Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened”, a memoir of a fairly disastrous and ridiculously expensive Presidential campaign, went on sale a few days ago. Within hours it had over 1500 reviews on Amazon, many of them very, very negative.
Putting aside the questions of corruption and corporate censorship, this is not new ground for Clinton’s camp, or for power structures in general. During the early stages of the Ukrainian coup in 2014, many mainstream news outlets (and especially the Guardian) responding to dissention in the comments by deleting swaths of them. That policy is the very reason this website exists.
During the Presidential election the press was filled to the brim with babble, that never once touched on some important issues. American TV networks cut-off people mid-interview for saying the wrong thing. Three. Separate. Times. The media completely denied Clinton was sick, deriding it as a “conspiracy theory”, until she literally collapsed in the street. Some newspapers are already claiming the hate for her book is just misogyny.
Separate from the personal political agenda – Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, was a big Clinton supporter – there is the ever-present cause of every self-respecting American: money. Simon & Schuster already paid Clinton an $8 million advance, one they are very unlikely to make back.
Amazon are no strangers to corruption, it is well documented how small a percentage of their taxes they pay, it would be foolish to assume that practices of that type end there. It’s possible, even likely, that certain publishers, movie studios, television networks etc, already pay amazon to publish good reviews (real or not) and delete bad reviews. Bad reviews could sink this book before it gets anywhere, so there is every motive.
In this instance Amazon released a statement claiming that the reviews were clearly fake because none of the people had confirmed purchases of the book, and it had not been on sale very long. True or not, this misses the point. It can’t be up to a nameless authority to decide which views are censored and which allowed to stand.
Again and again we see attempts to create a real-life Brave New World, in which we are expected to simply pretend we didn’t see things, didn’t hear things, don’t know things. It doesn’t work. Everybody knows about Clinton’s background, whether CNN tells them or not. You can find out the truth of Syria with a simple google search. The Ghostbusters remake was terrible. Wikileaks has five million twitter followers.
In a way, what we have here is a perfect microcosm of the last Presidential election. Clinton writes a book in which she (apparently) comes over as bitter and unlikable, the public review it badly, and then the billionaire donor, owner of both a multinational mega-corporation and the Washington Post, has his machinery click into gear to pretend it didn’t happen.
You’d think they’d have learned it doesn’t work, by now.