It figures that this argument would be made by the New York paper that can make or break books in an industry based out of the same city. And that it would be made by Ben Smith, the loathsome Buzzfeed vet who had been previously dispatched to do a hit piece on Andrew Sullivan over false allegations of racism.
The specific topic here is the New York Times unabashedly celebrating Hachette’s firing of Kate Hartson at Center Street, a conservative imprint, for publishing… conservatives.
Am I exaggerating? Nah. This is the New… New York Times and it isn’t even bothering to pretend.
“Big Publishing Pushes Out Trump’s Last Fan – Top editors at Hachette have told employees that they’ve learned the lessons of the Capitol siege of Jan. 6: no hate speech, no incitement to violence, no false narratives.”
No to political dissent.
Hachette, you may remember, is the publisher that put out In Defense of Looting, which combined antisemitism, hostility toward Asians, with support for looting. No one seems to have been fired for that one so we can assume that some kinds of hate, incitement, and false narratives are still okay.
But the perfect New York Times paragraph comes most of the way down.
Thomas Spence, the president of the conservative publisher Regnery, said he regarded the shift by the Big Five (soon to be four, when Penguin Random House completes its acquisition of Simon & Schuster) as a “form of blacklisting.”
Ben Smith however offers this tremendous act of journalism.
“But when that word was used in 1950s Hollywood, the movie studios could silence a writer, director or actor because they exercised near total control over production and distribution. The New York publishers don’t have that power anymore. High-profile authors provide more marketing on social media than any publisher can dream of, and the largely values-neutral Amazon is the main distribution channel for most books. Donald Trump Jr. self-published his second book.”
Seriously. It’s not blacklisting because… you can self-publish.
Pathetic. Contemptible. Neither seem to do this justice. It’s the sort of thing that a Communist apparatchik would have offered up to an American journalist asking about the persecution of some blacklisted writer. Now it’s the sort of contemptible apologia for its blacklists that the New York Times offers up in the very same article in which it promotes and celebrates the blacklist.