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Purifying Publishing-The cultural commissars come for conservative books
Frontpagemagazine ^ | Jul 8, 2020 | Bruce Bawer

Posted on 07/08/2020 5:45:46 AM PDT by SJackson

Of America’s most powerful and prominent cultural institutions, it’s quick work naming those that aren’t entirely left-wing satrapies. TV? Fox News, although things are looking less and less encouraging there. Colleges? Hillsdale, I guess, though how many Ivy League faculty members would ever admit to having heard of it? Newspapers? The New York Post (sometimes), Wall Street Journal (kind of), and perhaps one or two others from sea to shining sea. Silicon Valley? Nothing. Hollywood? ¡Nada! Big business? Hmm: what is there, nowadays, honestly, other than that My Pillow guy?

One field in which there’s at least a soupçon of ideological diversity is the book trade. Yes, staffers at the major publishing houses are overwhelmingly on the left. Ditto bookstore employees. Plus the people who give out the major book awards. Not to mention that the heftiest advances for political books go to Democrats. Since the turn of the century, the biggest nonfiction book deal, amounting to at least $65 million, was for Michelle Obama’s Becoming (2018) and for an as-yet-unpublished opus by Barack; second – raking in $15 million – was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004); third – at $14 million – was Hillary’s Hard Choices (2014).

One more thing about the reflexive leftism of the book scene. Thanks to today’s lethal cancel culture, even classics are at risk. Recently, in an article for the School Library Journal headlined “Little House, Big Problem: What To Do with ‘Classic’ Books That Are Also Racist,” Marva Hinton identified both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird as racist. No, she didn’t just say that they contained racist language, which would have been fair enough; she asserted that these two books – both of them key texts in the history of the American struggle against racism – are in fact racist.

Hinton quoted Julia E. Torres, a Denver school librarian, as saying that when she’s consulted by teachers who want to assign Harper Lee’s novel to their student, she often suggests replacing it with Samira Ahmed’s dystopic novel Internment, “about a teen sent to a U.S. internment camp for Muslim American people.” Alternatively, Torres “suggests they teach To Kill a Mockingbird using excerpts or through a critical consciousness lens, which would include lessons on white saviorism and the weaponization of white women’s tears.” Check, please!

I’m not familiar with the novel Internment – just out in paperback from Little, Brown – but it’s part of a full-court press by the book business to normalize Islam and demonize “Islamophobia.” Also in on this effort are the major pre-pub reviewing outlets, all of which gave Internment starred reviews that were short on praise for aesthetic values and long on PC drivel. (*Taking on Islamophobia and racism in a Trump-like America…” – Kirkus.  “[A] very real, very frank picture of hatred and ignorance….” – Booklist. “An unsettling and important book for our times.” – Publishers Weekly.)

In 2006 I published a highly critical book about Islam. Even then, it was savaged by bien pensant book-world types. But criticizing Islam has become so verboten on the left that I doubt any major publisher today would touch a book like While Europe Slept – even though the problems described therein have grown far, far worse.  

Meanwhile, to peruse the latest catalogues from those same publishers is to discover a blizzard of dreary-sounding new or forthcoming novels that, judging from the plot summaries, are drenched in identity politics. (Two quick examples from Knopf, perhaps the most respected of literary publishers: Burning by Megha Majumdar, about an Indian girl who’s falsely accused of terrorism and turns for help to a trans woman; My Mother’s House by Francesca Momplaisir, a novel that takes on “the legacy of colonialism” and “the abuse of male power.” Goody, beach reads!)

Amazon’s current list of top ten bestsellers includes several far-left books on racism: Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning, Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk about Race, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. You might think there’s a market for at least one book criticizing these authors’ views; but I’ve been assured by industry insiders that no major New York house would even consider publishing such a book. 

Even in book publishing, then, the left is way ahead. But this isn’t good enough for Alex Shephard, a young staff writer at the New Republic, who in a recent article maintained that the book industry is “overdue” for a major “reckoning.” Here’s his article’s subhead (italics mine):

The industry is facing demands to live up to its stated values. That might mean ditching writers like Donald Trump Jr.

And later there’s this (italics again mine):

…these publishing houses are, like many corporations in the country, being asked by their employees and customers to live up to a set of values. And that would seem to be impossible while also publishing the likes of Tucker Carlson…

What does Shephard mean by “stated values”? Simple: left-wing ideological purity. In his view, conservative books are, with exceedingly few exceptions, “valueless.” (Shephard implies that “quality control” alone would eliminate most conservative titles.) Also by definition, they’re awash in “factual inaccuracies.” Because of course you can’t possibly mount a convincing non-leftist argument for anything without radically distorting the truth. (As Shephard puts it: “being forced to tell the truth is not an existential issue for most of publishing; it is for conservative imprints.”)

Hence, if book publishers began to be serious about fact-checking, it would, argues Shephard, “make it impossible to publish a great many conservative books.” Indeed, even the “more ‘respectable’ side of conservative publishing,” as represented for Shephard by Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 bestseller Liberal Fascism (note, however, those scare quotes around the word respectable), would be challenged by a responsible fact-checking apparatus.

According to Shephard, another attribute of many conservative books is that their authors aren’t serious. He quotes Kimberly Burns, a book publicist: “I’m OK with books being published from different political viewpoints – in fact, it’s necessary for debate and being able to see a whole picture….The problem is when authors write things only to get themselves attention or to make news, instead of to enhance a dialogue….” Apparently this isn’t a problem with left-wing books.

Bottom line: Shephard really likes censorship of his ideological opponents. And he really admires his fellow “woke” types who put pressure on publishers to cancel books. He notes with obvious satisfaction that Henry Holt, the publishing house, “drew fire for its decision to continue publishing Bill O’Reilly after multiple accusations of sexual harassment were made against him.” (There’s no indication that Shephard believes multiple accusations of sexual harassment should affect Bill Clinton’s publishing career.)

Shephard approvingly mentions Simon & Schuster’s 2016 decision to drop the book Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he identifies as “a troll known for shallow publicity stunts.” And he tells us that he’s spoken to employees at another publishing house, Hachette, who “expressed discomfort about the company’s conservative imprint, Center Street, which publishes Donald Trump Jr., among others.”

Boy, I’ll bet they did. Since Shephard’s article appeared, Hachette staffers – largely lower-level Gen-Z brats – have said that they won’t work on J.K. Rowling’s forthcoming book because she’s criticized transgender ideology. Hachette is the same house that, in response to workers outraged over unproven quarter-century-old sex-abuse allegations, canceled Woody Allen’s about-to-be-published memoirs in March. Allen was never charged with any crime, let alone found guilty of one; years later he was permitted to adopt two children. Yet thanks to those junior Jacobins – every one of whom should’ve been fired – Allen was unceremoniously cut adrift.

And Shephard fully approves. He actually calls Allen a “pariah.” The ease with which this smug punk swats away the legendary writer-director is chilling. No matter what you may think of Allen or his films, the whole ugly spectacle is just too reminiscent of the way things worked under Stalin and Mao. And it’s all too representative, alas, of the atrocious attitudes of the rising generation of lockstep cancel-culture creeps who, like it or not, are well on their way to becoming our nation’s official cultural gatekeepers.

TOPICS: Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: 2020election; amazon; dnctalkingpoint; dnctalkingpoints; election2020; google; jeffbezos; mediawingofthednc; partisanmediashills; presstitutes; smearmachine; twitter

1 posted on 07/08/2020 5:45:46 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: SJackson
Wait until Amazon tells the SJW crowd at Google, FB, and Twitter, just which books you've bought over the last 10 years.....

You will be fired and banned from all commerce.

2 posted on 07/08/2020 6:15:04 AM PDT by G Larry (There is no merit in compromising with the Devil.)
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To: SJackson

I don’t understand how the Left has managed to take over EVERYTHING. Are we that outnumbered? Are conservatives mainly retired folks?

3 posted on 07/08/2020 6:28:18 AM PDT by KittyKares (Drain the Swamp)
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To: SJackson

was Bill Clinton’s My Life (2004)

German Title: Mein Kampf

4 posted on 07/08/2020 6:29:26 AM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now its your turn)
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To: G Larry
You will be fired and banned from all commerce.

Better than accepting the mark of the beast.

5 posted on 07/08/2020 6:56:48 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (They are openly stating that they intend to murder us. Prep if you want to live.)
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To: Sirius Lee

There is no Scriptural mention of being banned from accepting the mark of the beast.

6 posted on 07/08/2020 7:03:05 AM PDT by G Larry (There is no merit in compromising with the Devil.)
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To: SJackson

Very interesting article. A long read, but well worth it! Thanks for posting.

7 posted on 07/08/2020 7:04:18 AM PDT by MtnClimber (For photos of Colorado scenery and wildlife, click on my screen name for my FR home page.)
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To: G Larry
"There is no Scriptural mention of being banned from accepting the mark of the beast."

I think you meant from NOT accepting the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:17

8 posted on 07/08/2020 7:12:15 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (They are openly stating that they intend to murder us. Prep if you want to live.)
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To: SJackson

Ah, censorship. The ultimate goal of the fascist anti-fascists.

9 posted on 07/08/2020 7:24:34 AM PDT by Antoninus (The press has lost the ability to persuade. They retain the ability to foment a panic.)
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To: Sirius Lee
No, too many double negatives.

I meant what I said, you have free will whether to accept the mark or not.

But, there is no Scriptural reference suggesting you would be prohibited from accepting the mark.

10 posted on 07/08/2020 7:25:46 AM PDT by G Larry (There is no merit in compromising with the Devil.)
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To: SJackson
As someone who's in the book industry, I can tell you that everything this author writes is true and has been true for 30 years. The left was simply more sotto voce about it before. At the moment, they're feeling empowered, but as usual, they're over-confident. Things are actually better now for alternative voices than they have been. Why? Because there are many avenues for getting a book published today that didn't exist even 20 years ago. And even a marginally savvy small press can reach a big audience with effective social media marketing. Of course, you have to be careful *how* you do that.

But think about it -- those in control are dealing with Lernean Hydra problem. For every platform they attempt to censor, two more pop up in short order. They have lost control of the message and they know it. That's why they're being so heavy-handed now, and not even pretending to care about freedom of speech.
11 posted on 07/08/2020 7:32:34 AM PDT by Antoninus (The press has lost the ability to persuade. They retain the ability to foment a panic.)
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To: G Larry
You said: "You will be fired and banned from all commerce."

I said: "Better than accepting the mark of the beast."

I said nothing about being prohibited from accepting the mark. My very clear point was that it would be better to be banned commerce than to accept the mark of the beast. I then clearly pointed you directly to the Scripture on this very subject.

You replied with: ""There is no Scriptural mention of being banned from accepting the mark of the beast."

I'm so happy for you.

12 posted on 07/08/2020 7:49:30 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (They are openly stating that they intend to murder us. Prep if you want to live.)
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To: KittyKares

Liberals are the problematic squeaky wheel, conservatives are the other or rest of the wheels that keep moving on even though the squeaky wheel will most likely someday throw the entire operating system out of balance and into turmoil and disrepair. It appears it is about time to grease that squeaky wheel and put it back into alignment, so there continues to be a smooth ride for all.

13 posted on 07/08/2020 8:18:03 AM PDT by This I Wonder32460 (Stay Calm & MAGA On!)
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To: Antoninus

Everyday the liberals,progressives and dems show us they really do like embracing the Nazi view on everything

14 posted on 07/08/2020 9:44:20 AM PDT by Hambone 1934
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To: SJackson

The problem with leftist book publishes is an old one, going back until at least the 1950’s. Then it was the CPUSA front firm roughly named “Angus Cameron” and one other person’s name (if I remember correctly). It was a conduit for both communist and pro-communist writers and materials.

I don’t have my old files/articles on this, here’s a true story most have never heard though it was made public in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

Army Special Forces soldier/advisor James “Nick” Rowe was held captive by the Viet Cong for many years, thus the name of his book “Five Years to Freedom” (roughly 1963-68). He escaped while the other American prisoners either died of starvation/medical illnesses untreated, or were executed.

Nick signed with Little, Brown & Co, Boston, Mass, 1971 to publish and promote his book but he said they almost never promoted the book to bookstores and when they did, they slow-rolled it. Check out Little, Brown re other conservative books (I know that there are stories about them being lackadaisical about promoting conservative stories, some within the recent past).

Needless to say, Nick was a friend of mine. He was tragically assassinated by the Communist New Peoples Army (Maoists) while a military attache’ assigned to the Philippines.

The book “Unfit for Command” about the Swiftboat Veterans Against John Kerry (2004), never got any major newspaper review or when a lesser one did or just mentioned it, it was often to smear the 260 Vietnam veterans who participated in its composition (plus a couple of us Vietnam journalists/researcher who also worked on it).

All of this is one reason why smart conservatives/businessmen like Regnery (1947) and Tom Phillips (1970’s) started their own companies - (Richard Viguerie also had a publishing arm during the 70’s. I should remember since I worked on several of the books he published). Also there was the great Arlington House publishers of conservative books that remain building-block publications for conservatives and concerned Americans in general.

Leftist/communist infiltration of the publishing industry, as opposed to serious penetrations of major newspapers, was real and the effects of it linger on today.

Thank goodness for self-publishing and other independent publishers like St. Martin’s Press, who will help publish any book that looks worthwhile or interesting regardless of what political views it expresses. That is a tribute to the power of the First Amendment, one which is under severe attack even within the publishing world, esp. by newspapers whose devotion to the truth is “only the truth that they want to publish regardless whether it is true or not”.

15 posted on 07/08/2020 5:08:48 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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