In USA Today, journalist and author Michael Wolff explained to critics of Breitbart Senior Editor MILO’s upcoming book Dangerous that “the publishing businesses is a business,” pointing out that the publication of the book was inevitable given the profits that stood to be made.
“The traditional view, at least since publishing, in the late Victorian age, became a money-making and therefore respectable industry, is that if you publish it, you own it. You were not only legally responsible for it, but it firmly attached to your reputation,” Wolff explained. “This led to protocols about editing, fact checking, and the development of a long cannon of journalism standards and ethics. It also led to the idea of publishing brands. What you published defined you in the community and in the marketplace.”
The Yiannopoulos book is a particularly good example of the breakdown of this view. Book imprints were once the staunchest cultural gatekeepers, with issues of taste and sales closely twinned, and with the decision to publish resting, often, on a small group of editors, or even on a single shoulder. You knew who was responsible. But then a massive consolidation of the business occurred, mixing and mashing brands, and, with new financial dictates, in essence, commoditizing books.
Any book that makes financial sense to publish, no matter its nature, will, practically speaking, be published by any publisher. Beyond a book’s financial bona fides, there is no real vetting, or editing, or concerns about taste. Most of the book industry is now a business focused on creating products—often novelty products connected to a celebrity—for specific market segments. A new crop of conservative publishers were suddenly making lots of money publishing conservative books. Hence, every major publisher hurried to established its own conservative imprint — the Yiannopoulos book is published by Simon & Schuster’s Threshold Editions—often run by liberals. In a sense, this is an example of the media overcoming its bias. In another sense, it’s purely cynical: we believe none of this, but the money’s good.
Read the full article at USA Today.