The Free Press readers recently learned about Amazon canceling conservative author Ryan Anderson’s book “When Harry Became Sally,” which explores the roots of the current transgender movement.
Now, some U.S. senators are getting involved.
On Wednesday, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, and Mike Braun of Indiana issued a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos seeking what Anderson cannot get: an explanation.
Anderson’s 2018 book, they wrote, “remains one of the most rigorously researched and compassionately argued books on this subject. Moreover, it “prompted important discussions in the national media and among policymakers in 2018.”
Yet, they added, “By removing this book from its marketplaces and services, Amazon has unabashedly wielded its outsized market share to silence an important voice merely for the crime of violating woke groupthink.”
“The internet is at its best when it is an open marketplace of ideas that brings people together to share, learn from one another, and engage in a range of commercial activities,” the senator note.
“In its decision to remove Mr. Anderson’s book from its platforms, Amazon has openly signaled to conservative Americans that their views are not welcome on its platforms. Amazon’s shortsighted censorship of this well-researched and thoughtful contribution to modern American discourse is not just a decision made in poor taste, but an assault on free speech that carries weighty implications for the future of open discourse in the digital age.”
The lawmakers then asked Bezos for a few answers, including whether his company coordinated with other technology companies and members of the Biden administration.
Among the things they want to know, the senators asked Bezos if Amazon discussed the book and whether it met its community standards.
They also seek to learn what Amazon’s “motivating factor” for removing the book was after selling it for three years. “Is this action part of a broader campaign against conservative material and voices on Amazon’s platforms?”
They also ask Bezos to identify what specific policy the book may have violated, to say whether Anderson or his publisher received advance warning of the book being yanked, and if the digital dustbin awaits for “countless websites related to religious, politically conservative, classically liberal, and other content” because they fall “outside the realm of acceptable woke groupthink.”
Yet as the senators were seeking answers from Bezos, the Beltway insider website JustTheNews.com reported that Amazon had “altered its content policy to explicitly forbid books that promote ‘hate speech,’ a major rule change that could be used to rationalize action against a broader range of books sold by the digital retail giant.”
JustTheNews.com pointed out that Amazon has now determined that it won’t sell “certain content including content that we determine is hate speech … or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.”
Just six months ago, Amazon’s book-content policy did not reference “hate speech.” Instead, it claimed that Amazon reserved the right “not to sell certain content, such as pornography or other inappropriate content.”
A link to guidelines on “other categories of products,” JustTheNews.com noted, stated that Amazon “does not allow products that promote, incite or glorify hatred.”
Yet that rule at the time “explicitly noted that the policy did not apply to books.”
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