… and mainstream publishing has already done much the same thing to the authors it publishes. Now Amazon has decided it can stop the sale of books that don’t fit its politically correct criteria. Can this be on the horizon for author-published books as well?
Well-known independent journalist Matt Taibbi analyzes the purge of non-PC news and journalists.
Where it gets weird is that the move to turn the bulk of the corporate press in the “moral clarity” era into a single party organ has come accompanied by purges of the politically unfit. In the seemingly endless parade of in-house investigations of journalists, paper after paper has borrowed from the Soviet style of printing judgments and self-denunciations, without explaining the actual crimes.
The New York Times coverage of the recent staff revolt at Teen Vogue against editor Alexi McCammond noted “Staff Members Condemn Editor’s Decade-Old, Racist Tweets,” but declined to actually publish the offending texts, so readers might judge for themselves. The Daily Beast expose on Times reporter Donald McNeil did much the same thing. Even the ongoing (and in my mind, ridiculous) moral panic over Substack ties in. Aimed at people already banished from mainstream media, the obvious message is that anyone with even mildly heterodox opinions shouldn’t be publishing anywhere.
Those still clinging to mainstream jobs in a business that continues to lay people off at an extraordinary rate read the gist of all of these stories clearly: if you want to keep picking up a check, you’d better talk the right talk.
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… a lot of people in the press … are searching out the safest places on the op-ed page, the middle of the newsroom middle, in desperate efforts to stay on the masthead. It’s been made clear that there’s no such thing as overdoing it in one direction, e.g. if you write as the Times did that Biden “has become a steady hand who chooses words with extraordinary restraint” (which even those who like and admire Biden must grasp is not remotely true of the legendary loose cannon). Meanwhile, how many open critics of the Party on the left, the right, or anywhere in between still have traditional media jobs?
All of this has created an atmosphere where even obvious observations that once would have interested blue-state voters, like that Biden’s pandemic relief bill “does not establish a single significant new social program,” can only be found in publications like the World Socialist Web Site. The bulk of the rest of the landscape has become homogenous and as predictably sycophantic as Fox in the “Mission Accomplished” years, maybe even worse. What is this all going to look like in four years?
The question is, how long will it take before such pressures are exerted on us as well? It’s not just our books: it’s our social media presence, our blogs, our daily round. There’s also the political angle. Remember how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS against its political opponents? Those who spoke out too loudly were suddenly being audited left, right and center, and finding the auditors strangely unsympathetic to defenses that had previously been allowable. Will we find the same thing again?
This is, of course, deeply poisonous to free speech, and to the foundations of a free society; but it appears to be the political correctness du jour in the USA. Is it affecting you at all? Let us know in Comments.