Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Entering The Book Publishing Censorship Twilight Zone

America is no longer a free-thinking nation. It is not the government that is clamping down on free speech, but rather big businesses. We have entered an Orwellian Twilight Zone that is getting harder and harder to detangle. Perhaps one day you or I will find ourselves branded as liars, deemed unprintable by powerful info-dictators, and maybe even sued or jailed.

Sure, you think it can’t happen, but why? Common sense, the law, or the media won’t necessarily come to your defense. The tide has been turning the last few years — for the worst.

Folks, we are living in an era where more information is more accessible than ever before, and yet we don’t know what is fact vs opinion, truth vs lie.

Thanks to outgoing President Donald Trump, even legit media sources are labeled as Fake News.

Further, thanks to Big Tech, free thinking can no longer be shared. A handful of companies and individuals are censoring the free flow of information and ideas.

Sadly, Big 5 book publishers now routinely cancel the few conservative books they contracted for as soon as a controversy arises.

The Wall Street Journal reported a rebel group of 250 publishing professionals at the big houses have signed onto a statement calling for no book deals for traitors, a group that includes anyone who served in the Trump administration. This kind of blacklisting is so McCarthyesque. We all know how the 1950s communist witch hunt turned out.

Where is the nation heading if its information-sharing abilities are greatly compromised, undermined, and restricted?

This is not a blog post to reassure all will be good or to make excuses for how we got here. No, this is a late warning shot. What is going on is not healthy for a vibrant democracy. It is immoral.

Though I am a centrist Democrat and am relieved to see Trump leave office, I think it is tragic to ban, block, and censor social media users, regardless of whether they are right-wing nuts or not. Everyone should be allowed to speak. Of course, posters should be responsible and be held accountable by libel, defamation, sedition and other laws. Look, even convicted murderers have free speech rights, so we can’t just stop speech on various platforms simply because we disagree with what is said or with whom is saying them.

Too many liberal friends express glee that Twitter silenced him and tens of thousands of others from spreading lies, opinions, facts, theories, and stories. They say these racists don’t deserve to rant hate and organize the violent overthrow of government. We need to be more tolerant. If Neo-Nazis can march in Skokie or Charlotte, they can write books, publish pamphlets, and post on Twitter. They can also be jailed or fined if they committed crimes.

The media and publishing industry -- social, traditional, and book -- says it supports organizations like the ACLU, PEN,, The Free Speech Center, and The First Amendment Coalition -- yet it allows for, encourages, and watches free speech get trampled. We must unite against the silencing of any voice, of all voices.

Words matter. They have consequences. But words that don’t flow freely have even bigger consequences. Freedom, at all costs, must win out, or we will one day have a silenced nation.

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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at  brianfeinblum@gmail.com.  You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum. 

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