THE AMAZON FILES: New Docs Expose Amazon Caving In to Biden Admin Pressure to Censor Books

February 6th, 2024 9:45 AM

Explosive new evidence adds another terrifying chapter to the incestuous collusion story between President Joe Biden’s administration and Big Tech to censor free speech.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan unleashed a trove of subpoenaed documents on X (formerly Twitter) exposing the Biden admin pressuring leftist tech giant Amazon to censor books that went against government narratives. Amazon  — already notorious for how it nuked free speech platform Parler in 2021 from Amazon Web Services for allowing wrongthink to remain uncensored — seemed disturbed by the White House pressure. “Is the [Biden] Admin asking us to remove books?” asked one chilling email from an Amazon official. The documents actually showed Amazon capitulating to Biden’s pressure. Apparently, the Biden administration wasn’t content with limiting its dystopian speech control efforts to just Facebook and Twitter. Enter, The Amazon Files.

Jordan noted that when then-senior Biden White House official Andy Slavitt was revealed to be doing his boss’s dirty work by pressuring Facebook to “censor a meme and true information,” he “was pressuring Amazon at the same time.” In March 2021, said Jordan, “Slavitt fired off an email demanding to know who he and his White House colleagues could talk to at the company about ‘the high levels of propaganda and misinformation and disinformation of [sic] Amazon?’”

MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider blasted the Biden administration following the Amazon revelations. “Here we go again. The Biden administration continues to prove that it views the Constitution as an inconvenience to be ignored when it conflicts with its political goals,” Schneider rebuked. “Biden’s 21st century version of book burning is every bit as dangerous as the 20th century variety.”

According to the documents shared by Jordan, the White House used keyword searches for items like “vaccine” and others to weed out any kind of information it didn’t like. Amazon was apparently hesitant to acquiesce to the pressure, but not out of any concern for free speech. “Initially, Amazon decided to hold off on “‘doing a manual intervention’ to censor books. Why? Not out of any commitment to free speech, but because doing so would be ‘too visible’ to the American public and likely to spur criticism from conservative media,” Jordan summarized.

This backchannel communication culminated in a meeting Amazon would later have with the White House to discuss in part what the Biden administration was demanding. The purpose of the meeting, according to one email, was to see if ‘the Admin is asking us to remove books, or are they more concerned about search results/order (or both)?’” The meeting took place apparently due to Amazon officials “‘feeling pressure from the White House.’” The same day of the meeting on March 9, Amazon caved and enabled its “Do Not Promote” initiative for books that questioned the effectiveness of vaccines. One email from an Amazon official explicitly revealed the company’s commitment to remove “vaccine misinformation” while underneath the Biden administration’s thumb:

[T]he Books team has a meeting on 3/19 with [redacted to take a closer look at books related to vaccine misinformation and debating additional steps Amazon might want to take to reduce the visibility of these titles. The Books Content Risk Management team is still working on their doc for the 3/19 meeting, but I would be happy to share [the] non-final draft if you’re interested.

The Censorship Industrial Complex saga continues.  

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency and an equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.