes compared to what was coming on the world stage…
September 11th, 2001 – The War on Terror begins:
After September 11th, 2001, FR went on the warpath. The memories of our last military action in the Middle East resurged along with the quest for revenge. Comments following this article posted September 14th (You screwed-up) give an example of the feelings at the time.
When military action against Afghanistan became inevitable, FR members lead by JimRob began almost weekly counter-protests against pacifists in the Fresno-area at the corner of Shaw and Blackstone (Patriots Corner.) These protests went on for years, sometimes listed under the title Operation Infinite FReep or similar. Here is a short list of the events and dates I was able to find under a quick search:
- Operation Infinite FReep, Fresno Support our Troops Rally 3/29/02
- Patriots Rally For America San Francisco version 4/20/02
- Op Infinite FReep: Fresno Support Our Troops/President Rally – 09/10/04 – Report/Photos
- Op Infinite FReep: Fresno Support our Troops/President Rally, Tonight, 10/01/2004
- Op Infinite FReep: Fresno Support our Troops/President Rally, 3/4/05 Report and Photos
- Fresno Support our Troops Rally Tonight, 10/05/2007
But it was not all rallies and more rallies and waving flags. JimRob was still responding to various bitter rightwing commentors who accused him of getting rich off of FreeRepublic. In Is Free Republic a Fraud? Is it time for Free Republic to go away? he laid out a spreadsheet-a-palooza of financial information. By November 2001, FR was costing “over $20,000 per month to cover all expenses.”
The major costs include approximately $8,000 per month for bandwidth, 3,000 for systems management and programming services, 7,000 for management, operating and administrative services, plus two or three thousand per month for miscellaneous office expenses
At that time, he was projecting a $22,000/month expense for 2002
list of costs JimRob claims:
The March for Justice……….. $30,000
The Judgment Day Rally….. $8,000
The Washington Ad, etc…….. $10,000
The Treason Ad, etc…………. $10,000
Legal Fees and filing fees……. $6,000 (ED: I am guessing the L.A. Times v. Free Republic case is here)
The House Managers………… $5,000
Travel and Lodging…………… $8,000
Operating Expenses…………… $15,000
Misc Expenses…………………. $3,000
Corp Taxes……………………… $1,000
Ending cash balance………….. $8,000 ($6,000 earmarked for legal defense)
Personally, I had a savings account (in stock) worth about $39,000 when I started all this. I had a house and two trucks and a house full of beat up furniture. I had debts including a 100% mortgage and other personal debts totaling approximately $220,000.
January 2002 was the launch of the new Free Republic Network, best known for the FreeRepublic Radio and the Kerry-bashing site WinterSoldier.com. It got off to a rocky start due to the use of screen names for the board of directors, then claimed it was filing for California 501(c)4 (non-profit, political) corporation status. This lead to some criticisms on the boards for transparency.
Directors of FRN include Bob Johnson (BobJ), Scott Swett (Interesting Times), Robert Hahn (Nick Danger), and several others. Grover Norquist was among the advisors at launch. The Free Republic Network and FreeRepublic Radio’s links all now go to dead sites, 404s, or parked domains. The history of this organization (including a previous incarnation) will be the subject of its own article because it is long itself and will delay and unnecessarily clutter up this article. Expect it as soon as possible.
Although the Free Republic Network is technically a different entity, it is so intertwined with FreeRepublic (especially in 2002-4) to make it indistinguishable in some of the later posts, so apologies if I miss the subtle difference below.
FR’s attempts to stay in the mainstream resulted in them being at the 2002 CPAC (and broadcasting it live on RadioFR) CPAC is the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual conference where conservatives gather to try to out crazy each other with how conservative they are. This was not FR’s only appearance at the event. We have confirmed a return in 2004 and suspect others.
JimRob continued to write long rants about how the Democrats are pure evil. Some of the articles he wrote at this time would be reposted years later whenever he felt his troops needed a quick boost of hate and vileness to reenergize them.
Despite the best efforts to rally his troops, FR was still plagued with the constant in-fighting and paranoia you would expect from a group of conspiracy nuts. In addition, Stormfront.org posters admit to posting on FreeRepublic, and though many are banned, they continue to return: WARNING: Stormfront.org Link. Oddly enough, they seem to be banned because of their opposition to Israel.
In mid-August 2002 , there was the First Annual Free Republic Network Convention in Las Vegas, a 2-day event filled with more rascals and old people than you could shake a cane at, with speakers including Laura Ingraham, Rich Galen, Nancy Bocskar, Chuck Muth, Matt Lewis of the Leadership Institute. I do not know if there were any other Annual Free Republic Network Conventions.
The big story of 2003 was the upcoming invasion of Iraq. It should come to no surprise that FR was beating the war drum with crazed intensity. Besides regular counter-protests to the anti-war protests (DISCLAIMER – I marched in said anti-war protests) that came nowhere near even 1% of the anti-war folks, their war fervor was in full force on the forms as well. Many Freepers were up late in the night trying to show how they wanted to bomb Iraq more than any other.
FreeRepublic had another cruise: Freeps Ahoy – a Free Republic Network Caribbean Cruise May 31st – June 7th, 2003. Never mind the fact we were at war x2 at this point. But even the vacation atmosphere couldn’t stop them from organizing protests of Hillary Clinton’s book signings! Dubbed “Hilla=Palozza 2003″, because, why the hell not?
The 2004 Free Republic Coast to Coast Freedom Tour was announced to stump for the 2004 election. The tour was divided up into several divisions and lasted most of the summer and some of the winter leading up to the January inauguration. Basically, JimRob and a select few of his band of merry angry men drive around the country and wave flags. The tour was divided up into sections with names like Rocky Mountain & South Western Division and Pacific States Division.
The biggest story on FreeRepublic in 2004 was…
Known by several names: Memogate, Rathergate, or the Killian documents controversy. The controversy began on September 8, 2004 as CBS aired a 60 Minutes Wednesday story by Dan Rather that purported to have documents proving that George W. Bush did not serve out the entirety of his stay in the Air National Guard. The documents were shown during the broadcast, and what became a memorable story in the conservative blogosphere erupted shortly afterwards, set off by this post on FreeRepublic.com:
Post # 47 To: Howlin
Howlin, every single one of these memos to file is in a proportionally spaced font, probably Palatino or Times New Roman.
In 1972 people used typewriters for this sort of thing, and typewriters used monospaced fonts.
The use of proportionally spaced fonts did not come into common use for office memos until the introduction of laser printers, word processing software, and personal computers. They were not widespread until the mid to late 90′s. Before then, you needed typesetting equipment, and that wasn’t used for personal memos to file. Even the Wang systems that were dominant in the mid 80′s used monospaced fonts.
I am saying these documents are forgeries, run through a copier for 15 generations to make them look old.
This should be pursued aggressively.
47 posted on 09/08/2004 8:59:43 PM PDT by Buckhead
This soon became obsession number one amongst the Freepers and their ilk, spreading throughout the wingnut sites like chicken pox in a preschool. Their suspicions paid off as CBS first began to backtrack about the authenticity of the documents, and eventually retracted and walked away. Rather retired from the CBS news a year later and the network shortly thereafter, many believe due to the fallout from this story. In 2007, he filed a lawsuit against CBS alleging that he was made a scapegoat, but the case was thrown out.
The Freeper who set this all off wasn’t your average guy in the basement. Buckhead was Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta attorney who had helped draft the 1998 petition to the Arkansas Supreme Court for the disbarment of President Bill Clinton and was employed by conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Southeastern Legal Foundation (where he served on the legal-advisory board.)
A Rathergate breakdown from USAToday
A Rathergate breakdown written up by David M. Huntwork and reposted by JimRob
Another Rathergate Freeper thread
Freepers tastefully cheering Rather’s leaving of the news
In case you lived under a rock in 2004, the election contest was a battle of wartime President George W. Bush of the vs. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Needless to say, Kerry’s less than inspiring charisma was not enough to counter George W. Bush’s Scare The Frak Out Of Everyone Strategy.
The major issue dogging Vietnam vet Kerry was a group of liars known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who accused John Kerry of cowardice and lying about his war service, despite the fact that many of the swiftboat vets never served or even met John Kerry. Thanks to the rightwing noise machine, that did not matter in the slightest. Here is a sample thread from then entitled SWIFT VETS:Transcrip of O’Neil vs Kerry on Dick Cavett (sKerry:Disembler then/Disembler now)
Jerome Corsi, a Swift Boat Vet and co-author of the book Unfit for Command, which was nothing but a giant slam on John Kerry, was unsurprisingly a Freeper who posted as jrlc. Jerome Corsi also described “Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles and Pope John Paul II as senile.” Jerome Corsi would later gain more fame as one of the more prominent Birthers, who believes that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, as well as someone constantly writing about the “Amero”, the currency of the conspiracy theory nation the North American Union.
A documentary film called The Big Picture, basically a movie-length attack on John Kerry sponsored by David Bossie’s Citizens United (who, oddly enough, had previously sued Michael Moore to try to stop advertising of Fahrenheit 9/11 was released. Exactly how the film was funded started out a mystery until Salon spotted a post on FreeRepublic revealing that Citizens United was cold-calling conservatives asking for money. Freep then noticed the Salon article that mentioned them.
Jim Robinson releases a statement unilaterally supporting the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive strikes. There was possibly a mini-purge over this issue and is alluded to in the introduction, which would be the second known Bush purge.
FreeRepublic made a return to CPAC with a booth (manned by Interesting Times, Abner, and Victim of Circumstance) and numerous other Freepers were in attendance in various roles.
In 2004 Freeper Richard Poe published a book called Hillary’s Secret War with a forward by Jim Robinson. The point of the book seems to be to laud accolades upon the heroic Freepers who dared to attack the Clintons and then to smear the response by the Clintons as part of a grand conspiracy to make Hillary president in 2004.
I read the book and I agree it is something that all America should have access to. I can picture little Debbie Democrat, who hasn’t a clue what is really going on in her party suddenly getting a hold of this book and being in for the shock of her life!
The book is very good, very informative, and for those like me who thought you knew all of the evil acts of Hillary Clinton, you will get a few surprises! Plus some will see their screen names from FR right in the pages of this dynamite book!
10 posted on April 29, 2004 3:42:40 PM PDT by ladyinred (Kerry has more flip flops than Waikiki Beach)
The Barack Obama-Alan Keyes Illinois Senate campaign was also happening in 2004, here is FreeRepublic and Jim Robinson chatting about Obama, Alan Keyes (back when FR had a hardon for Keyes), and all things Freep:
Vanity: Alan Keyes for Senate
Aug 23, 2004 | Jim Robinson
I’ll make this short and sweet (kinda like this is your brain, this is your brain on crack – any questions?).
a) Alan Keyes is an America loving, Constitution loving, Liberty loving, pro-life ultra conservative. We’d be ^damned lucky to have him in the Senate if we could get him there.
b) Barack Obama is an America hating, pro-abortion socialist communist. It’ll be a dark day for America if he’s elected.
But we all know what happened in 2004: Bush won, Kerry lost, Freep celebrated, liberals slowly turned off the TV and returned to work Wednesday hungover and despaired. But if you live in Conservatopia…
There was a second FreeRepublic Inaugural Ball – January 26th, 2005 after Bush’s reelection (link to thread)
There was a conspiracy afoot in 2005 as a user known as MD4Bush attacking a former Gov. Robert Ehrlich aide named Joe Steffen to try to make him spread rumors about the personal life of Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley. (He was saying that O’Malley cheated on his wife.) Joe Steffen was posting on FreeRepublic.com himself and resigned after he was found out posting some of the personal details. MD4Bush attempted to get him to publish more details about various politicians, including then Senator Barack Obama.
MD4Bush was eventually revealed to be Maryland Democratic Party official Ryan O’Doherty! And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those blasted kids! Actually, I am not sure what happened at the end, but something did. A bit more here.
April 07, 2005 was the March for Justice II. The purpose of the rally was to force up or down votes of all of Bush’s nominees (funny, I don’t see FreeRepublic marching now for all of Obama’s nominees to get votes…) and to march against the talking point of judicial activism. Announcement thread and after-action report thread.
More conspiracies found as Freeper Sinkspur was found to have been impersonating a Catholic deacon for seven years on the site. That’s some trolling dedication!
2005 immigration purge: JimRob is accused of purging members who don’t support Bush’s guest worker program or more illegal immigration control. JimRob responds that the purging was against vigilantes, the minutemen, and Stormfront posters.
More conspiracy theories about the purging here, including a nice quote from Sean Hannity about FR:
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.”
Another ex-Freeper wrote an article complaining about the immigration purging, but it turns out he was banned way back in 2001 for posting a bunch of neo-confederate links. His statement is entitled REIGN OF TERROR: FREE REPUBLIC & REVOLUTIONARY FRANCE
2005 was the summer where Cindy Sheehan first went down to Bush’s Crawford Ranch to camp outside it and demand Bush meet her in regards to the Iraq war and her son that died in it. It started out with great PR as who would attack the mother of a dead US soldier? Well, plenty of people, but Sheehan also let the event spiral out of control as soon every left-wing loony was heading to Texas for the carnival outside Bush’s ranch. Freepers quickly rushed to join the bandwagon with their own caravan or crazy, dubbed Move America Forward’s “You Don’t Speak For Me, Cindy!” Caravan. The announcement thread and JimRob’s report
By November 2005, apparently FreeRepublic.com was demoralized enough someone was writing vanity posts about it. Will FreeRepublic every find their rainbow?
FreeRepublic stopped the weekly Walter Reed Medical Center protests from Code Pink by gobbling up permits for all nearby street corners, forcing the protest to be half a block down the street.
Bush’s expansion of warrantless wiretapping is met with welcome praise by Freepers, while during the Clinton administration these same Freepers were running scared (and are once again running scared now that Obama is in charge!)
Members were still whining about the immigration issue and complaining on other sites through 2006. This fine example misspells Reagan’s last name at points.
Freeper marccostanzo was arrested for sending letters with white power to people:
A California man suspected of mailing threatening letters containing a suspicious white powder to celebrities and U.S. politicians has been arrested and could face federal charges on Monday, the FBI said.
Investigators identified Chad Castagana, 39, of Woodland Hills, California, as the person suspected of sending more than a dozen threatening letters to media outlets and the homes of public figures in various cities, the FBI said in a statement on Sunday evening.
According to a federal search warrant, among those who received threatening letters were Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show;” talk show host David Letterman; Keith Olbermann of MSNBC; Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, who is set to become Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, both Democrats.
SadlyNo has a LOT more on this. marccostanzo‘s account has since been deleted.
FreeRepublic posters publish a lexicon of terms every year or so, here is the 2006 version. Samples:
Arkancide = Mysterious death that somehow manages to happen to former friends of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Usually ruled a “suicide” by the “controlling legal authorities” that happen to be conducting the investigation. Usually the body is found with all the fixin’s; suicide note (in two or more handwriting styles), unregistered handgun (sometimes in a different caliber than the one the “suicide” was accomplished using), and “air-tight” alibis passed around like free popcorn.
Barf Alert = hold onto your lunch, you ain’t gonna like this. Usually included in a thread title if the article which follows is nauseatingly biased or transparently manipulative.
EAGLES UP!! A classic freeper battle cry–it has a certain connection with Trixie for helping to popularize it. Probably originating with the picture of an eagle that was on the front page of Freerepublic
Also may be inpired by the following Bible verse:
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31
Hillary Clinton - The Queen of Darkness, Hillary Rotten Clinton, Hitlery, Her Royal Lowness, Hag-dad Hillary, Her Royal Thighness, Chappaqua Rose, Lady in Pink, Machiavellian Mama, Hildebeast (Hildabeast), Wide Load, Rodham Hussein, Fat Bottomed Girl, Hillarywho, The Red Marxist Queen of the Universe, Pantload Satan’s Daughter, UtterFailure, Hillarrhea, HielHitlery, Hilla the Hun, The Lady MacBeth of Little Rock, Mrs. Bent One, Shrillery Antoinette, Ms. Clintigula, Madame Hamhocks, Cankles, She Who Must Not Be Named, Her Crusty Pantsuitness
Pic Rule – Unofficial, but strictly enforced rule that pictures of unpleasant liberal women must be accompanied by pictures of beautiful women; if beautiful women are mentioned a picture must follow (and inevitably controlled by Helen Thomas). Specific rules follow:
1. If your post mentions Ann Coulter, you must post a pic of her.
2. Female equivalent to the Ann Coulter rule. The Bibi (Netanyahu) and Bill Sammon’s rule. Followed by the word THUD in bold. “Thud” refers to the sound made by Freepettes when they hit the floor after swooning over various males of the species.
3. Maureen Dowd (MoDo) is accompanied by Catherine Zeta Jones (because actor Michael Douglas dumped her for Zeta Jones).
4. Posting of Catherine Zeta Jones are usually followed by a post of a Maureen Dowd pic
5. If your post mentions Michael Douglas, you must post a pic of Catherine Zeta Jones.
6. If your post mentions Ann Coulter, you must post a pic of her.
7. Helen Thomas – Whenever any of Rules #1 – #7 are invoked, it will sooner or later become obligatory to post a pic of Helen Thomas. I think this was instituted as the FR equivalent of spiking the thread with saltpeter…
8. If Helen Thomas is mentioned, a picture will be posted. Groans usually follow. See also Helen Thomas in Freeper Pictures/Images.
Unconfirmed polls indicate that rule 7 (followed by rule 8) is the most hated rule by male Freepers. (thanks NonLinear and dinasour)
Zot - Origninated by Coop: There are one or two individuals who, for whatever reason, enjoy signing up new accounts here every single day to post leftist drivel. Sometimes they are vanities from DemocraticUnderground. Sometimes they are articles from other far-left sources. Sometimes they are nothing but vile doctored images or profanity laced tirades. Sometimes they are from legitimate sources but happen to strike the eye of the poster as being something that would infuriate conservatives.
The posters in question always post the articles, and then don’t reply. They then post other articles, again not replying. This was going on for months. Jim would confirm by looking at the IP addresses and other aspects of the user’s ‘footprint’ that it was the returning troll, and we would nuke the accounts. This went on for months.
Then some of the opportunists who wanted to harm the forum started a whispering campaign, complaining about articles being deleted. They would play off of the fact that the trolls’ articles were being pulled to complain that there was some sort of agenda of squelching legitimate conservative postings going on by the moderators.
One day I decided to try something new. I decided, instead of letting the trolls get what they want and have their posts up as flame bait, and instead of pulling the threads outright, I would move their post aside and replace it with something that hopefully others would find humorous. I would do this out in the forum for all to see. The original piece would be available through the history link for the curious, who could see if there was some sort of censorship campaign going on. And the freepers could have fun mocking the troll if they so liked.
It so happens that the way I did it the first time was using a screen shot from Caddyshack, where the pastor gets hit by a lightning bolt. Being a bit of a fan of the comic strip “B.C.” I captioned the photo with the lightning bolt sound that Johnny Hart used in his strip- ZOT! That is where the term Zot originated.
Now, sometimes we “zot”, and sometimes we simply pull it. It depends on a number of factors, including how busy we are at the time. But whenever you see a Zot, you can be sure that the user was a ‘newbie’ who was doing their hit-and-run posting, and that if you as a well-established freeper thought the article would have made an interesting discussion, then you could probably post the same piece yourself without incident (although the most vile of the stuff probably would get pulled, and Jim reserves the right to remove anyone who he feels is constantly trying to push leftist propaganda on the forum). Anyway, that is the history and background behind zotting.
FreeRepublic made it into this article from TheGlobeAndMail for remarks about the Dixie Chicks in response to a documentary about their harassment for making disparaging remarks about President Bush. Jim Robinson was requested to interview for the film, but he declined and the band’s manager called him a coward.
Pre-election troops rallying
And after the Democrats make huge gains…
Post-election worries about America turning into the Killing Fields.
Heading towards 2007, it was obvious that John McCain was going to run for president in 2008, and he began beefing up his PACs with hires. One such hire was Patrick Hynes, who posted on FreeRepublic.com as Kerry Crusher. Media Matters has a great article about what Kerry Crusher did, so I’m just going to link and copy the relevant parts:
In 2004, a poster on the conservative website FreeRepublic.com using the pseudonym “Kerry Crusher” — identified on FreeRepublic.com as blogger Patrick Hynes — characterized Chelsea Clinton as “hideously ugly.” The comment recalled a “joke” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reportedly told about Clinton in 1998: “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.” Hynes was hired by McCain’s Straight Talk America political action committee in 2006. In addition to the Chelsea Clinton smear, “Kerry Crusher” also attacked McCain himself in 2004 as “a contemptable [sic] human being.”
Hynes, a blogger for the conservative AnkleBitingPundits.com, has been identified multiple times on FreeRepublic.com as “Kerry Crusher” and apparently posted several messages on the site under that name. According to a December 28, 2004, FreeRepublic.com entry: “Patrick Hynes, a freeper whose screen name is Kerry Crusher is scheduled to appear on Hannity and Colmes tonight.”
From a June 20, 2005, FreeRepublic.com entry:
Pat’s freeper screen name is Kerry Crusher. He is on leave from his job as a campaign consultant from a national GOP campaign firm, and is currently in charge of media and message development for the CATO Institute’s Social Security Project.
He is also the proprietor of AnkleBitingPundits.com.
A review of “Kerry Crusher’s” posts on FreeRepublic.com revealed that “Kerry Crusher”, in response to another poster’s June 21, 2004, suggestion that Chelsea Clinton had undergone plastic surgery, wrote: “Yep. She’s been Nip n’ Tucked. Just like Kerry and his girlfriend Alex. And she’s still hideously ugly!” On June 1, 2004, “Kerry Crusher” wrote of McCain: “John McCain is a contemptable [sic] human being. He makes my stomach churn and my bowels clench.”
But forget that, it’s time for another purge! The 2007 Giuliani Purge! The purge was strong enough it made the papers. This post by JimRob has some of the reasonings for why he hates Rudy Giuliani – because he’s evil! Evil due to abortion. And also Waco has something to due with it. More Giuliani arguments can be found in this representative thread.
2007 continued to get nasty on FR. Hateful comments sprung up everywhere, here are a few I pulled off a site that collected hateful Freep comments in 2007:
I don’t think she’s trying to be a man .. hell she is a man and she got a pecker this big so don’t mess with her…
18 posted on 07/19/2007 8:24:21 AM PDT by tomnbeverly (Conservatives that use emotion to hype issues without relying on facts are just as bad as Liberals .)
Even bubba can’t deny the SHE-serpent is a lesbian! Key word here is I don’t “think”! That speaks volumes!
37 posted on 07/19/2007 8:45:39 AM PDT by RoseofTexas
Maybe we should just kill them all, and line the roadsides with their heads on pikes with various swine parts. That may turn back those who have yet to try anything.
Time to get midevil on these animals!
13 posted on 06/22/2006 8:25:53 PM PDT by KoRn
Kill them all.
In much agony.
All of them.
Record their screams.
Play them 24/7 on all frequencies of Iraqi radio.
45 posted on 09/21/2004 9:07:35 AM PDT by Skooz (Prove I’m NOT Queen of the Space Unicorns………)
The hateful comments become such a problem that even Bill O’Reilly brings them up. This was less than a week after O’Reilly claimed he never heard of FR and visits there for the first time on his radio show and declares the site not out of hand.
On March 14, 2008, Congressman John Carter teamed up with Free Republic and Gathering of Eagles guy Kristinn Taylor to attack an investigation of the Afghan and Iraq War called the Winter Soldier hearings. This was coordinated with Move America Forward.
After the aforementioned Giuliani purge, FR reluctantly had to get behind John McCain.
But as we all know, history was not with FR this election year…
2008 election reactions:
THE MCCAIN-PALIN LANDSLIDE
Daughter of slave votes for Obama
Obama wins Ohio – it’s over
I can’t believe the people of this great country are this stupid
I hope the networks all have to eat their words
Obama will not be my president
List compiled by Ytadel and posted at Barely Human
2009 – FR in the Obama Era:
FR wasn’t going to let this Marxist Communist Socialist Nazi be president without declaring Revolutions every week or so, and for a while Jim Robinson himself was riding a wave of hysteria where he would post new long rants every week or two to rally the troops to have millions march on Washington. This ended up going nowhere, but was a fun ride while it lasted seeing if he could one-up himself each time.
Rosanna Pulido was the Republican candidate in a special election for who ran for Rahm Emanuel’s old Congressional seat (IL-5) in April. The terrible secret of Pulido was that she posted as chicagolady on the FR forums. Actually, it wasn’t much of a secret as she was openly admiting it. What was going on is no one seemed to bother to do any research as to what she said on FR. Then, finally, the goons at SomethingAwful (including yours truly) did some detective work and found all sorts of fun racist comments! Darn those muslims and illegal immigrants for making her hate them! Blogs went up, we reported about it, and finally, Chicago area newspapers picked up the story (and even mentioned us!) and the news went national. Now, Pulido was probably going to lose regardless, but we like to think we ensured her defeat. She briefly returned in 2010 but was quickly defeated.
FreeRepublic crazy continues to influence actual lawmakers who should know better by now. The biggest example is the Czar list – Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) had written a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, about “the 44 appointed ‘czars’ of the Obama Administration”
McClearly provided me with two sources that McHenry’s office is using to build a czar list: this list from Politico, and this thread from the conservative web forum FreeRepublic.com. The FreeRepublic thread begins with a list from the conservative AmericanDaughter.com, which calls the appointment of czars “the beginnings of dictatorship” and includes several administration officials who’ve actually been confirmed by the Senate.
By March 2009, FR had another watch site, The F.R.A.M. Report – FRAM is the Free Republic Anti-Mormon Report. Basically a blog dedicated to anti-Mormon stuff on FR.
But while JimRob was off on another bus tour, his posters were busy trying to post the most racist crap they could get away with without actually using the n-word. The assault on decency even spread to attacking Obama’s young daughters. This was enough to make the mainstream media actually pay attention to the hateful rhetoric from the right for about three seconds before they went back to giving the teabaggers far too much press for its size. FR’s Kristinn Taylor had to take time off of his busy schedule of being awful to go on TV and be awful. The even was blamed on a few isolated posters who were new and were banned. Except most of the posters were old poster and are still around. mojitojoe has become well known for posting lots of this garbage.
We collected some of the posts here and here.
JimRob is named the Worst Person in the World by Keith Olbermann and goes nuts:
I’ll tell you what. The dozen or so insults made by about a half-dozen anonymous members of the general public on an Internet forum were disgraceful. So we pulled them.
But they’re really a disgrace to insults in general and to the professional race-baiters of our main stream media that hurl them on a daily basis.
Our guys don’t hold a candle to the professionals that have spent the last ten years or so pummeling the Bush and Cheney families with thousands of insults every damned day in every newspaper, magazine and TV network broadcasting to the public. Even the movies. Even in the halls of congress, in school rooms, in our churches.
“Dressed like someone from the ghetto” can’t possibly be a “racist” insult unless you’re assuming all black people and only black people come from ghettos. If you are making that assumption and are personally insulted by such comment, then look around. You may be a racist.
No YOU are the Real Racists, Liberals!
James Von Brunn was a white supremacist, crazed writer, and gun enthusiast who decided one day it would be fun to shoot up the Holocaust Museum. Security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns was killed, and Von Brunn later died from injuries sustained during his attack. Von Brunn’s Birther writings had made it to FR reposted by wannabegeek. FR quickly deleted Von Brunn’s writings and tried to recast him as a Christian-Hating Socialist despite the fact many Freepers supported his Birther article.
Major Stefan F. Cook was a Birther solider who refused to be deployed to Iraq because he claimed that Barack Obama wasn’t a US citizen and thus not the legitimate president. He is also FreeRepublic member roaddog727. Well, Major Cook then got fired from his civilian contracting job because he lost his security clearance over this mess. Then his lawsuit for proof of Obama’s citizenship was tossed. His eventual attempt to sue his way back to his job also got tossed.
2010 is best known for being the year FreeRepublic got sued again. Unlike their previous lawsuit, which may have had some basis, this one is entirely a crock of garbage perpetrated by content troll lawyers (similar to patent trolls, who snatch up patents, do nothing with them, and then sue anyone who comes out with anything that looks remotely similar) who seem to be going after one of the few revenue streams the paper they are suing on behalf of (Las Vegas Review-Journal) has left. A Wired article on the attorney is not very flattering. Yes, we support FreeRepublic on this issue.
FreeRepublic posters, on the other hand, see conspiracy in everything and thus Harry Reid must be behind this!
Don’t see how this can happen, with the technology we have in place. Looks like Messr. Reid is attempting a shutdown of his critics.
1 posted on July 20, 2010 11:52:32 AM PDT by Lazamataz
The 2010 elections are coming up, so expect lots of fun! FreeRepublic.com will continue to be entertaining for all the wrong reasons for years to come.
Here are all of the known purges grouped together for easy access!
- a purge in early 1999 now preposterously called the “Night Of The Long Knives.” – Libertarians and paleocons got wacked off of FR.
- The next purge took out many George W. Bush supporters during JimRob’s CIA drug running conspiracy phase – Sweetness & Light – I was told to leave and to take my “blood-sucking party” [meaning the GOP] with me.
- 2000 Election purge – But in the eleventh hour before the 2000 elections Robinson suddenly experienced another epiphany. He announced his undying commitment to electing George W. Bush. And anyone who spoke out against Bush now faced banishment. Robinson then went on to ban quite a few former comrades who had not gotten the memo and who had blithely continued to oppose Bush’s candidacy.
And, apart from some of the obsessive compulsive Crevo/Evo crowd and some of the more inflammatory participants in the Terry Schiavo debates, there haven’t been any large scale purges to speak of — until now. And once again, his latest volta-face seems to have come out of nowhere.(he is talking about the 2007 Giuliani purges at the end there)
- 2002 infighting – purges happened in 2002 over something. So, yeah, read a thread about it.
- 2005 Immigration Purge – There was a huge mess and banning sin 2005 involving fights over immigration. Read info form both sides here and here.
- 2007 Giuliani purge – in 2007, supporters of Rudy Giuliani for president were eliminated due to Giuliani being a RINO, aka not a crazy anti-abortionist.
- 2010 Anti-Palin purge - Those who did not kneel before the altar of Sarah Palin were quickly dealt with, even if you’ve been posting at FR for 13 years and have helped in innumerable events. Sorry, suckers.
Famous FreeRepublic.com Posters:
Major Stefan F. Cook (roaddog727) – Cook was a Birther solider who refused to be deployed to Iraq because he claimed that Barack Obama wasn’t a US citizen and thus not the legitimate president. Hello national news story! Well, Major Cook then got fired from his civilian contracting job because he lost his security clearance over this mess. Then his lawsuit for proof of Obama’s citizenship was tossed. His eventual attempt to sue his way back to his job also got tossed.
Jerome Corsi (jrlc) – Swift Boat Vet and co-author of the book Unfit for Command, later became a huge proponent of the North American Union conspiracy theory, then became a gigantic Birther to the point where he was arrested in Kenya. On FR he described “Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles and Pope John Paul II as senile.” Info here and here.
White House correspondent Jeff Gannon (Jeff Gannon)
Talon editor in chief Bobby Eberle (Bobby Eberle)
Relevant info from Media Matters (a great article about what Talon News was, btw, before the other part of the scandal broke)
Eberle and Gannon both post on the right-wing online forum Free Republic, and Gannon has also hosted a radio show on Radio Free Republic. Eberle’s and Gannon’s posts on Free Republic suggest that the two have more in common with partisan political activists than with journalists; in some, Eberle and Gannon seem to be trying to organize political events:
Eberle: “We’re also planning to do more activities with FR [Free Republic] as time goes along. I’m really looking forward to working with all of you!”
Gannon (referring to a Bush press conference): “It was very difficult to keep from jumping up and cheering.”
Gannon: “Can we get a freep [an action by Free Republic members] going at Kerry HQ? How bout some people throwing their DNC ‘medals’? Jane’s Fonda Kerry. John Fonda Kerry”
Gannon (in response to a post suggesting it appeared McClellan “appreciated” a Gannon question “from the smirk he was trying to hold back”): “It’s hard to say with Scott but he usually knows what he’s going to get from me.”
Lucianne Goldberg worked with FR a lot in the early years and it is possible she had an account, though I am not certain.
Patrick Hynes, hired by McCain who posted on FreeRepublic.com as Kerry Crusher. Media Matters article
BobJ - Bob Johnson was one of the old guard at FR, and was invovled in all sorts of FR programs from 1997 on. Via his own bio, he joined Free Republic shortly after it’s debut , my registration is #39. Helped organize the first FR Chapter in Los Angeles and the first three large FReeper rallies in DC; the March for Justice, Judgement Day Rally and House Managers Rally. Organized and supervised the Forum Advisory Board until it was destroyed by the FOC in 2002. Set up and is the Executive Producer of Radio FreeRepublic. Incorporated the Free Republic Network in 2002 and presently I sit on it’s Board of Directors. He also helped pay off debt incurred from the March for Justice event until he was paid back months later. But all that wasn’t enough to protect him from the purge of Sarah Palin deniers. BobJ would continue to return/be banned off an on several times through 2010 but is currently banned. One of the posts causing his banning.
Harry W. MacDougald (Buckhead) – The Freeper who set off Rathergate wasn’t your average guy in the basement. Buckhead was Harry W. MacDougald, an Atlanta attorney who had helped draft the 1998 petition to the Arkansas Supreme Court for the disbarment of President Bill Clinton and was employed by conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Southeastern Legal Foundation (where he served on the legal-advisory board.)
Robert Stacy McCain – used the handle BurkeCalhounDabney
McCain asserted that the civil rights movement inspired “black criminality” by encouraging people to get arrested at demonstrations. “I am disturbed … by [Jesse] Jackson’s idea that ‘breaking white folks’ rules’ was somehow inherently just,” McCain wrote. “If rules were to be broken merely because they were the work of white folks, then hasn’t Jackson gone a long way toward explaining the explosion of black criminality that began in the 1960s?”
Signiorile, who was alerted by a reader to McCain’s postings, told the Intelligence Report he was “amazed” by what he found. In one posting, McCain suggested that Harvard University President Lawrence Summers be “persecuted and run out of town” for supporting gay rights.
In another, McCain gave his take on interracial relationships: “[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion,” McCain wrote. “The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sister-in-law, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.”
Shortly after Signiorile’s story appeared, and McCain’s extremist views began to circulate around journalistic and political circles, every posting by BurkeCalhounDabney was deleted from FreeRepublic.com.
Connie Hair, a former Paramount Studios secretary and bit-role actress (“Death Wish 5″) who found her political legs online at Free Republic.
Hair was soon anointed Freep’s director of media relations and event planning. Her critics say she encouraged Robinson’s desire to turn Free Republic from a mere Web site into a political organization.
“She turned it into a power position,” said Giles. Expanding from Free Republic, Hair became a paid consultant to conservative Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes as well as Larry Klayman, the Washington activist whose Judicial Watch has peppered the White House and its supporters with lawsuits.
Rosana Pulido (chicagolady ) – (repeated from above) Rosanna Pulido was the Republican candidate in a special election for who ran for Rahm Emanuel’s old Congressional seat (IL-5) in April. The terrible secret of Pulido was that she posted as chicagolady on the FR forums. Actually, it wasn’t much of a secret as she was openly admiting it. What was going on is no one seemed to bother to do any research as to what she said on FR. Then, finally, the goons at SomethingAwful (including yours truly) did some detective work and found all sorts of fun racist comments! Darn those muslims and illegal immigrants for making her hate them! Blogs went up, we reported about it, and finally, Chicago area newspapers picked up the story (and even mentioned us!) and the news went national. Now, Pulido was probably going to lose regardless, but we like to think we ensured her defeat. She briefly returned in 2010 but was quickly defeated.
Tony Snow (Tony Snow)- the former journalist and Bush White House Press Secretary posted on FR, archived here. All of his posts were deleted when he was hired by the White House. Tony Snow has since passed on.
Kristinn Taylor coordinates and serves as a press contact for the pro-war lobby group Gathering of Eagles and is leading the delegation of Gold Star Family members for Move America Forward. He also goes on TV to defnd FR from time to time, including when FR was posting lots of racist stuff about Malia Obama. He lied and said it was just a few bad apples who were new and they were banned. It wasn’t just a few, it was lots of posters, many old posters, and many are still around.
Jack Thompson (Jackpeace) crazy video game lawyer Jack Thompson was considered too crazy for FR. Chew on that for a bit. Got banned away in 2000.
If we missed anything major, feel free to add it to the comments below!
Good Resources/watch sites:
The Rascal Revolution: A History of FreeRepublic.com
The F.R.A.M. Report active 2009-2010
Best of FreeRepublic – active 2003-2004
FreeRepublicWatch - active 2009
Want to thank the LF crew for helping keep tabs on FR over the years, too many people too numerous to mention, as I’d probably forget lots of important people if I tried.