Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Blacklists Are the Rage in Publishing

By Thomas Spence, Wall Street Journal

I am an independent book publisher, and in recent days I have been taking calls from journalists asking which authors I would refuse to publish. That’s an odd question to ask an American publisher, but suddenly it seems to be on everyone’s mind in our industry. Some 250 self-described “publishing professionals”—mostly junior employees of major houses—have issued a statement titled “No Book Deals for Traitors,” a category in which they include any “participant” in the Trump administration.

Readiness to silence someone because of who he is or whom he associates with is often called the “cancel culture,” but I prefer an older term—blacklisting—whose historical associations expose the ugliness of what is going on. Not so long ago, publishing professionals would have been horrified to be accused of it. Today they compete to see who can proclaim his blacklist with the fiercest invective.

On Jan. 6, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri invoked his legal right to object to Congress’s certification of electoral votes. Reasonable people can disagree whether his act was noble or cynical, courageous or rash, but no one can reasonably argue that he intended to incite that afternoon’s invasion of the Capitol by a lawless mob. He immediately and forcefully condemned the attack. But the next day Simon & Schuster canceled his forthcoming book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” citing the senator’s “role in what became a dangerous threat.”

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1 reply »

  1. Let’s remember the 1950 Hollywood blacklist, which liberals and Leftists have been complaining about for 70 years. Liberals’ and Leftists’ Principle : Private companies must deal with people that they dont want to do.

    Let’s remember the ‘gay cake’ controversy of the mid-2010’s: Liberals’ and Leftists’ Principle: Private businesses must deal withi people that they don’t want to do.

    In 2020, Liberals and Leftists suddenly ‘discovered’ that it’s perfectly okay for “private companies” (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc) to REFUSE to deal with anybody they want too not deal with.

    Old saying: “If liberals didn’t have double-standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all.”

    MY position?
    Given their size, and the government involvment (Section 230; government FAILURE to enforce anti-trust laws that would ordinarily seem to apply to such a large and controlling organization) it is very hard to accurately label Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram as being fully ‘private companies’ anymore.

    One solution, which of course is not perfectly ‘libertarian’, would be for the Federal Government to declare that if a sufficiently-large Social Media company (as a proportion of the total market) that knowingly uses the portion of the Internet in America, is obliged to be bound by the First Amendment.

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