PRESS RELEASE: Amazon Now Banning Books Based on Political Content
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2019
Amazon has long prided itself on a broad policy of not censoring books — until now.
In the last several days, it has banned print and Kindle editions of four books either written or edited by race relations expert Jared Taylor. On February 24, Amazon banned his book, White Identity, a scholarly analysis that argues whites are beginning to practice identity politics in response to forceful racial demands by blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.
White Identity had 134 customer reviews and an average rating of 4.6 stars. Amazon had sold the book since 2011.
In all cases, Amazon claimed that the books’ “subject matter” was “in violation of our content guidelines,” but did not explain why. There is no appeals process.
On the same day it banned White Identity, Amazon also banned The White Nationalist Manifesto by Greg Johnson.
As recently as 2010, Amazon had an unambiguous free-speech policy: “Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.” Now, Amazon is deciding which political views are acceptable and which are not.
It continues to sell the bomb-making manual known as The Anarchist’s Cookbook, the Unabomber’s Manifesto, and justifications of terrorism by Al-Qaida, Osama Bin Laden, and Hezbollah. It also sells black nationalist manifestos by Elijah Muhammad, Marcus Garvey, and Louis Farrakhan.
Some Americans find these books offensive, but their continued sale is in Amazon’s tradition of promoting free speech. Free speech — the bedrock of our democracy — means we must be free to say and write things others may find offensive. Amazon’s book-banning should be deeply disturbing to anyone who cares about the vibrant political debate essential to our form of government.
Amazon has a near-monopoly on electronic books, and is the only effective way small publishers can reach the public. It has now instituted a pattern of book banning.
Bans on Jared Taylor are a leading indicator of tech censorship. His Twitter account was one of the first to be banned for clearly political reasons, and since then far less controversial users have lost their accounts. Amazon’s ban of Taylor’s books may be just the first step; less controversial authors are likely to be banned.
Jared Taylor’s lawsuit against Twitter’s censorship is awaiting a decision in California Superior Court.
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