Amazon has refused to explain why it suspended sales last week of “Dispatches From Bitter America – Culture War Stories from a Gun-Toting, Chicken-Eating, Son-of-a-Baptist,” a book written by Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes.
Amazon lifted the temporary ban after a national outcry from grassroots conservatives including the Family Research Council.
The book, which examines President Obama’s attacks on religious liberty and the culture, came under intense attack from liberals who posted phony reviews of the book on Amazon. It was widely acclaimed and received strong reviews from well-known conservatives like Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, David Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin.
“While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item,” Amazon wrote in a posting on the book’s page.
An Amazon spokesman said they had received complaints of “product quality issues” from customers. They said it had nothing to do with the book’s conservative content.
However the company refused repeated requests to explain the exact nature of the complaints.
“I’ve been asked not to dive into specific details,” the spokesman told Fox News Radio.
The spokesman said once they received the complaints, they launched an investigation and determined the “complaints were without merit.”
“Since they are not fully disclosing, they clearly have something to hide,” said Frank Breeden, of Premiere Authors and Starnes’ literary agent. “No one hides good news.”
Starnes’ book has been subjected to an orchestrated attack on Amazon by liberal critics who posted a series of fake reviews – driving down the book’s ratings. Amazon refused repeated requests from B&H Publishing Group to have the fake reviews removed.
The New York Times reported it’s not the first time that Amazon book reviews are becoming “attack weapons, intended to sink new books as soon as they are published.”
The Times story detailed an attack launched against a new book about Michael Jackson. Like Starnes’ book, the critics took credit for Amazon’s “briefly removing the book from sale.”
“Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed — and perhaps unjustly killed,” Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist told the Times. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.”
Breeden called the process an “Amazon Bomb Campaign” and he told The Blaze most of the victims are conservative writers.
“In this particular case, there are these Amazon bomb campaigns that occur — and it happens a lot with conservative authors whenever they raise the ire of opposition,” he told The Blaze.
Breeden said he was “furious” about the incident and “very concerned” – suggesting to The Blaze that it could send a negative message to brick and mortar booksellers.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, penned a column about what he called the “dangerous trend of online censorship.
“The ‘customers’ (a.k.a. liberal activists) had flooded Todd’s page with fake reviews of the book until the company pulled the plug,” Perkins wrote. “It was a stunning display of liberal censorship from Amazon.com–which sells far more objectionable and obscene material than a book by a mainstream radio host.”
“Yet this tiny protest from an intolerant fringe was all it took to strip the book from the shelves and expose the company’s true agenda,” Perkins wrote.
Starnes is the host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on more than 200 radio stations around the nation. He’s also a frequent contributor to Fox & Friends and Fox Nation. His book explored the Obama Administration’s war “Bitter Americans.”
“It’s especially relevant because Todd lays out in detail the Obama Administration’s war on religious liberty,” Palin wrote to her Facebook readers. “Todd sheds light on this and other fundamental transformation acts using homespun humor and Twainesque irony.”
Mark Levin, one of the nation’s most popular talk radio hosts, called the book compelling.
“This book is great,” he said on The Mark Levin Show. “A lot of heavy stuff but on the other hand, you deal with it in a way where you don’t go to the roof and jump off.”
And Hannity praised Starnes’ “Southern sensibilities mixed with homespun humor to take us along his journey across America.”