[COMMENTARY] The Republican Publishing Racket
Simon & Schuster used to be a respected publishing house. Now it’s the home of traitorous grifting seditious insurrectionists backed by GOP campaign funds instead of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors
The powerhouse publishers quietly announced late Thursday night that it had scrapped plans to distribute a book by one of the Louisville police officers who shot Breonna Taylor during the botched drug raid last year that resulted in her death. The book by the officer, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly is being published by Post Hill Press, a Tennessee-based house whose specialties include Christian and conservative political books.
The officer’s book, “The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy,” was to be distributed by Simon & Schuster, which had said in a statement earlier Thursday that it had no editorial control over book releases by smaller publishing houses for which it provides third-party distribution, including Post Hill Press. But hours later, after news about the book had drawn sharp criticism, Simon & Schuster reversed course on the project. “Like much of the American public, earlier today Simon & Schuster learned of plans by distribution client Post Hill Press to publish a book by Jonathan Mattingly,” the publisher said in a statement. “We have subsequently decided to not be involved in the distribution of this book.”
Sound familiar? It should. Because Simon & Schuster did the exact same thing with Josh Hawley’s book after public outcry at their announcement about his memoir. It was instead distributed by another one of their imprints, Cornerstone Books. Simon & Schuster also just signed former Vice President Mike Pence to a TWO-book deal, because there’s just too much treasoning and Nazi stuff for one book, so he needs more space.
Just putting it out there that I still don’t have a book deal but Mike Pence, Josh Hawley, & Matt Gaetz all have one. I guess I better start treasoning & sex trafficking or something because I guess that’s how publishing works now 🤷🏻♀️ #SignTara #BookTwitter #SeePinnedTweet https://t.co/ZV0NFIXec2
— Tara Dublin, Untapped Writing Goldmine (@taradublinrocks) April 8, 2021
Beleaguered Florida Man Matt Gaetz released his memoir “Firebrand” earlier this year. Donald Trump, Jr. hit the bestseller list with his book. So did Ted Cruz. But how, you might ask? HOW are these men who commit heinous crimes (more often against women than not) not only getting published, but are also making the best-seller lists while actually talented writers (like the person writing this commentary,*cough cough*) never see their work in print?
The Son of Sam law prevents serial killers and their estates from profiting from murder. The same should apply to the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor. Kill the book deal. #BreonnaTaylor
— Mike Palleschi (@PalleschiMike) April 16, 2021
BECAUSE MONEY, kids. You knew it before finishing the above paragraph. There’s no money in a book by an unknown Twitter personality with 70K followers (hello, me again) but a controversial insurrectionist with ties to Trump? Hire that ghostwriter and MINE THAT MAGA GOLD, Simon & Schuster.
Simon and Schuster:
How it started vs. How it's going 😒 pic.twitter.com/Qii56mctOv
— Caribbean Girl Reading The World (@BookOfCinz) April 15, 2021
Just make sure you mine it straight from the source, which is and isn’t the consumer. It’s the Republican Party itself, appropriating campaign donations for political reasons not entirely connected to the author/candidate themselves.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former senator Jim DeMint committed nearly $90,000 to bulk purchases of Tom Cotton’s book, “Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour of Arlington National Cemetery,” which became a bestseller. In February, the organization paid nearly $65,000 to Regnery Publishing, Ted Cruz’s publisher, for advance copies of Josh Hawley’s forthcoming book. Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s memoir and social critique, “Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage,” soared to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published last year. The book helped raise the former Navy SEAL’s profile and burnished his credentials as a rising star among freshman congressmen. As it happens, Crenshaw and his publisher, Hachette Book Group, got a little help from his Republican friends.
What do Dan Crenshaw, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Donald Trump Jr. have in common? All benefited from massive orders of their books by Republican political organizations. https://t.co/eddWklwB5U
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) April 17, 2021
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect GOP candidates to Congress, spent nearly $400,000 on bulk purchases of the book. The organization acquired 25,500 copies through two online booksellers, enough to fuel “Fortitude’s” ascent up the bestseller lists. The NRCC said it gave away copies as incentives to donors (despite the fact that it was already using donor money to pay for the books in the first place), raising $1.5 million in the process. And they did the same exact thing for Don Jr.
Ted Cruz’s staff spent $154,000 of his supporters’ funds on copies of his book, and an additional $18,000 to promote it via Facebook ads reading “Buy my new book!” and “Order it here” over photos of Cruz. Both actions increased sales of “One Vote Away,” which in turn allegedly triggered illegal royalty payments to Cruz. Seems really bad, Ted.
The GOP is using campaign funds to falsely boost book sales, which then rockets those books to the top of bestseller lists. Almost no one actually reads these books, which I’m guessing are always purchased at a Costco. They’re just used as props to sign at GOP photo ops. They probably end up on shelves next to the unread Bill O’Reilly and John Grisham books, doomed to collect dust.
Do better than this, publishers. But especially you, Simon & Schuster. You need to rehab your image. Stop looking at the bottom line and look at the content. Publish my fun rock and roll love story inspired by Dave Grohl that has nothing to do with committing any crimes against our country instead! Champion the little people, not the people who helped stage a coup. That’s what publishing used to be, and can be again if you focus on what matters instead of focusing on money.