Wednesday, March 14, 2012

LGF - A Look Back

As briefly mentioned in my "About Me" section of A View From the Ranch, my closest activity towards blogging was on 'LittleGreenFootballs'.  I found the blog in late 2002 / early 2003 and started in 2003 to contribute more frequently.

Back then, LGF, was focused on countering the 'idiotarians', (Daily Kos, Indymedia, Democratic Underground, etc), the 'barking moonbats' of the liberal blogosphere, in addition to highlighting the threat against Western Civilization being posed by radical fundamental Islam.  The site was a staunch defender of Israel - and the Israeli right to exist.  Many threads and comments addressed the linkage between the extreme progressive left and radical fundamental Islam.

It grew in size as more people joined - and not all were liked minded.  Some were trolls.  Some attempted to present cogent debates while others gamely tried to substitute opinion for facts.  But a community came from this that helped move the site forward to be one of the top sites in not only the conservative blogosphere - but in the overall blogosphere.

In June 2004, Charles Johnson, the man behind LGF, added a registration system.  Like many active commentators at the time, I became a member of the 'Class of 2004' - registered at 3:41pm on the first day that registration was required.  From that point until my decision to stop participating on LGF in early 2009, I made just over 9,000 comments and earned a positive 4,376 'Karma'.

Between June 2004 and Spring 2009 - I met / conversed online with many of the core of that community - and with those who were also developing their own blogs in the conservative blogosphere.

LGF leapt in stature during the 2004 Presidential campaign - and in particular around 'Rathergate' - exposing the 'fake, but accurate' smear memos aired by Dan Rather on 60 Minutes regarding George W. Bush's service with the Texas Air National Guard.  The 'throbbing memo' helped prove the documents were modern creations - not from a typewriter in 1972.

However, after this, there were some changes taking place on LGF.  There were some pretty large scale internal fights - with popular community members being banned from the site.  In 2008, LGF took a turn to the left - and the pace of bannings increased.  If someone challenged one of the positions favored by Charles, one was frequently banned.  The tactics also changed as the discussion moved from cogent debate.  'Groupthink' was favored - and contrary positions, regardless of how cogently argued, were 'dangerous'.

By the time Charles wrote his manifesto as to 'leaving the right' - the site was quite Orwellian.  A short time later, I was done with LGF.

I always looked at my time on LGF as being a guest in someone else's house.  To me that meant that rather than be exceptionally rude / disruptive to the host and other guests, the best course to take would be to no longer attend those gatherings at his online house.

But while I didn't visit that 'house' I was also aware of the discussion in other 'houses' I visited of LGF and Charles.  I saw the Orwellian Johnson Ministry of Truth rewrite history about posts / posters.  I looked at the 'Diary of Daedalus' which was a blog of former LGF'ers who were active exposing what Johnson was doing. 

As issues like Rachel Corrie and others got the Johnson Ministry of Truth treatment - and were highlighted by other bloggers - I would occasionally comment on those adding my first hand knowledge of how it originally was.  For some, this was enough to be banned from LGF if they hadn't already been banned, but through most of 2011 - my account remained unused and unblocked.

Recently, those behind 'Diary of Daedalus' took an excursion into the depths of the Johnson Ministry of Truth's adjustments to LGF.  They highlight their information and findings in this post...

One of the results of their excursion was not only a current list of those who were 'banned' from LGF - but also a very revealing look at the size and scope of the purge that took place on that 2004-7 community that made LGF what it was.  It was 'Stalinesque'.

Checking that list of the 'banned', I'm not sure I was surprised to see my 'nic' on the list.  It wasn't from anything I said there - since I wasn't there - but could be about some of my comments on various kerfuffle's involving Johnson and LGF which were counter his 'recollection'.  Given the direction that LGF has taken and the tactics we once ridiculed when done by others are now commonplace my response is a 'shrug'. 

What was once a community in every sense is now an Orwellian community right out of 1984.  It's a shadow of what it once was.  It is a site that is as its creator / owner wants it to be - which, in my opinion, is as viable and cogent as Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, or Indymedia..and it's reputation (and the facts) seems to match that fall from where it was in 2004-7.

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