White House Pressured Amazon to Censor Books Questioning Safety, Efficacy of Vaccines During Pandemic

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Originally published on www.thevaccinereaction.org by Amber Baker

White House officials pressured Amazon in 2021 to censor and minimize access to books on its online site that questioned the safety or efficacy of vaccines, according to e-mails released earlier this month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman, U.S. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio. The campaign to curtail any vaccine-related book sales during the height of the pandemic was led by President Biden's Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response, Andrew Slavitt, and sought to avoid the spread of "propaganda and misinformation."1

"Who can we talk to about the high levels of propaganda and misinformation and disinformation of [sic] Amazon?" Slavitt wrote to Amazon in a Mar. 2, 2021, e-mail.1

In initial discussions, Amazon officials discouraged "a manual intervention" to censor or remove certain book titles from populating in search results, concerned that it would be too obvious and lead to further criticism. "We will not be doing a manual intervention today," one e-mail between Amazon executives read. "The team/PR feels very strongly that it is too visible, and will further compound the Harry/Sally narrative (which is getting the Fox News treatment today apparently), and won't fix the problem long-term … because of customer behavior associates."1

The Amazon officials, whose names were redacted from the e-mails, reveal that another individual at the company "gave very direct guidance to the teams to be boring and not do anything that is visible and will draw more attention."1

Amazon Implements Do-Not-Promote Policy for "Anti-Vax" Books

Getting on the same page about how to successfully censor free speech on one of the most visited websites on the internet without it being too noticeable to the public proved difficult to achieve for the two parties. "Is the Admin asking us to remove books, or are they more concerned about search results/order (or both)?" reads a company e-mail.2

Still, after a Mar. 9, 2021 meeting between Amazon officials and the White House, after Amazon defended its book-selling practices in a Mar. 2 e-mail, Amazon implemented a "do not promote" policy for what they described as "anti-vax books whose primary purpose is to persuade readers vaccines are unsafe or ineffective." As for the exact parameters used to define such "anti-vax" books, no information seems to exist.1

One of the books flagged by White House officials during the campaign was "Anyone Who Tells You Vaccines Are Safe and Effective Is Lying" by Dr. Vernon Cole. The author, who describes himself as having "campaigned on many issues involving both people and animals and has as a result made many enemies among powerful pressure groups defending the interests of drug and food companies," has sold more than two million books and authored dozens of others that question conventional Western medicine.1

Upon the discovery of the book when exploring the site, Slavitt wrote to an Amazon executive, "If you search for 'vaccines' under books, I see what comes up. I haven't looked beyond that, but if that's what's on the surface, it's concerning."1

According to the e-mails, one reason Amazon conceded to White House officials to implement the sitewide censorship was a concern about BuzzFeed News publishing a "hit" piece on them. In an internal e-mail sent three days after the White House meeting, an Amazon executive mentions that they "anticipate that Buzzfeed will run a negative story look at COVID-19 related books on Amazon." Three days later, Buzzfeed published an article critical of Amazon under the headline, "Amazon Is Pushing Readers Down 'A Rabbit Hole' of Conspiracies about The Coronavirus."3

Biden Administration "Weaponized Government" to Implement Censorship

​​Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to encourage Americans to get the latest COVID shots, officials acknowledge it does not prevent infection or transmission of of the virus. In fact, a recent study funded by Pfizer revealed that people, who received any Pfizer Comirnaty mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) COVID shot prior to the latest updated version of the product, had similar outcomes as unvaccinated people. Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) now is also a recognized complication from the shot, especially in adolescents and young men. This widely documented information about the COVID shots would have been included in the "misinformation" the White House urged Amazon to hide or minimize just a few years ago.1,4

"Amazon caved to the pressure from the Biden White House to censor speech," Rep. Jordan said.1

Slavitt was involved in other initiatives to censor free speech in America. Court documents revealed that he and other White House officials urged Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms to remove content they opposed and ban the users responsible for publishing the content. Slavitt was also behind de-platforming Alex Berenson, former New York Times reporter who publicly shared questions, concerns, and data about the dangers and low efficacy of the COVID shots.1

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in March, after a lawsuit filed by attorneys general in Missouri and Louisiana alleged that the Biden administration pressured multiple social media companies to suppress freedom of speech related to the pandemic. Last summer, a U.S. district court ruled that administration officials colluded with companies including Twitter and Facebook to remove or limit visibility to certain content over concerns it would lead to vaccine hesitancy.


References

1 Fereccio S. Biden aides pressed Amazon on 'vaccine misinformation,' reducing 'visibility' of COVID-related books. The Washington Times Feb. 5, 2024.

2 Nama V. Amazon 'censored' COVID-19 vaccine books after 'feeling pressure' from Biden White House: docs. The New York Post Feb. 5, 2024.

3 Zimmerman D. Biden White House Pressured Amazon to Censor Vaccine-Skeptical Books, Internal Emails Reveal. National Review Feb. 6, 2024.

4 Stieber Z. People Who Received Older Pfizer COVID Vaccines Had Similar Outcomes as Unvaccinated: StudyThe Epoch Times Jan. 5, 2024.

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