The Corner

PC Culture

Amazon Prime Cancels Shelby Steele

(Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

Though most of the focus is on Twitter’s White Knighting of Joe Biden, it’s also worth noting that many other voices are inhibited by Big Tech because they fail to conform to leftist orthodoxy.

Just today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Shelby Steele’s documentary What Killed Michael Brown?, which explores race relations in the United States, has been rejected because it “doesn’t meet Prime Video’s content quality expectations.” Amazon claims the documentary, which Steele made with his son Eli, isn’t “eligible for publishing” and that they “will not be accepting resubmission of this title and this decision may not be appealed.”

Shelby is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a well-regarded intellectual who has been writing on race in America for decades. Steele received a National Humanities Medal and won a National Book Critics Circle Award for his essay collection The Content of Our Character. In the same year, he produced an Emmy-Award winning documentary “Seven Days in Bensonhurst,” about Yusef Hawkins, a black teenager who was murdered by a white mob in 1989.

I don’t mention Shelby’s impressive resume as an appeal to authority. I mention it to put all of this in perspective. Here are some of the non-fiction efforts that apparently do meet Amazon’s “quality expectations”:

Zero: an investigation into 9/11

UFO Chronicles: The Smoking Gun

Jamie: Drag Queen at 16

Everything You Wanted to Know About Gay Porn Stars but Were Afraid to Ask

There are hundreds more truly preposterous movies and documentaries streaming on Amazon Prime right now. The notion that the quality of Steele’s efforts doesn’t rise to that of a vaccine conspiracy film or anything featuring Howard Zinn or Michael Moore in it is risible.

“There were no technical issues with the upload of the video file, caption file, and artwork,” Eli tells me. “Had there been, they would have simply pointed out the problem and asked me to correct it. The fact that they took the step to say that I could not appeal at all is very telling. If you look at the other Ferguson-related documentaries up on Amazon, you will see that we use the same news footage and follow a similar format when it comes to our original footage — interviews, b-roll footage, etc. The only difference between my film and those films is the voice behind the images.”

Which is almost surely why Amazon won’t stream it.

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