How deep did the Biden administration's censorship regime go, which infamously targeted Twitter and Facebook? According to newly subpoenaed emails by the House Judiciary Committee, it even reached the world's largest retailer, Amazon.
Rep. Jim Jordan released some of the details on Monday, which included former Biden official Andy Slavitt pressuring Amazon to censor books that questioned the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Never-before-released internal emails subpoenaed by @JudiciaryGOP reveal that the Biden White House pressured Amazon to censor books that expressed views the White House did not approve of.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 5, 2024
“Is the [Biden] Admin asking us to remove books”? pic.twitter.com/ZsAN9BZAcX
That last sentence is chilling. As if there's nothing wrong with what was occurring, an Amazon worker asks, "Is the Admin asking us to remove books, or are they more concerned about search results/order (or both)?"
As Jordan shows in the chain of emails, Amazon did hold off for a short period, but it wasn't long before they relented to White House demands, censoring search results for books deemed to be "disinformation" regarding COVID-19.
How did the Biden White House conclude that there was “propaganda and misinformation” in books sold in Amazon’s bookstore?— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 5, 2024
The White House ran keyword searches for controversial topics, such as “vaccine,” and emailed Amazon when it didn’t like how the search results appeared: pic.twitter.com/FmVYPJQR6n
After the White House spent a week berating Amazon, what did the online bookstore do?— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 5, 2024
Starting March 9—the same day as its meeting with the White House—Amazon enabled “Do Not Promote” for books that expressed the view that vaccines were not effective. pic.twitter.com/8YEXjAL8BD
It's hard to describe how insanely improper (and possibly illegal) this is. The Biden administration used the power of its office to pressure a private company to censor books at they found politically inconvenient.
Contrast that with the absolute freak-out from Democrats when schools in Florida banned literal gay porn from being in classrooms. All the hand-wringing, including from the White House itself, was just for show. They don't really care about the First Amendment. They just want to expose children to gross content while getting books they don't like, which actually do fall under the broad rubric of freedom of speech, censored and removed.
Various court rulings in the aftermath of the original Twitter Files have put the Biden administration's censorship regime on ice, mostly thanks to the State of Missouri and its attorney general. Still, it's important to know how deep this went. It is downright Orwellian for the executive branch to pressure retailers to censor search results and sales of books.