Rush Limbaugh spent the day terribly out of sorts that Costco had pulled Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book from its shelves. Costco indicated that it had been pulled for business reasons - they’d only sold 3,600 copies of the book since its release on June 2, so it simply wasn’t selling briskly enough to keep in stock. Rush Limbaugh smelled a liberal conspiracy afoot, noting that Jim Sinegal is a huge Obama supporter. [A clarification: Costco cofounders Jim Sinegal and Jeff Brotman have both been huge Democratic donors for years.]
Um, if Jim Sinegal and Jeff Brotman had a political vendetta against Dinesh D'Souza, they could've just sent down a decree that the stores wouldn't stock ANY of his books to start with. Even better, they would have banished ALL books published by Regnery – that gets rid of D’Souza and the vast majority of other conservative authors. Sort of seems like that would be the easiest way to accomplish their supposed nefarious goal of suppressing conservative speech.
Let’s review the numbers: Costco reported 3,600 unit sales since the book's release in their 469 stores nationwide - that's about 7 units sold PER STORE over 5 ½ weeks, and about 1.5 units sold per store in the course of last week. That's pathetic. It's not in line with Costco's high volume, low price & low profit margin business model. Of course they pulled it for business reasons. By contrast, I wonder how many thousand tomes Costco’s sold that were authored by Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, and on and on. I bet it’s a very big number.
And yet Rush Limbaugh got all to fulminating about "liberal censorship." Since "all publicity is good publicity," D'Souza and his publisher, Judith Regan, have probably loved the whole firestorm. The media firestorm may have even been Regan’s brain-child – it sounds like her brand of evil genius. Perhaps they’ll all be able to get their heart rates back to normal now that Costco reversed course, citing a sudden surge in sales.
One final thought: even if Costco had pulled the book because the corporation's founders just didn’t like the message it communicated, under prevailing conservative logic, wouldn't that be *their* First Amendment Right as freedom-lovin' capitalists at the helm of a corporation they created? Or are captains of industry only entitled to have their businesses reflect their religious/moral/political values when those values fit in with the Conservative Line?