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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Penguin goes neo-con? (plus an "antidote" - at the bottom of this item - to the question posed)

Last year, Penguin Books (publishers of the Ace Books line of science fiction, among other things) announced the launching of their "dedicated conservative imprint", called Sentinel. I first heard of this imprint through a comment, which I had noted in passing, on one of the message boards over at Democratic Underground. The comment made brief mention of a report that one of Sentinel's editors had previously been employed at Regnery Publishing. A little bit of searching coughed up the following tidbit from a 2003 Penguin Books press release (which you can obtain for yourself here):
Bernadette Malone, who joined Sentinel as an editor in June, was previously with Regnery Publishing in Washington DC, where she edited three New York Times bestsellers on conservative themes. Her writing has also appeared in National Review and The Weekly Standard, and she remains affiliated with the Manchester (NH) Union Leader, whose editorial page she edited before joining Regnery.
Seems rather innocuous, doesn't it? Well, Regnery Publishing (whose founding family appears to be a rather choice piece of work) has long been the publisher of the kind of right-wing-nut propaganda books - they are the publisher of Unfit for Command - that the mainstream publishers wouldn't touch with a ten-foot anything. Here are a few samples of what Regnery has published in recent years:
Inventing the AIDS Virus, Peter Duesberg, 1996. “Peter Duesberg, M.D., an eminent scientist and a pioneer in the discovery of retroviruses (such as HIV), challenges the widely accepted belief that HIV is the cause of AIDS”

The Myth of Heterosexual Aids, Michael Fumento, 1993. “Fumento exposes one of the disease’s most damaging rumors: that AIDS is no longer anchored to the high risk groups of homosexual men and intravenous drug abusers but is spreading from heterosexual to heterosexual through intercourse at epidemic speeds”

Witness, Whittaker Chambers, 1980. “In this book Chambers recounts his difficult childhood, his early work with the Communist Party, his later renunciation of communism, the Hiss/Chambers case, and the price he paid for his affiliation with communism”

Leftism Revisited: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Pol Pot, Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, 1990. “Kuehnelt-Leddihn dissects the nature of the Leftist mind and provides definitive descriptions of Left and Right, illustrating why the Left includes not only Marxism, but National Socialism and Democracy”

Disney: The Mouse Betrayed, Peter and Rochelle Schweizer, 1998. “In this expose, the authors reveal new and exclusive information on the Disney Company that Michael Eisner doesn’t want America to know”

[Source]
Among their authors list are such "luminaries" of the right as Patrick J. Buchanan, Dinesh D'Souza (Illiberal Education), singer Charlie Daniels (Ain’t No Rag: Freedom, Family, and the Flag), billionaire Steve Forbes (The New Birth of Freedom), NRA honcho Wayne Lapierre (Shooting Straight) and his fellow gun nut John R. Lott, Jr (The Bias Against Guns), former Nixonite G. Gordon Liddy, David Limbaugh (brother of Rush)...the list goes on (and on....and on...). Oh yes, Ann ("right-wing-bitch-goddess") Coulter is also listed as one of their authors...

Regnery's latest publication is In Defense of Internment, by Michelle ("right-wing-bitch-goddess-wannabe") Malkin.

There's a speculation current (and, I suspect, a correct one) that Regnery owes the success of its "bestsellers" (especially the ones that make the New York Times' bestseller list) more to bulk purchases of their titles by the likes of (very) wealthy right-wingers like Richard Mellon Scaife than the quality of their authors writings...

But back to Penguin Books for a moment...

I suspect that over time we will see a few of Regnery's more prominent authors gradually find a new home over at the Sentinel imprint (and I don't think I'm going too far out on limb here, since it would appear they have an editorial "friend in court", so to speak). It stikes me as being a good move for them, because they would increase their (presumed) authoral legitimacy by being published under the Penguin imprint...

And giving right-wing-nut authors more legitimacy is a frightening prospect.
_____________________________________

As promised, I give you....

The "Antidote":

(and a very big "THANK YOU!" to Shaula - again - for pointing me to it)

For a good lefty screed about Regnery, Malkin et al (and it's really good - read the comments, too), you should go here.

You can also go and sign up for The Progressive Book Club if you wish (like I did).