Keith Ellison’s letter to Jeff Bezos focuses on an alleged neo-Nazi’s material being sold at Amazon and published on Amazon’s self-publishing, but Ellison makes more sweeping statements, particularly his opening gambit: “I am writing to you with my concerns about the amount of money Amazon has made from the sale of literature and music published by entities identified as ‘hate groups’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).”
Clearly Ellison wants Amazon, which has (with Barnes & Noble) a virtual monopoly on book sales in the U.S., to stop selling books by people designated as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Like the establishment media, Ellison assumes that the SPLC is a reliable, unbiased arbiter of what is and isn’t a hate group. The SPLC’s hard-Left bias and determination to destroy legitimate conservative groups by lumping them in with neo-Nazis and white supremacists is nowhere recognized.
The far-Left Bezos likely also thinks that the SPLC is a reliable authority, and so it is entirely possible that he will comply with Ellison’s demands and purge Amazon of all materials by people that the SPLC has smeared and defamed.
Given Amazon’s dominance of the book market, that would be a serious blow to the freedom of speech, as the SPLC is making an all-out attempt to delegitimize the full spectrum of opinion that dissents from the Leftist agenda — on Islam, immigration, social issues and more.
If Amazon drops SPLC-designated “hate” material, there should ensue a national discussion about whether the SPLC is really a reliable authority, and whether only one viewpoint should be allowed in the public square. If not, this will just be another nail in the coffin of the freedom of speech in the U.S.
Book burning is so yesterday.
hat-tip Stephen Neil