Under questioning from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, Amazon today reversed its decision of two days ago to censor a Florida surgeon’s just-published book on lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak and public officials handling of it.
“I’m very grateful to Sen. Rubio for intervening on my behalf, and impressed that he took such an aggressive position defending the ability of someone to express a political opinion. His staff was invaluable in getting to the bottom of this,” said Dr. Julio Gonzalez, author of Coronalessons.
He went on: “But I really think it’s preposterous. It’s definitely a manipulation by Amazon of the types of messages that people get to hear and I don’t think an author should need an Elon Musk or high-ranking political official to deliver a political viewpoint.”
Dr. Gonzalez said he reached out to Sen. Rubio and the Senator’s legal office contacted Amazon’s legal office to determine the grounds for the censorship. The reason provided in a note from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing subsidiary to Dr. Gonzalez explained the censorship rationale.
But Rubio’s legal people determined that Amazon’s written guidelines actually make no mention of COVID-19 or the coronavirus and so the giant online retailer had no grounds for banning his book. It did not violate their guidelines. Amazon apparently relented on that point and have since unbanned it and Coronalessons is now live on Amazon.
This reversal comes just days after Amazon censored former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson’s booklet titled Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates. That piece of censorship was undone after Elon Musk’s public involvement on Twitter.
If not for the interventions of Rubio and Musk, Gonzalez’s and Berenson’s books may still be banned on Amazon. It is unknown how many other books Amazon may have banned for having either politically incorrect or non-government sanctioned views.
While Berenson’s is a short booklet, Dr. Julio Gonzalez’s book titled Coronalessons, is an exhaustively researched look at everything from virology and epidemiology to spread and treatments to crippling lockdowns and violations of Americans’ Constitutional rights. It has nearly 700 citations and a detailed timeline. It’s criticisms are deeply researched.
Dr. Gonzalez is not new to authorship or to politics. In addition to running a successful surgical practice in Venice, Florida, he is an attorney and a former member of the Florida House of Representatives. He’s also the author of The Case for Free Market Healthcare and The Federalist Pages.
“This is the first comprehensive look at our nation’s coronavirus experience,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “I have been furiously studying the pandemic, amassing data, and evaluating our responses and the effects these have had on our society and our system of laws. I compiled all that information, including a novel statistical analysis and over 650 citations into Coronalessons.”
It is not as though Amazon doesn’t sell books on controversial topics, or shy away from controversy. They’ve sold books on pedophilia.
But when it comes to COVID-19, Amazon may have a vested interest as the company has financially benefited greatly from the lockdowns that many people like Dr. Gonzalez and Berenson are criticizing in their books. By the government forcing people to stay home, Amazon’s home delivery and streaming service have been profiting in overdrive. They would have an incentive to quiet voices suggesting the lockdowns are a bad idea.
But this is a dangerous track for Amazon. The Revolutionary Act is aware of members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate who are concerned about Amazon’s actions banning certain books. If a close look suggests that Amazon may have reached monopoly status on book sales, that could be problematic.
Amazon’s share of all new book purchases was 41 percent before the shutdowns, but 65 percent of all new online books — both print and digital. In the e-book market, they dominated with 67 percent.
Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Like Rod on Facebook.