These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 1996 by Jim and John Robinson, Free Republic is a moderated Internet forum and chat site for self-described conservatives. The website consists of news articles posted by members, followed by comments and discussion of the articles. According to their about page: “Free Republic is one of the earliest and largest online gathering places for independent, grass-roots conservatism on the web. We’re working to roll back decades of governmental largesse, to root out political fraud and corruption, and to champion causes which further conservatism in America.”
In 1998, several newspapers sued the Free Republic for allowing its users to repost the full text of copyrighted newspaper articles, asserting that this constituted copyright infringement. Free Republic claimed that they were not liable under the doctrine of fair use and the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. The federal courts ruled in favor of the newspapers in the case L.A. Times v. Free Republic. This case was important as it led to a clearer definition of Fair Use, which involves publishing a snippet or summary of an article, followed by a hyperlink.
Funded by / Ownership
The website/forum is owned by Jim Robinson and according to their about page funded “solely by donations from our readers and participants.”
Analysis / Bias
In review, as described above a user/member publishes a snippet or summary of a news article and then registered members comment on the article. Since Free Republic itself does not publish articles, the content varies widely. However, there are common themes such as frequent articles that are pro-life, pro-Trump, anti-climate change and anti-gay marriage. In other words, Free Republic’s audience holds conservative views as does the content of the articles, known as selection bias.
Free Republic’s users publish articles from a wide range of sources with some being on our questionable list for factual reporting, such as Breitbart, Gateway Pundit and even Rush Limbaugh who has a terrible record with fact checkers.
Overall, we rate Free Republic Right Biased based on open endorsement of conservatism and the topics of story selection. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to users occasionally publishing information from questionable sources. (D. Van Zandt 8/21/2018) Updated (11/9/2018)