Saturday, July 02, 2005

Publisher decries progressive activist's efforts as censorship

I am finding it harder to maintain my vow of vocabulary silence about using labels like "liberal", "conservative", "progressive", "reactionary" and the like. So this entry will include a designation of activist David Brock as "progressive." I don't know Brock at all, I just know that he castigated Penguin Publishers for releasing a defamatory book about Hillary Clinton.

Publishers' Weekly reports on Penguin's response. Barbara Nicolosi told a story recently of attending the annual Humanitas Awards and hearing tirades on censorship by the religious right. So it made me happy to hear a publisher decrying Brock's attack as censorship:

Penguin: No to Censorship

by Steven Zeitchik, PW Daily -- 6/22/2005

Penguin has responded to progressive activist David Brock, who yesterday assailed Ed Klein and publisher Penguin/Sentinel for what he called an "obviously false and defamatory" book about Hillary and sought "a public explanation of what, if any, editorial standards and fact-checking processes the Penguin Group applies to its imprint."

Penguin's statement through a spokesperson today did not detail that process but instead expressed support for its author while implying that Brock's criticism of the book amounted to censorship.

Citing the "author's responsibility to assure factual accuracy" the spokesperson nonetheless said that Klein's book "received the same legal scrutiny that Penguin undertakes for other nonfiction books that it publishes, and during that process the author satisfied Sentinel that he could support statements in the book now under attack."

In the most intense part of a generally legalistic rebuttal, the spokesperson said that "The book publishing industry has always fought against censorship of any kind" and added that "[I]t is also important to note that Penguin Group (USA) has never let public opinion or the media dictate what we will or will not publish."

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