Alex Berenson: Cancel culture beyond Orwellian — this is why I won't give in to it
Concha: The New York Times is ‘lionizing cancel culture’
Fox News contributor Joe Concha reacts to The New York Times being accused of celebrating cancel culture for spotlighting a video of a teenaged girl using a racial slur, in which, led to her being forced to withdraw from college.
Even George Orwell couldn’t have imagined it: in the country where free speech first became a constitutional right, left-wing journalists and frightened media companies are desperately censoring people with views they consider unpleasant.
So far this month, New York Times columnists have called for a federal “reality czar” and asked cable companies to keep viewers from seeing Fox News as easily as CNN or MSNBC. A Times reporter was forced to resign for using a racial slur – though both he and the paper’s top editor, who is African American, said he had used it without malign intent.
The Times then refused to run a column about the controversy by one of its own writers. Meanwhile, Disney fired an actress who had posted pro-Trump statements on social media, including an admittedly ugly comparison of the treatment of Republicans now to Jews in Nazi Germany. And Facebook canceled Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Instagram account, which had 800,000 followers, for promoting “misinformation” about vaccines.
So far this month.
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The left seems frantic to stop any debate – about how to handle COVID, global warming, whether “trans” women should be allowed to compete in women’s sports. Worse, it is no longer content to try to shout down views it does not like. It wants to punish the people who hold them.
When this strategy was used against Communist sympathizers in Hollywood in the 1950s, it was called blacklisting. Today, blacklisting is considered a stain on American history. “Hundreds of the entertainment industry’s most gifted actors, directors, screenwriters, musicians, and technicians… were shut out of their chosen profession,” the Washington Post wrote in 1997. “The anguish caused by the blacklist endures.”
Blacklisting seemed to have ended.
But it’s back. Today it goes by the name cancel culture. And instead of being pushed in secret by a handful of politicians, the effort is loud and public and comes from the very people whose livelihoods depend on the protection of the First Amendment.
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As someone who has argued COVID lockdowns are a mistake and is now raising questions about the mRNA vaccines, I feel the pressure of cancel culture every day.
Amazon refused to publish my first booklet on COVID until pressure from none other than Elon Musk, the billionaire behind Tesla and Space X, forced it to back down. People with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter regularly call for the service to ban me.
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So far I’ve survived these attacks, mainly because I am careful not to overreach and to source what I say.
But now I’m seeing them from another angle. Simon & Schuster published my most recent novel, “The Power Couple,” last week.
“The Power Couple” is unrelated to COVID or my journalism. In fact, I finished it in 2019, before anyone had heard of the virus, and it is set in that year.
My 12 previous novels were all best-sellers and received substantial attention in major news outlets, including in the Times, the Times Book Review, and the Washington Post. Outlets like CNN and MSNBC and NPR had me on to talk about them. This time, I have not received a single review aside from a couple of trade publications that review almost all books months before they come out (those reviews were generally positive).
Simon & Schuster is supporting “The Power Couple” and worked to encourage media outlets to pay attention to it.
The people who run book review desks – who tend to be even more liberal than other editors – are surely aware of my contrarian views on COVID. I can only assume that since they cannot shut me down, they have decided to punish me as best they can by ignoring “The Power Couple.”
So be it. They can review whatever they like. Just like the executives who ran movie studios in the 1950s could all independently decide not to hire actors whose political views might be trouble.
And sure, I’m sorry that my fiction may be paying the price for my journalism.
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But I can promise this. They won’t stop me from either.
In the long run, blacklists never win.
“The Power Couple” is available at Amazon.
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