Was Dinesh D’Souza’s Book Banned from the New York Times Bestseller List?
June 21, 2014 - 6:59 am
The Washington Examiner is charging the New York Times with an insidious form of censorship.
The way the Times calculates sales and assigns rankings for new books is a closely guarded secret. But the facts strongly suggest an element of bias in the Times‘ refusal to include D’Souza’s book on its influential non-fiction bestseller list.
The Washington Examiner reports:
His new book, on sale for three weeks, isn’t just absent from the top 10 lists already set for the next two Sundays, but totally missing from the list of the nation’s top 25 nonfiction hardcovers despite having sales higher than 13 on the latest Times chart.
According to sales reports provided to Secrets, D’Souza’s new book America: Imagine a World Without Her, sold 4,915 in the first week and 5,592 in the second week. Had it been included on the upcoming June 22 Times hardcover nonfiction list, it would have ranked No. 8, and then No. 11 on the June 29 list that puts Clinton’s sales at 85,721. The lists are widely circulated in the publishing industry before they go public.
The Times is somewhat mysterious in how it calculates its list, but it includes several books selling well under 3,000 copies in a week. A spokeswoman said, “We let the rankings speak for themselves and are confident they are accurate.”
America is expected to explode when the accompanying movie debuts next month. In America, D’Sousa slams Obama’s agenda and targets Clinton too — maybe one reason the Times hasn’t recognized it.
“They are part of the propaganda arm of the Obama administration,” D’Souza told Secrets from Philadelphia, where his book and movie bus tour had stopped before traveling to Washington on Friday. His Obama’s America was a Times No. 1 best-seller.
“It’s their newspaper, and they have a right to rig their list anyway they want, but if they are doing it, people should know,” he said.
D’Souza, who last month pleaded guilty to one criminal count of making illegal contributions in the names of others, said the list is important to boosting sales. “It matters to be on it,” he said.
But to ignore his latest best seller, he said, “the Times is falling short of its journalistic and editorial responsibilities in a much a bigger way than keeping me off the list.”
The fact that D’Souza has already had a #1 bestseller on the list also suggests bias is at work. It’s not like D’Souza is some rookie author being published by an obscure house. Regnery Publishing regularly has top-selling titles and D’Souza has been a successful author for a couple of decades.
Obama’s America was one of the largest grossing documentary films of all time in addition to being a #1 non-fiction bestseller, and America is also expected to do well at the box office. Isn’t the Times worried about its credibility?
Why should they be? The only people who subscribe to the Times are probably in agreement that D’Souza’s book should be disappeared. The editors couldn’t care less what a few conservatives think about censoring Mr. D’Souza’s work. If they stay true to form, there won’t be a review of either the book or the movie. Or, if they do deign to recognize the book or movie, you can probably guess what those reviews would be like.
The Times doesn’t have the power any more to make or break a publication or film. But the bestseller list is still influential in publishing circles, and not including D’Souza’s work when it deserves to be may mean some lost sales, but hardly a disaster. Those wishing to read it will find it.
And there’s nothing the New York Times can do to stop that.