No first amendment on Amazon.
Blacklists are back and Amazon’s got ’em: Yesterday my blacklist column noted how Amazon has blackballed the live stream of a film biography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
That however is not the only example of Amazon’s anti-free speech agenda and its desire to silence conservative thought. In recent months book authors and publishers have repeatedly discovered that Amazon has been either banning outright their books, or shadow-banning them from searches so that potential customers cannot find them.
The link gives about a number of examples, but a quick internet search finds numerous others (see for example here, here, and here).
Only rarely will Amazon admit to this censorship, and when it does, it does so by claiming vague rules about preventing “hate speech,” even though this giant online store has done nothing to remove books and products promoting Islamic terrorism, Nazi paraphernalia, and Antifa-supporting materials.
While normally it should be Amazon’s right, as a private book-seller and vendor, to carry and sell whatever it wants, its dominance in the publishing industry is so complete that it essentially holds a monopoly on book sales. If Amazon bans your book or film or documentary, it essentially bans you entirely. Few others will see it. It will get almost no distribution.
Our anti-trust laws were created expressly to prevent such monopolies. Amazon shouldn’t be destroyed, but things would be much better if it was broken up into a number of different companies. For example, as a book seller it really shouldn’t also be a publisher. The power it gains from controlling both is very unhealthy.
In fact, it was this exact issue that caused the courts in the late 1940s to break up the Hollywood studio system. At that time the movie companies that made films also owned the theaters they were shown in. Independent filmmakers had no venues to show their movies. The courts ruled that the studios could make films, but they must divest themselves of their theaters.
The same should be done to Amazon, as well as all internet publishers and book sellers. Do one, or do the other, but not both.
In the case of Amazon, it might also be wise to break up its sales division in some manner. It certainly is not good that it now seems to have a lock on the entire market share of book sales, nationwide.
Too bad our elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, appear unwilling or hostile to enforcing those anti-trust laws. The Democrats support Amazon’s blacklisting efforts, while too many Republicans have been bought off by the money they get from these big tech corporations. Nothing gets done, and big tech companies like Amazon continue to gain power so that they can increasingly stamp their boot on the people they do not like.
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