Amazon Tries to Sandbag the New Book on the Kavanaugh Nomination

FILE- In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo a Nasdaq employee monitors market activity in New York. Investors were ravenous for companies able to add customers and deliver fat growth. So they were willing to pay premium prices for an Amazon or a Netflix. Left behind were stocks in more staid industries, even if they had more attractive prices relative to their profits. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)


Last week, a book on the Kavanaugh nomination titled Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court, authored by The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and Judicial Crisis Network Policy Director Carrie Severino, debuted at #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list. This is a pretty stunning accomplishment for a book from a minor press (full disclosure – Regnery Publishing is owned by Salem Media Group which also owns RedState, and I know The Federalist publisher Sean Davis and consider him a friend) by relatively unknown authors.


Since then, some amazing things have happened. No one in the media was interested. CBS was offered an exclusive and passed. None of the media that drooled over the fanciful book that alleged Trump had raped a gossip columnist in department store dressing room have shown any interest in the in-depth reporting by Hemingway and Severino. In fact, other than Fox, Hemingway and Severino have not received any interview offers from traditional print and electronic media.

That’s fair enough. The media can book whomever they wish and if they would rather feature an obvious assclown rather than responsible journalists, that’s their call and no one is shocked at their choice.

But there is something else going on. Amazon is trying to step on a book that it is selling. This from Sean Davis:

Amazon is refusing to publish many reviews and ratings of the No. 1 best-selling “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” according to multiple reports from readers who purchased the book directly from Amazon.

The behind-the-scenes dive into the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which was written by Carrie Severino and The Federalist’s Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway, debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s list of best-selling books.

The Federalist independently confirmed that many reviews by verified purchasers of “Justice on Trial” were not being published by Amazon. Some fake reviews from non-purchasers and reviews from those who clearly had not read the book, however, were published immediately. As of Wednesday evening, the online retailer had allowed only 16 reviews of the top-selling book to be published.

One reviewer whose critique was published by Amazon accused the authors of “stay[ing] away from using the term rape” regarding unsubstantiated accusations of sexual assault made against Kavanaugh during the confirmation process in 2018. A word search of the Kindle version of the book shows that the term was used 41 times by the authors. Another review, from an individual who did not purchase the book from Amazon, wrote that it was the “[w]orst book ever” and rated the book with one star.

The Seattle-based retail giant has a history of manipulating reviews and ratings for high-profile political books. In 2017, Amazon confirmed that it manually conducted mass deletions of one-star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s book detailing her failed 2016 presidential campaign. According to news reports at the time, Amazon deleted more than 900 one-star reviews of Clinton’s memoir. After the release of fired former FBI director James Comey’s book last year, Amazon reportedly banned reviews from individuals who hadn’t purchased the book from Amazon.

In a canned statement provided to The Federalist by an Amazon spokesperson, the company said, “Our policy includes a delay before reviews appear on our website while we ensure reviews follow our participation guidelines.” The spokesperson did not explain why troll reviews from commenters whom Amazon hadn’t verified have purchased the book were nonetheless published without delay while reviews from verified purchasers were quarantined and remain hidden.


This is not a “muh private business” issue that the NeverTrumpers always dredge up to defend any attack on conservatives by Big Tech. This is a clear case of a major corporation penalizing a book that it is selling by singling it out for disparate treatment based on its viewpoint. I’m not a lawyer but depriving one book of the baseline promotional opportunities available to literally all other books despite a contractual arrangement with the publisher smells less than legal.

Just like with Google and Facebook and Twitter, let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking that a) these are normal businesses. They aren’t. They are monopolies

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