Just yesterday we were talking about censorship taking place on the major social media platforms, how section 230 might relate to that and what, if anything, could be done about it. The conversation primarily focused on Twitter and Facebook, with their persistent habits of imposing a blackout on unpopular news under the guise of “fact-checking” and canceling the accounts of people offering insufficiently woke opinions. But they aren’t the only players getting in on this game. Alex Berenson has had some experience with this sort of suppression and he’s been on the receiving end of such actions at the hands of Amazon. In an opinion piece at the Wall Street Journal, Berenson describes his experiences and relates how this is a detriment to public discourse and democracy. (Subscription required)
Information has never been more plentiful or easier to distribute. Yet we are sliding into a new age of censorship and suppression, encouraged by technology giants and traditional media companies. As someone who’s been falsely characterized as a coronavirus “denier,” I have seen this crisis firsthand.
Since June, Amazon has twice tried to suppress self-published booklets I have written about Covid-19 and the response to it. These booklets don’t contain conspiracy theories. Like the scientists who wrote the Great Barrington Declaration, I simply believe many measures to control the coronavirus have been damaging, counterproductive and unsupported by science.
Amazon has said earlier that “as a bookseller, we believe that providing access to the written word is important, including books that some may find objectionable.” The company sells “Mein Kampf” and “The Anarchist’s Cookbook.” But when it comes to Covid, Amazon has a different standard. At least half a dozen other authors have emailed me that their books have been pulled. Amazon won’t disclose how many, or other details about how it picks books to censor.
Barenson’s self-published booklets on the pandemic and the government’s response to it have been yanked from the virtual shelves. The same has happened to numerous other authors who don’t toe the government/liberal line on these purely academic and scientific questions. Their offerings either disappear entirely or come with blaring warnings about inaccuracies and inauthenticity.