Book by election-questioning Republican Josh Hawley canceled by Simon & Schuster

January 8, 2021 • 9:30 am

Which is worse, a Democrat accused of pedophilia or a Republican Senator questioning Biden’s victory? I ask because those of you who thought that Hachette’s cancelation of the book deal it made for Woody Allen’s memoirs—a cancelation I thought was bad form, as the publisher caved to its employees, and of course there was no evidence for the accusations against Allen—might ask yourself the same question about Simon & Schuster’s new cancelation of an upcoming book by Josh Hawley.

Yes, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was one of those morons who was going to officially call for an audit of the election this week.  That was unconscionable, and made doubly bad by this report, taken from Wikipedia:

Before the counting of the votes, to which Hawley had publicly announced he would object, he saluted the protestors and rioters with a fist pump as he walked outside the Capitol.

Nevertheless, does he bear responsibility for what happened at the Capitol two days ago? I would be reluctant to ascribe to him responsibility for those attacks, for I hold Trump (and the protestors themselves) responsible. Trump incited the violence, not Hawley or the other 12 misguided Senators. You can say, well, their actions helped fire up the protestors, but so did a lot of other Republican actions. This was a long time in the making, and the fomenting of Republican ire was done by many.

Nevertheless, Simon & Schuster, clearly objecting to Hawley’s actions and his politics, have canceled plans for his new book, which wasn’t really about politics but the tech industry. The New York Times has an article about the cancelation (click on screenshot):

Just a few quotes and I’ll sum up:

Simon & Schuster said on Thursday that it would cancel the publication of an upcoming book by Senator Josh Hawley, one of several members of Congress who tried to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Mr. Hawley, a Missouri Republican and Trump ally, has been criticized for challenging the results and accused of helping incite the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. His book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” was scheduled to be published in June.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” Simon & Schuster said in a statement. “As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”

But his role, misguided as it was, was legal, and within the bounds of the Constitution. This leads to the question, which the Times poses, of the role of publishers in an America sharply divided along political lines. Books by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump Jr. (Hachette author), Sean Hannity (and you could argue that he helped work up Republicans), and Tucker Carlson (ditto) have been published by major houses, and ten to one somebody will snap up Trump’s ghostwritten memoirs, Triumphs of the Ill, after he leaves office. (Yes, I made up the title.)

The Times reports as well that “the escalation of the rhetoric from the president and some of his supporters in recent weeks has likely changed the calculus for editors and publishers who are wary of provoking a backlash from readers and employees.” In other words, they lack spine. But the job of all good publishers—except for religious and explicitly political ones—is not just to make money or push a favored ideology, for most of them know that most of their books won’t turn a profit. Many publishers and editors simply love books because they love speech, discussion, and ideas. Further, as I said, Hawley’s book wasn’t about politics, so he’s being punished for his political beliefs and actions:

The subject of Mr. Hawley’s book, which was already available for preorder on Amazon and other retailers, is not about the election or Mr. Trump, but about technology corporations like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Does what Hawley think still deserve to be heard after what he did? Yes, I think so, though I won’t read his book—the subject doesn’t interest me.

Of course Simon & Schuster have a right, or so I think, to cancel the book (it depends on what was in the book contract), but I don’t think they should have. Although convicted criminals can still publish books, even about their crimes, sometimes the law forbids them to profit from their crimes. That’s what happened with this book, written by O. J. Simpson (notice the small “if” in the title), who wasn’t convicted of murder but lost a civil suit (the $600,000 Simpson was reportedly paid went to the Goldman family).

So, much as I dislike Republicans and despise those who sought to overturn an already-certified election, I don’t call for all of their books to be canceled or rejected from now on. Publishers have the right to reject them—there’s no First Amendment right to have your book published—but it’s arrant cowardness, and against the unwritten code of good publishers, to cancel a book simply because you don’t like the politics of the authors.

If this is truly to be a time of healing, as Joe Biden emphasizes so often, we can’t continue to dehumanize our political opponents. Perhaps (and this may be likely) our reaching out may be sufficiently rebuffed that we can leave them alone completely. But we shouldn’t cancel their books, accost them in restaurants, or insult them in public. I think we should be better than that.

Abigail Shrier, whose book about overly hasty gender reassignment, Irreversible Damage, was also temporarily canceled by chain stores, had this to say:

Now I’m not sure about the legality of refusing these services to people whose politics you don’t like; it seems to me like illegal discrimination.  Lawyers should weigh in here. And, as I said, a publisher is under no obligation to publish a book by someone the editors don’t like. But if they deem the book worth publishing initially, which is decided when a contract is issued, then short of stuff like plagiarism or similar circumstances, the book still deserves to be published.

I’m sure others might object, but I don’t need a second; my own opinion is enough for me. (You know the rest. . .)

179 thoughts on “Book by election-questioning Republican Josh Hawley canceled by Simon & Schuster

      1. Perhaps they judged that the content of his book would further incite violence from the white-supremacist/QAnon wing of the GOP.

          1. I haven’t read it but I suspect that it is very much about politics, just viewed through the lens of “big tech”. I’d lay money on the idea that he makes a case for regulating the industry in ways designed to be more friendly to his political views.

            1. Of course it’s political in nature. Right-wing politicians, especially Trump and his minions, have been whining about Google, Facebook, etc., slanting coverage against them, and want to regulate these platforms in their favor. In Hawley’s words,

              “At a time when these platforms are determining elections, banning inconvenient political views, lining politicians’ pockets with hundreds of millions of dollars… this is the fight to recover America’s populist democracy. That is why I am writing this book.”

              1. Exactly.

                I can’t see the problem with a famous person losing a book contract for a book-length rant because people no longer like them. Especially when the famous person is a sitting senator who raised a fist in support of terrorists who stormed the capitol building carrying confederate flags.

                In most cases, stuff like this would have to be self-published. He got the book contract because he’s powerful and famous and publishing his book would bring prestige. That prestige is gone now. He threw that away himself.

              2. Yes, I was judging a book by it’s author. I’d edit out the unfair “book-length rant”. I stand by the rest.

          2. It is written by a politician and it is not about politics? Trump and the GOP are waging a huge battle with so-called Big Tech over their power to squelch Trump’s messages to his base. My guess is that Hawley’s books was going to be about that. Most definitely politics.

      2. They don’t have to publish someone who incites rebellion. He has plenty of outlets for his speech. He can simply go to any right-wing publisher. S&S is not constitutionally bound to provide him a prestigious imprimatur.

        It’s a contracts issue. He can sue them for breach of contract.

        In general, I am really opposed to silencing people. But Hawley is hardly being silenced! He’s just not getting a top-tier publisher, who, based on his outrageous behavior, wants to protect its own business interests (and that prestige that he wants to shine on his work).

        1. They don’t have to publish anybody, but I don’t think that inciting rebellion is necessarily a good reason for not publishing a book that doesn’t itself incite rebellion.

          Maybe we shouldn’t publish the US constitution, since it was written by people who incited and led a rebellion.

        2. jblile is correct. S & S is a private company that chooses not to be associated with an abhorrent, seditious individual and that is very much their right. Hawley (among others) has been at the forefront of a movement to deny the factual reality of Biden’s non-fraudulent election victory and in the process giving oxygen to the insurrectionists. Hawley is free to find another publisher or self-publish.

  1. Perhaps Simon and Schuster is worried about potential lawsuits from readers who claim damages as
    a result of believing a word that Senator Hawley says. Of course, similar prudential concerns should by now apply to anything said, written, or ghost-written by members of the Republican Party.

  2. It seems pretty obvious to me. If the book was up to scratch on its own merits, it should be published.

    Same with Woody Allen. I don’t think he was guilty, but even if he was I don’t think that should necessarily preclude him from having books published (if he can find a publisher). He certainly shouldn’t be stopped from publishing just because of social media pressure based on unsubstantiated allegations.

    As for publishers they, of course, have the right to choose who to publish, but I think, once a contract has been agreed, it should be honoured unless something really egregious turns up afterwards.

    1. I would say he’s already passed the threshold of “something really egregious”. He was a conscious part of a concerted attempt to overturn the results of a well-conducted democratic election, in the service of staging a coup.

      1. I think the claim that the trespassers/vandals intended to stage a coup is ridiculous. They broke in, knocked over a bench, yelled some slogans, and took some selfies. A few windows were cracked or broken. They appeared to be surprised they actually made it that far and made no attempt to overthrow the government.

        1. Well, their alleged purpose was to prevent the democratically elected president from being confirmed. Does what someone calls it really matter?

        2. So a badly run coup is not really a coup? Ridiculous. There were clearly people there that wanted to confront and hurt politicians and that the general thrust of their argument was keeping Trump in power and denying Biden the presidency. Did you miss the gallows they constructed outside? Who do you think that was for?

          1. There are photos of the crew with zip ties who intended to capture Mike Pence and execute him if he didn’t reverse the election.

            1. And can you imagine even implementing any chain-of-command one where the VP is cornered, and the Prez not only doesn’t care, he was already set-up the VP to be sacrificed to the mob?

          2. From Jim Bourg, Reuters reporter: “I heard at least 3 different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor. It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed.”

            1. Pence had his wife with him in the Capitol that day. From the reporting I’ve heard, Trump (who delayed the national guard from responding because these were his protestors) has yet to call Pence to see how he and his family are doing. Instead, as soon as he learned that Pence wasn’t going to subvert the constitution to his liking, Trump banned Pence’s chief-of-staff, Marc Short, from entering the West Wing.

              You cross a stone-cold narcissistic sociopath like Donald Trump (no matter how outrageous his last request), you immediately become a nonperson. And never mind about the four years you spent as a servile lackey doing his bidding.

        3. And at least 5 people have died so far.

          It doesn’t matter that they were credulous cretins being manipulated by Trump and his handlers, their stated purpose was to overturn the results of the election, that they lacked the intelligence and resources to accomplish that goal is neither here nor there.

          But they are just stooges for the actual traitors, and these enablers, starting with Trump, his cabinet, and going down through the likes of Mitchell McConnell, Ted Cruz and the rest of Trumps lickspittle lackies, should face justice.

        4. Chrissake, Adam, you make it sound like they were tourists who inadvertently wandered past a “restricted area” sign.

          Five people died, dude. In an effort to prevent the counting of certified electoral college votes for a duly elected president-elect.

          Remind me if you ever contended that the BLM protestors in Kenosha last summer were just trying to score some fries and a frosty at that burned out Wendy’s.

          1. Hey, Adam, tell us about that time in 1814 when the British Army took a DC vacation and some poor soldier fell asleep smoking at the White House and Capitol. 🙂

            Yet some people go around calling that “The War of 1812.” Ridiculous!

        5. And killed a police officer. And vandalized the building. And certainly spoke (witnessed by multiple reporters inside the building) of “taking out” specific, named lawmakers. They erected a noose adjacent to the building. They detonated pipe bombs. They had Molotov Cocktails on the site. They stole mail and objects from the building and lawmakers’ offices. We don’t know the full toll yet. (And don’t forget the plot to kidnap Gov. of Michigan, foiled by the FBI.)

          You are far, FAR more sanguine than I am about any sort of good behavior from these people.

          They were held back at gunpoint. And they came on anyway (I’m surprised only one was shot — you don’t get a choice in obeying gun-wielding police officers). Find them, arrest them, and prosecute them to the limits of the law.

        6. coup /ko͞o/

          noun: coup d’état

          1. a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.

          Just because they were inept and failed doesn’t make it not a coup.

          At what point during a bank robbery does the perp. get to say, “hey, just kidding folks, have a nice day, I’m out of here, no harm no foul, right?”

          They were battering down the walls of our seat of government to attack our lawmakers. What else do you need to know?

        7. Well I’ll admit that I haven’t seen every video of the people who invaded the capitol building, but I do expect that if they were serious about overthrowing the government they’d have had some real firepower and they’d have actually tried to use it. Was the guy in viking horns attempting a coup, or just a joker? They seemed more in the joker vein to me.

          That said, if you were really attempting a coup you’re less likely to be focused on snapping photos, so maybe the available pictures are statistically more likely to be skewed towards jokers…

          1. You keep ignoring pipe bombs and molitov cocktails. And arguing that failed attempts aren’t real because they fail.

            1. You can’t pull off a coup at the capitol building with pipe bombs at the RNC/DNC headquarters. And Molotov cocktails, while dangerous, seem like very ineffective tools for a coup. They’re inaccurate, unreliable, indiscriminate, short-range, incendiary anti-personnel devices with a significant arming time (lighting them, two-handed) and a tendency to spill that basically precludes using them in a moving assault. They could be lobbed from a secure or concealed position against against stationary soft targets a short distance away, but that’s about it.

              To pull off a real coup you’d really want a bunch of rifles and shotguns, or, if the plan was to burn the building down, something much more effective than some Motolov cocktails.

              An actual, failed attempt would definitely be real, but it didn’t look like an actual coup attempt to me. Okay, I’m not ruling out that there may have been a couple lone-wolf crazies who thought they could pull off a one-man coup – though I don’t consider that proven either – but I don’t currently believe that a real coup was the intent of even 5% of the overall group that invaded the capitol building.

              Supposedly four or five people died. The only one whose cause of death I know is the woman shot by cops and a quick search doesn’t reveal any details of the other three or four. If the invaders shot up the capitol building and killed some guards I think I’d have heard about it…

              1. “a quick search doesn’t reveal any details of the other three or four.”

                A quick search indeed. The cause for three of them are right in this thread. The fourth, a cop, was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, as is in many of the news stories.

          2. My first reaction was that those that invaded the Capitol weren’t that serious but then I saw some of the video. They were serious but completely disorganized and lacked any real plan. They didn’t lack motivation or deadly intent. They were just not very smart and acted like a bunch of people with crazy ideas exchanged on social media rather than a proper invading force. I don’t think we should cut them any slack for being stupid, incompetent, and disorganized. The book needs to be thrown at them in order to help prevent other, more organized attempts at such things.

            It would not surprise me if more action comes on Inauguration Day and the perpetrators will have learned from the Capitol event. Of course, the police will also have learned. They’ll be much more dangerous then because they’ll have realized that Trump is not going to get a second term and revenge will be their main goal. If I were Biden and Harris, I’d strongly consider making it a virtual event. Certainly it would be justified and no one could call them cowards if they did so.

            1. Well, I will try watching more video clips, but I will say that if they were incompetent but serious then that “counts” as a coup attempt in my book.

              1. Tell me, if a few folks broke into your home, acted like drunken frat boys, and left only because shooting your dog alerted neighbors who called the police, would that be a real home invasion or a failed one?

          3. OK, so if those invaders were:

            1) Black
            2) Heavily armed
            3) Dressed like the Black Panthers
            4) Keeping Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs in the garden
            5) Marauding like Bolsheviks storming the Winter Palace

            Would the fact that they took photos while invading the Capitol suggest they were not serious in their aims?

            I would suggest not, I’d also suggest that the organisers / invaders would meet far more resistance from the authorities and the public if they were black. Either way, suggesting that the people snapping photos are only interested in the optics is utter nonsense.

            1. I’d say that if they were heavily armed but fired no shots – having the means but not using them – that’d make them seem less serious about a real coup. On the other hand, if they went in shooting then it wouldn’t matter how many selfies they took. That’d be serious.

              I’m not sure about them facing greater resistance if they were black. I can’t recall a single BLM rioter shot and killed by police during the whole summer of love, and I don’t think any were shot with real bullets. The all-black “Not Fucking Around Coalition” marched extensively at the time, issuing demands and making threats, and they weren’t really resisted.

              1. “I’m not sure about them facing greater resistance if they were black.”

                Sorry, but you have no fucking clue. You need to do some basic research on how DC security/police treated the BLM protests vs. Trump’s domestic terrorist mob. The majority of your comments on this thread reveals your ignorance and lack of perspective, and the above quote seals the deal. I’m done reading your tripe and your excuses for these actions. Pitiful.

              2. In your extensive media search, did you happen to see that photo of the plainclothes security officers on either side of the door, armed with only handguns to protect the terrified group inside?

                They all seemed to believe it was serious. Many believed they were going to die that day, if you listen to the interviews.

                But if and when anyone stands trial for this, I’m sure they will be happy to adopt your defense:

                • Hey, things got out of hand.
                • We never thought it would go that far.
                • I saw a Stop the Steal post, so I went on impulse.
                • In my neighborhood, everyone carries zip ties.
                • I didn’t know the guy I hit with the fire extinguisher was a cop.
                • We were only joking about hanging Pence.
                • It was all locker room talk. It’s not like we were serious.”

  3. “..responsibility for those attacks….. not Hawley or the other 12 misguided Senators.”

    I think the word “misguided” is much too weak–they are simply blatant dangerous liars, every damn one of them. It seems to me to make them sound like they have some kind of stupidity excuse for their selfish and dangerous activities. Very similar to talk about the utterly evil Mass Murderer almost being given the excuse of “unhinged” or “mentally deranged”. I know these sort-of-excuses are not intended as such, but it’s time to call a spade a spade.

    1. “Liars” is too weak as well — they are traitors. I would support charging them with treason. In prison for life, they’ll have plenty of time to write additional books.

  4. I think we’ll see the Streisand effect in action here, and this cancellation will probably be a boon to Hawley’s career.

    They shouldn’t have canceled the book. Who knows, he might have something useful to say in it, regardless of his politics. I’m also really uncomfortable with the idea that employees of a publishing company, by making enough noise, can get books canceled. The proper course of action is to show some integrity and, if the publisher you work for continues to publish books that run contrary to your personal politics, resign.

  5. He can always pursue this in court if he believes the terms of the contract have been violated.

    A little bit of push back is never a bad thing in helping people reconsider previously held positions, perhaps he can use this time to reflect on his actions prior to defending himself against charges of sedition.

  6. There is a huge difference between suppressing a person’s right to speak out and an obligation to provide them a bully pulpit. Modern media and marketing science provide an unprecedented forum for propaganda and misinformation.

  7. Completely disagree with you on this one. Honestly, it made me sad you took up this argument in such a way. That is not at all what the first amendment is about.

    1. You can disagree with me, but I didn’t say this was about the First Amendment. Honestly, it made me sad to see you misunderstand this argument. It’s even sadder that we won’t see you around here any more. See the Roolz about civility.

      1. You didn’t say this was about the First Amendment, Jerry, but Hawley certainly did, prominently, in his whining tweet. “It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment.” You’d think someone who graduated Stanford and Yale Law would know better. No doubt he does know better, but likes throwing red meat to the base.

        He also used the word “irregardless”, which is impeachable. 🙂

        1. Not to defend Hawley here but perhaps his reference to the First Amendment was more about the subject of his book, which is about the First Amendment and Big Tech, than a claim that the publisher’s rejection itself was a First Amendment violation.

  8. I’m still processing this, but note that Shrier said things that are true or at least well argued and backed by evidence. Hawley traffics in debunked conspiracy theories and holds a position of authority. The difference has nothing to do with how much one likes what they are saying. More discussion, please, on how evidence and common-sense veracity should factor into scenarios involving free speech. The publisher seems to be doing the equivalent of taking down a false Trump tweet or anti-vaxxer Facebook page.

    1. Have you seen Hawley’s manuscript on the tech companies? If not, how then do you know he is “traffic(ing) in debunked conspiracy theories…” ? Prior restraint enforced by publishers employees and the voices of people who have not read the book, though perfectly legal, is just as ugly as when it is done by governments.

      FTR – I see Dr PCC(e)s point but I haven’t the spoons to really care. This is a contractual dispute. It is not lost on me though, that it is also an unmistakable sign of the mortal degradation in journalism, academia and publishing that we are witnessing in the final days of those once valuable professions. I believe our host is lamenting this loss. I lament it too, but it can no longer be stopped.

      1. I think it is a question of degrees and specifics.

        I think you will agree that a publishing company has a right to protect its prestige and goodwill within the limits of the law. They have no “duty” to publish anyone. I hope you agree with that. It’s always a business decision (in general, nothing is 100%).

        There’s a scale of bad behavior (by an author):
        They are an unpleasant person
        They violate minor laws
        They violate major laws
        They speak at a neo-Nazi rally
        The rape someone and are convicted for it
        They murder someone and are convicted of it
        They incite a mob to lynch a black man
        They rape and murder a woman on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, captured clearly on video
        They order mass murder by soldiers answerable to them

        (Only a very vague order implied here.)

        Inciting the riot or cheering it on, from the grounds of the capitol, falls on that scale somewhere (see the photos of him at the capitol).

        At some point on that scale (as noted, it depends on the details and the specific case), everyone will agree that the publisher is right to not publish the author’s work.

        At various points on the scale, various people will say it’s OK to not publish.

  9. At Hyde Park Corner there is a tradition of speaking freely, usually on a soap box or some such. I have no obligation to loan out my soap box to other people. If I had agreed to hire out my soap box and then renege on that agreement, then it is simply a matter for the courts.

  10. > I’m sure others might object, but I don’t need a second; my own opinion is enough for me.

    Here’s a second anyway. The Enlightenment values that underlie the First Amendment are essential to a free society. Yes, the publisher has every right to cancel the book. No one who values freedom of expression would choose to do so.

    The appropriate response to bad speech is good speech, not censorship (by government or others).

  11. I can see the reason. In my work, we sometimes talk to state leaders, educators, and government officials. Our work has a statement about “representing the business publicly”.

    By publishing a book, people might think that the publisher agrees with the sentiments or arguments in the book. I assume that the publisher doesn’t want to have the author “representing” the publisher. For major books, which I assume this would be, there would be tours and signing and the like.

    We wouldn’t expect, for example, a Christian publisher to print a book by someone they just found out is a member of the Church of Satan, regardless of the content of the book. We also wouldn’t expect a minority owned publisher to publish a book if they discovered the author was a member of the KKK. right?

    One person lost their job due to the insurrection. That person was wearing their work ID badge, plainly visible, in a photo inside the capitol building. The business has the right to fire someone for cause (committing a crime while wearing their ID badge). The business doesn’t want that person “representing” them to the public. I totally get that.

    This isn’t about the content of the book. It’s about a person who would be a representative of the business doing something that the business is not supportive of.

    1. “By publishing a book, people might think that the publisher agrees with the sentiments or arguments in the book.”

      So if S&S publishes a book by an author that is pro-nuclear power, am I to assume the S&S is pro-nuclear power?

      And does that mean they can’t publish a book by someone who is anti-nuclear as well…do they have to keep a consistent position with all of their authors for each topic?

      I don’t understand your argument. I also think that comparisons to Christian book publishers aren’t valid..I wasn’t aware that S&S had such dogmatic views about reality.

      1. “So if S&S publishes a book by an author that is pro-nuclear power, am I to assume the S&S is pro-nuclear power?”

        Yes, kinda. At a minimum, anyone seeing a S&S pro-nuke book will know that they aren’t against nuclear power. Sorry, that’s how the world works.

        1. At a minimum, anyone seeing a S&S pro-nuke book will know that they aren’t against nuclear power.

          I’d assume the publishers hope to profit from publishing the book and not be the least surprised to see an anti-nuclear power book from the same publishers. On my book-shelves is a Viking publication, Faith versus Fact. Does this mean Viking supports Jerry’s thesis and would not publish a critique of it? I don’t know.

          Some WEIT readers seem to have an amazing ability to read another person’s mind. In regard to Hawley’s clenched fist salute, did he salute as an acknowledgement of support from the protesters for his intended actions, or with the intention/reasonable expectation of inciting an attack on the capitol? I don’t know.

          Were his actions in challenging certification of the election results precedented and constitutional? I tentatively believe so, but that’s a matter of reading the constitution and political history, rather than reading minds.

          1. Some publishers stick with a theme, or a set of themes, and some don’t. If a “green” publisher published several anti-nuke books, they might display them at a climate change conference. It would be embarrassing if people came by their trade show booth and protested the fact that they also publish books on “The Wonderful World of Fracking”. These themes may be chosen by the particular leanings of the owners of the publishing company but they are reinforced by being able to advertise multiple books at once at a tradeshow, in a magazine, or on a website. They can take advantage of the fact that green readers may buy books on a number of related topics and read the same magazines, websites. Once they’ve chosen a brand, they are interested in protecting it.

      2. One of S&S’s publishing houses, Howard Books, publishes only religious, specifically Christian, books.

        S&S can’t claim they are doing this on principles of reality and reason; this is prior restraint based on the political views of the author. Since these are non-governmental actors, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it should not be mistaken for a principled response. It is (mostly) marketing expedience.

        1. I think you are conflating “this is not illegal” and “this is not wrong”. Because they are a non-governmental actor what they are doing is not illegal. But prior restraint is still wrong, morally, generally speaking.

        2. I’m not seeing how the “prior restraint” doctrine comes into play here, Edward. I imagine Simon & Schuster rejects something like 99% of the manuscripts that come in over the transom.

          Anyone whose book is declined by S&S is free to publish it elsewhere. They are not being “restrained” from speaking; they’re simply being denied a particular private forum for that speech.

          1. It’s the act, Ken, not the definition I was aiming at. I think you know that. I wasn’t trying to use a legal term AS a legal term. I don’t claim Hawley has any rights here – this isn’t about civil rights at all. It is contractual dispute. It’s not like the editors don’t know what’s in the manuscript (so there may be reasons other than what is supposed here), but if the reason they are doing it is because of what he has said elsewhere and for that reason deciding that the manuscript isn’t fit, it’s close to the legal definition of prior restraint. At least enough for argument here on WEIT.

            IMO, of course.

            Further, S&S hasn’t got any moral standing here. They are a large publishing house and they publish a WHOLE lot of crap.

            IMO this episode is a depressing blend of business self-interest mixed with a heap of genuine and legitimate outrage and just a soupcon of hypocrisy. It’s our times in a nutshell.

            1. … a depressing blend of business self-interest mixed with a heap of genuine and legitimate outrage and just a soupcon of hypocrisy.

              Seems to be an all-too-popular recipe nowadays. 🙂

        3. ” . . . this is prior restraint based on the political views of the author.” No, it’s based on Hawley’s behavior, not his beliefs. The man attempted to overturn a legitimate democratic election. What he did might have been technically legal, but it was self-serving and immoral. Hawley should not be allowed to profit from his notoriety. By rejecting his book, Simon & Schuster is expressing their disgust for Hawley and his anti-democratic agenda. S&S made the right call.

  12. A company has to protect its public image. They evidently decided that publishing Hawley’s book no longer fit the image they were trying to project or feared that anti-Hawley sentiment would hurt their sales more generally. Perhaps the CEO of Hachette hates what Hawley represents. I think a company has the power to do whatever it thinks it should. There’s no right to publish. Perhaps Hawley can find a publisher that better aligns with his politics.

  13. Simon & Schuster, or any publisher, can choose what to publish, and there are plenty of specialty religious or political publishing who only publish according to their opinions. The question here is just what Hawley’s contract with S&S is, and that will probably be settled in a lawsuit. Like social media, if mainstream publishers start blocking certain viewpoints, we’ll see other publishers who will fill the niche.

    1. Indeed. Nobody would touch Lolita, until Olympia Press decided to. The difference to this case though is the reluctance to publish was based on the content of Lolita. S&S are apparently breaking contract because of things said or done by the author which are unrelated to the manuscript*.

      *It is entirely possible that the editors, who have seen Hawley’s manuscript, find that it is full of the same kind of BS about the tech companies that he is spreading about the election and are breaking contract on those grounds.

  14. No one is PREVENTING Hawley from publishing his book. Simon & Schuster are merely declining to be his agent. Hawley can always self-publish, or more likely go to a publisher like Regnery that specializes in right-wing hacks.

  15. Does what Hawley think still deserve to be heard after what he did? Yes, I think so…

    “Still?” I didn’t think his opinion was worth reading before all this started, why would I think his opinion is worth reading now?

    As long as the publisher gives a ‘soft landing’ for authors ( them their copyright back to shop elsewhere, pays all promised advances, etc.), I’m okay with them cancelling such contracts. Congresscritters in general should have little problem finding alternate publishers for their books, and he might even sell more copies by playing up “the book Simon and Schuster didn’t want you to read” angle.

    [Abigail Schrier] ‘You’re not entitled your book contract,’ can quickly become ‘United doesn’t have to let you onto its planes’ ‘Marriott doesn’t have to let you stay at its hotels,’ or ‘Visa doesn’t have to let you use its cards.’

    Oh baloney. There is a big difference between a public accommodation which provides goods and services to the general public, and a book publication company that negotiates with specific individual authors to pay them for their product. The former is selling you something, the latter is buying something from you, and nobody is legally required to buy your book. Not me from a shelf, not S&S from the author. True, her argument might apply to a vanity press that promises to publish any book for the right fee, and then denies someone based on their politics (or race, gender, etc..). That would be a problem, IMO. But in this case, the slippery slope is not something I think we need worry about.

    1. I agree. Perhaps Hawley’s biggest damage is the delay in releasing his book. Assuming his book is about the Right’s perception that Big Tech is out to suppress their message, now is the time for this book to be released. By the time he is able negotiate a new deal, perhaps interest will have waned and/or he will be beaten to the punch by other authors’ books.

    2. ‘You’re not entitled your book contract,’ can quickly become … ‘Visa doesn’t have to let you use its cards.’

      Oh baloney. There is a big difference between a public accommodation which provides goods and services to the general public.

      Except that those kinds of things do happen. Visa, Chase, and other banks and financial services cancel credit cards and close bank accounts based on people’s political beliefs. You can get your domain registration revoked if somebody doesn’t like what you say. AirBnB may deny you accommodation. Uber / Lyft may refuse to give you a ride. These things happen already. It’s not just that it’s a slippery slope, but that we’ve already slid down it and are in danger of sliding further.

      1. It’s true but I don’t view it as very harmful because it is largely self-correcting. As soon as one company denies its products and services to someone, another steps in as there’s money to be made. If that mechanism fails and the product or service is deemed essential to a person’s life, politicians may step in to establish rights and laws to protect them.

        1. If it happened to you, I think you would find it harmful indeed. Best to hope your brand of politics stays current.

        2. I guess it depends on how fringe they are. Calls to punish Trump supporters will mostly fail because they’re half the country. But if you’re a real racist maybe nobody’ll care if you can’t access basic goods or services… and maybe even the ACLU wouldn’t help these days.

      2. Do you have an example of Visa cancelling someone’s credit cards because of their political beliefs?

        Domain registration I’m not sure about. I just don’t know enough about the public vs. private aspects of it to comment.

        While AirBnB, Uber, and Lyft all claim to be services that just match private service providers with customers, I would be perfectly fine with the law treating them as public accommodations and bringing the hammer down on any of them that violate anti-discrimination laws. At least for AirBnB, I believe that customer complaints about discrimination has cause the company to remove some properties from their site. So while some properties might treat people unfairly, there IS a mechanism for resolving the issue.

        But none of those things are like book publishing. Just ask again – who is selling, and who is buying? For all of the things you list, it’s a member of the public who gives money to the business in exchange for a good or service.The person is the buyer who can’t be discriminated against, the business is the seller. For book publishing, the publisher gives money to the author in exchange for rights to publish and profit from his/her book. The business is the buyer, the person is the seller. And the person has no legal right to coerce the business into buying his/her book.

  16. I am no expert on how these contracts are usually written, and each one is a matter of what both parties can negotiate, but it seems likely that (a) the publisher reserves the right to not publish, (b) Hawley is free to publish elsewhere, (b) Hawley gets to keep his advance payment, and (c) Hawley has no rights to any further compensation.

  17. I am okay with the publisher choosing to not publish Hawley’s book. I’d almost certainly do the same. No doubt the book will be picked up by another publisher before long, but I would want nothing to do with contributing to the enrichment or popularity of Hawley.

  18. This might be a simplistic question – but isn’t there a very basic difference between:
    You cannot refuse me a service that you offer to the public that I want to pay for


    You cannot refuse to give me you money and be my platform because you don’t agree with me
    IANAL, so I’ll be curious to hear if this is a real distinction.

    1. I think there is a real distinction. As I said above, public accommodations sell you something. You pay them, they give you a good or service in response. A book publishing company is buying something from you. They pay you to produce a good for them. The author is not the black guy at the Woolworth’s counter; the author is the Woolworth’s counter – Simon and Schuster is one buying the sandwich. And if they choose not to buy your sandwich, that’s their choice.

  19. Although I think Simon & Schuster should have the right to turn down authors like this for these kinds of reasons, it would be nice if there were a Publishers Free Speech Alliance. Sort of like Fair Trade Certification, it would appeal to consumers who believe in the principle.

      1. On further thought, I think my idea was premature. Let’s just say that IF cancel culture starts getting a very firm grip on the publishing industry, then …

        Dissenting, and hopefully not just right-wing, publishers would agree to some principles. They could cancel book contracts because of poor writing or because customers lost interest in a topic (suppose keto diets suddenly go out of fashion). But not because the author said or did something stupid outside of their book. The standards would have to be simple, even simplistic, to be enforceable. These publishers create a small independent organization that verifies compliance. Then publishers who follow the standard get to advertise it.

        1. I don’t really see any problem with how things work now. The reputation of a writer will always be important to a publisher. The delay between the signing of a publishing contract and actual publication allows time for that reputation to change. A publishing company will virtually always retain the right to cut their losses should an author’s reputation change for the worse.

          As far as cancel culture is concerned, the publishers have no control over that. It is just a part of the overall societal forces involved in an author’s reputation changing. The publishers are victims of cancel culture along with the rest of us.

  20. In my mind, it is the same if someone was writing a book on principles of physics and the editors found during the publishing process that the writer believed the earth was flat, and that earthlings never landed on the moon.

    1. You do realize that his book is not about a flat earth or creationism or anything like that. It’s about the tech industry. So it is not the same thing at all. The book is being withdrawn not because of anything in the book, but because of the author’s political activities.

      1. To continue with that line of thought, creationists and intelligent design proponents quite regularly publish books purported to be about evolution but in actual fact are promulgating their religious beliefs under the guise of scientific dissent.

      2. i respectfully disagree. He’s writing a book about tech, but his current stance, although political, contains views of voting machine technology being corrupt, and using social media tech to push his tyrannical conspiracies.

        i would question his research because he embraces so many untruths in another area in his life.

  21. This is Senator Hawley’s response to the issue.

    “This could not be more Orwellian. Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition…It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published. This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of….”

    I’m pretty sure the Ivy League educated Hawley knows this is not a First Amendment issue.

    1. I strongly suspect that you’re right. This is just spin-doctoring. Not to say that there are NOT elected officials who don’t know the difference, but I think in this case he does. Unfortunately, many among “his constituents” will not know that, and will buy into this interpretation…just as the people who don’t recognize the deliberate errors which drive away the educated will fall for the “Nigerian prince” emails and so on.

      1. I should have been more specific. I’m pretty sure this Yale Law graduate and former clerk for Chief Justice Roberts knows what the First Amendment is.

      2. I find it interesting, and even terrifying, that he’s betting the farm (hitching his wagon?) to this particular base. We know he’s smart, we know he’s calculating, and we know he’s ambitious. And for some reason, he’s decided that yes, playing for a crowd of democracy sacrificing conspiracy theorists is the way to go.

    2. “Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, . . .”

      He’s just telling more lies. The only consideration he gives to his actions is how they might advance his career. And it’s not clear that his constituents support his behavior.

      From his mentor, Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth.

      ““I thought he was special. And I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the U.S. Senate and it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life,” he said Thursday. “I don’t know if he was always like this and good at covering it up or if it happened. I just don’t know.””

      The biggest mistake I’ve ever made

      Trying to keep it short instead of posting a dozen links, editorials in Missouri newspapers are calling for his removal / resignation.

      A major donor (about half his funding) has called him an “anti-democracy populist” and worse, and called for his censure.

      Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) has called him a “dumbass.”

      A cohost of Fox & Friends has said of his antics, “atrocious behavior with regards to the election.”

      The student bar association at the law school where Hawley was a law professor have tweeted, “The Student Bar Association of Mizzou Law calls on Senator Hawley to resign for the sake of our state, for the benefit of our country, but most importantly, for the protection of the rule of law.”

      And more, from all sides. Not sure enough of his constituents will back him on this.

  22. I don’t agree with cancel culture either, but this is different. The traitor-in-chief is of course the main person responsible for what happen on Jan 6, but those sycophants who fanned the flames are just as guilty. Even after the seditious mob was cleared, they still continued to push their leaders verbal diarrhea.
    “Tanto peca el que mata a la vaca como el que le detiene la pata”*.
    (* the guy that kills the cow is just as guilty as the one that held her leg)

      1. My view of the justice system is in agreement with your views as published on this web site, to the extent that I don’t think that the purpose of the justice system should be retribution or punishment, but to protect society from further transgressions and to rehabilitate the transgressors.

        While I think that it is extremely unlikely that any of the people involved in this can be rehabilitated I think that they must face justice and much harm will ensue if justice is not done and not seen to be done.

      2. Yes. He should have no future in the American political discourse. We’re not talking about political disagreements here. We’re talking about the rejection of democratic elections.

      3. Yes, barred from ever holding public office ever again. Clearly learned from the worst and he’s only in this for his own benefit. From the orange clown to all the senators and representatives that have enabled them, should be kicked out. Why would you give treasonous traitors a second chance?

      4. Hawley, as a sitting senator, swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. He was photographed encouraging an insurrectionist mob… (yes, yes, an incompetent mob.. but clearly insurrectionist)

        He should be tried for treason. And yes.. remembered for his treasonous support of American fascism for the remainder of his life, and beyond.
        Benedict Arnold is remembered for a similar betrayal.

  23. Simon & Schuster made the right call here. Josh Hawley and every other Republican politician who flirted with doubts about the fairness and security of the 2020 elections is culpable for the Capitol Hill riot, as are the media figures at outfits like Fox, Brietbart, Newsmax, and One America News who earn money off spreading lies. American citizens should feel no compunction about using every legal, non-violent tool at their disposal to express their disapproval.

    1. I wouldn’t be so sure. A lot of people aren’t going to want to be seen with a Josh Hawley book on their shelves. Also, there are going to be lots of competing books on that subject.

    2. Fiduciary does not pertain to money, necessarily. It is more an obligation to the client. For example a lawyer should give their best legal advice to their client and not based on some personal morality.

      S&S may want step away from their client because they might not be able to meet their fiduciary obligations to their client.

          1. Obligated? No. It is their decision to make, but I disagree with the suppression of viewpoints even when there is no obligation. S&S reviewed his book and accepted it. The book hasn’t changed, so they just don’t like his stand in the Senate. I don’t either, but I don’t see that as a reason to cancel him unless his stand is now going to cost them money.

            1. I don’t see it as a suppression. So not enabling a point of view is a suppression? S&S saw what happened on Wednesday and changed their minds. I don’t see the big deal; with respect to the book.

              Whether S&S put a moral or financial spin on this … it is irrelevant.

      1. Simon & Schuster is a subsidiary of ViacomCBS, a publicly traded company.

        Its fiduciary duties run to its shareholders.

        1. Agreed.

          Does this mean it has no fiduciary duty to its client?

          If not, then the two could well be in conflict and one has to go.

          1. I think corporate officers have a fiduciary duty not to waste corporate assets, including by flushing money down the toilet on losing projects. But I also think corporate officers, especially in the publishing industry, have pretty broad discretion to take chances on potential losing projects, like books by non-established authors.

            Then again, what I remember about corporations from law school you could fit in a thimble. If I knew more about that kinda stuff, I’d probably be a lot richer — but, then, I probably wouldn’t know what’s on the B-sides of all those Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley records, would I? 🙂

            1. A little off topic:
              Ajax Company has contracted to sell 50 widgets to Acme Corp by end of the year. Ajax quickly realizes that it is going to be almost impossible to complete the order on budget.

              They can spend several months trying to see if they can fulfill the order either loosing money or making a profit, or cancel the order now or at a later date.

              I would argue Ajax has a fiduciary duty to Acme to inform them of the situation sooner than later. And this in no way jeopardizes Ajax’s duty to the shareholders.

              Ken … You have the advantage over me … I have six days of learning about company law. I went to the late 1990 music to put it into context but I did not recognize anything.

              1. I don’t think your analogy really works. Supplier contracts really have nothing much in common with a contract between publisher and author. But taking your example at face value, the duty of each party in such a contract would very much depend on the details of the situation, what was being supplied, the wording of the contract. It is hard to generalize and that’s why people companies write contracts. Otherwise, it might all be done with laws.

  24. If this is to be a trend then a whole slew of viewpoints should no longer be published. Positions that are anti-vaccine, climate-change denialist, anti-GMO…all of these things are at least as threatening to humanity as false claims that the election was rigged or “stolen”.

    For me, I’d rather see these books published and then debated openly. Publishers of course have the right to not publish books that won’t turn a profit, or are plagiarized, or are riddled with factual errors.

    However, it is that last justification… “riddled with factual errors”…. that is actually the most problematic to enforce in practice. If that were the standard, many of the books on the following list should have never been published.

    Which is not what I would want to see.

    1. The question is how does one force a publisher to publish something? What are the reasons or benefits for this? That you would like to see these books in the open is fine, but it is not a good reason, at least in my opinion.

      Should journals retract papers that are found to be inaccurate or should they be left open for discussion?

      Asking for a friend?

      1. “Should journals retract papers that are found to be inaccurate…”

        Do you mean “fraudulent” or just “inaccurate”? One would (should) solicit a “yes” response. The other, “no”.

        1. I think that authors that unintentionally publish inaccurate papers would willingly retract the paper themselves? That seems to be what I see.

          But I agree … it does to some extent depend on the severity of the inaccuracy.

          1. Papers commonly contain errors. Not intended errors, but statements that are falsified by further work. This is not a problem and should not require anyone to retract anything. “I used to think X but it has been shown that I was wrong” is one of the more honorable things someone can say. No paper retraction required.

      2. “That you would like to see these books in the open is fine..”

        That’s not the thrust of my argument, and I think that you know that. I’ll state it more succinctly. If publishers refuse to publish books that contain “harmful views”, as determined by someone for some reason, and that contain factual errors, then many books that are currently published, such as most of the popular anti-racist books, would never have been published.

        And that is something that I think we can both see would be a problem. That would be too high a bar for most publishers to clear, especially given the highly subjective nature as to what constitutes “harmful” views.

        As to the claim that some people are making that authors can always “self-publish”…well that is silly. Surely if anyone could self-publish, it would have been Barack Obama, but he didn’t. Why not just write the book, self-publish, and keep all of the profits? Why settle for just a portion of the profits?

        Obviously, major publishers must offer significant value, in terms of quality of the product (the editing process), distribution and ultimately total exposure and sales. For Obama, going with Random House publishers equals a better product, more exposure of his ideas, and ultimately more money in his pocket than self-publishing.

        To shut people out of that and have them “self publish” is akin to sending them and their arguments to obscurity.

        1. Thanks blitz
          I agree and get much of what you say. But does it make sense to force S&S to publish the book? Do they have a fiduciary duty to publish? My wife is writing a book … do publishers have a fiduciary obligation to publish her book? Presumably it has to meet some subjective standard. Would we expect Fact Versus Faith to be Published by a Christian publisher it obviously met some standard somewhere? Frankly this would have been a great venue for publication …. the readers who would need it most.

          We censor all the time. People get banned on this blog. While I might not agree with some, I will uphold our host’s right to do so … for a variety of reasons 😉

          1. “But does it make sense to force S&S to publish the book?”

            No. But neither should they feel pressure not to publish a book because it does not comport with their personal ideological bent or they are afraid of the Twitter mob.

            “Would we expect Fact Versus Faith to be Published by a Christian publisher it obviously met some standard somewhere?”

            No. This is not a valid analogy though, because a Christian publisher clearly favors one view of reality over others. I wasn’t aware that S&S was an activist publishing arm of the left. If I’m mistaken and it is, then sure, they should never publish anything that doesn’t contribute to their ideological mission. So, I should never expect to see anything from Coleman Hughes from S&S, because he disagrees with the overriding BLM narrative.

              1. If they were worried about the content of the book and the credibility of the author, one wonders why they signed the contract to begin with.

                Clearly, we should leery of any claims from S&S that the are doing this for ethical reasons. You are correct that this appears to be 100% a business decision.

                I guess I am more concerned with the climate of intolerance of different ideas that motivates these decisions, and it’s political one-sidedness.

                If only wingnut conservatives are going to be canceled, and not the wingnut lefties who seem not to raise the ire of the Twitter mob (or whoever else is scaring the publishers), then the available books for public consumption will shift evermore leftward in their viewpoints.

                And as the average shifts to the left, even reasonable, but right leaning books, may appear unacceptable and not get published.

              2. “If they were worried about the content of the book and the credibility of the author…”

                People can change their opinion of other people based on events. This is universal and should surprise nobody. In fact, one should be suspect of people who are incapable of changing their opinion of things as life moves along.

            1. No. But neither should they feel pressure not to publish a book

              I think it is not possible not to feel pressure because of events … regardless whether it is from storming of government buildings or twitter

              I wasn’t aware that S&S was an activist publishing arm of the left.

              I will take this as rhetorical, S&S seem broad in their political publishing, Trump. Cheney, Beck vs H Clinton, Woodward, Carter.

              What legitimate reasons (other than potentially losing money) are there for not publishing Hawley?

              I am more concerned with the climate of intolerance of different ideas

              I agree whole heartedly. But what if a publisher fears a book might fuel that intolerance? S&S have displayed their tolerance for the two sides of the so-called spectrum. I don’t know what’s in the book that would cause them concern in the light of recent events; and I don’t know if the concerns are valid.

              But end of the day I think it is their call. And I would not want to be one adding to the pressure one way or the other.

  25. I just read a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on-line) in which one of Hawley’s major and earliest backers, a Joplin businessman, has strongly rebuked him. What the paper’s writers termed “buyer’s remorse”. It was pretty blistering. It appears to me that he has burned his bridges with all the old-line Republicans, and will be relying on the Trump-Hawley base (at this point they are attached at the hip) for his support. Wonder how many of them buy, or even read, books?

  26. I’ll have to disagree. The publishing firm is a private entity and those in charge get to make the decisions that they are comfortable with. If they feel that they can perhaps do some justice somehow by making Hawley find some one else to publish his book, regardless of the reason, I think that is absolutely their prerogative. If they can sleep better, so be it. I was very disgusted by Hawley’s actions and would not want to be associated with him in any way. I don’t blame anyone who works for the firm one bit. They are beholden to no one but themselves. Let the chips fall where they may.

  27. There’s a distinction between cancelations based merely on complaints received regarding an author or speaker, and cancellations based on conduct the author or speaker engaged in after the speaking invitation was extended or book contract signed. (Wasn’t it John Maynard Keynes who said “when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”) Certainly, for example, an author’s committing a crime of moral turpitude after signing a book contract would constitute sufficient grounds to warrant a publisher’s nixing the deal.

    Here, Josh Hawley advanced an entirely bogus constitutional argument, one that Hawley — a Yale law school grad, a former law clerk for Chief Justice Roberts, a former law school professor, and a former state attorney general — had to have known was entirely bogus, to advance a corrupt president’s attempted autogolpe, in a cynical effort to boost his own presidential aspirations.

    I’m loathe ever to see a speaking invitation or a book contract withdrawn for any reason. But whether Hawley’s conduct warranted his cancellation is, I think, a matter on which reasonable minds might differ.

      1. I must admit I don’t see this as some great issue – breaking a contract, that is. Breaking contracts is part of business not some crime. And the parties that enter into contracts know this and they know the court system will provide a remedy if required.

        Of course breaking contracts has ramifications for both parties. Costs, time, good will etc

        1. I doubt they broke their contract. I can’t imagine a publisher signing a contract that obligates them to complete the publishing process. Anything’s possible, of course, but I suspect Hawley’s claim that he’s going to sue is BS.

          1. Again … I don’t see this as a big deal. What are the remedies?
            Interest on the profits from the lost time to the start of sales. His loss of goodwill on the Hawley brand?

            And as Jerry and you point out there maybe some clause that protects S&S.

            1. The only interest I have in any of this is the free-speech issue (albeit freedom of speech beyond the scope of the First Amendment).

      2. The article might be a relevant and harsh assessment of Hawley’s responsibility.

        Pertinent quote (from article) :

        Former Missouri Sen. John C. Danforth, an actual man of honor, told The Star that he blamed his former protégé for Wednesday’s riot. “But for him it wouldn’t have happened. But for him the approval of the Electoral College votes would have been simply a formality. He made it into something that it was a specific way to express the view that the election was stolen. He was responsible.”

        1. Danforth is a man of honor. I remember when he was the senator who sponsored Clarence Thomas in front of the judiciary committee at his confirmation hearings.

          Personally I thought Anita Hill was telling the truth, and Thomas lying. But I had to admire the loyalty Danforth showed in standing by his man.

          Which goes to show, he’s not one to jettison Hawley lightly.

  28. “So, much as I dislike Republicans and despise those who sought to overturn an already-certified election, I don’t call for all of their books to be canceled or rejected from now on.”

    Neither do I Jerry. The challenges, though stupid, were legal. Fair enough.

    I am reacting to his egging on the riot mob from the Capitol grounds. That’s enough in my opinion.

        1. Yes, though perhaps he didn’t know they were going to try to invade the Capitol. In his mind, he could have simply been just expressing solidarity with a pro-Trump demonstration. I doubt if many knew that the police guarding the building would let the demonstrators into the building. If he had, he might have had second thoughts of entering it himself.

          1. The same can probably be said for many of the people in that mob. But they came to the scene encouraged by their leaders who spoke in very violence-encouraging ways. This strikes me as someone being an accessory to the crime even though they didn’t enter the bank and take the money themselves.

        2. In the old Howard Baker Watergate formulation, that depends, regarding the raised-fist photo, on what he knew and when he knew it (vis-à-vis the protest turning lawless).

  29. That tweet from Shrier is the most cynical kind of slippery slope argument. It would only make sense if United, Marriot or Visa paid you to use their services.

    Also, as far as I know, Allen isn’t a Democrat. He probably would identify as a liberal and votes Democrat, but that doesn’t say much about a person given the choices available.

    1. Wasn’t there a flashback in Annie Hall to “Alvy” starting out as a stand-up working the college circuit in the late 1950s telling a joke about dating a Republican woman. with the punchline “I was trying to do to her what Eisenhower is doing to the nation.”

      For some reason, your comment made me think of that. 🙂

  30. “But his role, misguided as it was, was legal, and within the bounds of the Constitution.”

    It wasn’t misguided. It was a deliberate ploy to sow distrust in a legitimate democratic election. What if enough GOP senators were willing to vote to overturn the election? How do you think democracies become authoritarian regimes? They use a combination of violence and “legal” measures. Hawley and Trump are two sides of the same coin. Whether S&S is guided by economic self interest or not, they’re right in claiming their obligation is to their responsibilities as democratic citizens and not the publication of a seditious senator.

  31. Another thing to keep in mind is that Hawley will probably have little trouble in finding another publisher, just as Allen did.

    And Simon & Schuster are a business, not a platform for speech (that’s just a side effect), and the decision they made reflects their business interests. Even if them dropping Hawley is a breach of contract that might land them in court, they’ve probably figured that will ultimately be less expensive for both their immediate and long term interests. They’re the ones who sent out the press release, so I doubt what they’re doing is a breach of contract — they cancel books on enough of a regular basis that it must be written in. As much as their PR might imply otherwise, it’s not personal, it’s business.

  32. i think he lost his book deal because he lost all credibility as an author.

    He espoused debunked conspiracy theories.

    And it is also looks hypocritical to call out tyranny when you seem pretty happy to support it (as look as it is your preferred version).

    no publisher wants an author with that little credibility. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  33. Triumph of the Ill. Killer – works on many levels. 🙂

    Hotels like Marriot are “common carriers” like trains and airlines who operate in the stream of commerce so are not allowed to discriminate based on those kind of characteristics. …. I think (it has been awhile..)
    D.A., J.D.

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