Chelsea Greene Publishing is suing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for allegedly abusing her political authority to push Amazon to censor their book titled, “The Truth About COVID-19.” The publisher alleges serious First Amendment violations.
On September 7, 2021, Warren sent an official letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy urging him to suppress the bestseller written by Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins in Amazon’s search results for “perpetuating dangerous conspiracies about COVID-19 and false and misleading information about vaccines.”
Chelsea Greene responded by filing a lawsuit accusing Warren of “violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by seeking to stop booksellers from selling and/or promoting” their book. The lawsuit cites the Supreme Court case Bantam Books v. Sullivan, which held that government officials violated the First Amendment by “sending letters to booksellers warning the sale of certain books was potentially unlawful.”
The ruling established that even though private companies have the right to censor speech within their platforms, they can’t do it on behalf of a government agent. It is unconstitutional for state officials to pressure a private company to suppress “objectionable” speech.
According to Warren’s letter, a search on Amazon’s website using the keywords “COVID-19” and “vaccine” would list the book as the first result. Warren concluded the letter by calling Amazon to modify its algorithms “so that they no longer do so.”
Chelsea Greene Publishing released a statement explaining their allegations against Warren.
“The term ‘vaccine misinformation,’ as Warren uses it, refers to any speech challenging the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines, even when that speech consists of factually accurate information or reasonable and protected opinion,” the statement said. “Plaintiffs allege Warren’s letter contained blatant falsehoods and unsubstantiated accusations about the book and that Warren’s claims, even if correct, would not alter the book’s constitutional protectedness.”
Author Joseph Mercola accused Warren of violating his First Amendment rights, noting that protecting free speech is “central to our democracy.”
“I believe successful treatments for COVID-19 have been suppressed, and there are real conspiracies that have been revealed that are essential to public well-being,” said Mercola.
Margot Baldwin, president of the publisher, pointed out that, historically speaking, suppressing books indicates dangerous government trends..
“The government trying to ban books is a very dangerous slippery slope to totalitarianism and cannot be allowed,” said Baldwin. “We’ve been here before in history and we know where it leads: tyranny! First burning books, then banning books, then disappearing books from search results. It’s all the same thing.”
As a result of Warren’s letter, Barnes and Noble, the largest bookseller chain in America, announced it would no longer sell the ebook of “The Truth About COVID-19″ on its digital platforms, a decision which was reversed a few days later.
Many observations about Covid-19 that were previously considered “conspiracy theories” by Democrat politicians have since turned out to be correct. For a few examples: after two years of lies, the Centers for Disease Control finally admitted that its Covid death and hospitalizations numbers were being inflated, 75 percent of Covid victims had at least four comorbidities, the vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission, and cloth masks were always political theater.
This is not the first time Democratic politicians have colluded with powerful private corporations to shut down speech that poses an inconvenience. Recently, President Joe Biden urged social media companies to “deal with the misinformation and disinformation” on their platforms. Last year, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed the White House was regularly working with Facebook to “flag problematic posts that spread disinformation.”
Nathan J. Arnold, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he doesn’t believe that “there is any ‘misinformation’ in the book,” but even if there was, it would be irrelevant since it is speech protected by the First Amendment.
“I know that the political landscape that we’re all operating in is terribly partisan, but we don’t want unpopular opinions being suppressed by whoever’s in power,” said Arnold. “It really transcends party politics.”