NEW YORK – Filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza contends Costco’s claim that poor sales and not political ideology motivated its decision to stop selling “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” which is the No. 1 bestselling book on Amazon.com, doesn’t make sense.
“If that’s the best they’re gonna come up, then I think something underhanded has been going on,” he told WND in an interview Tuesday.
“I’ve been trying to think of rational explanations other than ideological solidarity with Obama to account for this, and I’m running out of them,” he said.
As WND reported, Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti has confirmed that the big-box wholesaler ordered the books removed just as the companion movie of the same name was released over the July 4 holiday weekend.
Since the interview with D’Souza Tuesday morning, Galanti has informed WND that Coscto will reorder the book. He insists the decision to pull the book was not politically motivated. But he noted that “because of all the hoo-rah,” referring to the flood of opposition from customers in response to Costco’s decision reported by WND, some of his stores “have sold more of D’Souza’s book today than they sold in the previous four weeks combined.”
Galanti, who contacted WND late Monday night after WND broke the story earlier that day, insisted the decision was based solely on sales, arguing Costco’s aim is to market books that show up on the New York Times bestseller list.
The book will make the New York Times list July 13.
In this midterm election year, “America” is a strong rebuttal of the progressive ideology behind President Obama’s policies, which have been supported by Costco co-founder and director Jim Sinegal, a major Democrat donor and a speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that nominated the president. A Washington Post political reporter has noted Obama’s “romance” with the nation’s second-largest retailer.
The book, which was written by D’Souza, complements the movie, providing the intellectual underpinnings of the ideas presented.
In May, D’Souza pleaded guilty to a campaign-finance charge that many believe was payback for his 2012 film, “2016: Obama’s America” and his then-upcoming “America.”
Meanwhile, according to the Hollywood Reporter, lawyers representing D’Souza’s film have demanded that Google correct problems that they say are hampering the ability of consumers to find out where “America” is playing. Google, which has strong Democratic Party ties, is “misdirecting many users who mistakenly believed the film was not playing in theaters,” the lawyers charge in a letter.
‘They know my books sell’
D’Souza, noting his previous book, “Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream,” was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, told WND he has had “a very long and productive relationship with Costco.”
“They know my books sell,” he said.
Although 4,915 copies of “America” were sold in the first week and 5,592 in the second, the book mysteriously was kept off the New York Times bestseller list, where it would have ranked No. 8 and then No. 11 on the June 29 list, according to the Washington Examiner.
D’Souza noted Costco stocks a limited number of books “and chooses authors that have worked well for them – and I’m one of those.”
WND asked pointedly if he thought there was a political motive for removing the books.
“I’m beginning to be forced to come to that conclusion, because there is no other plausible explanation,” he said. “The only explanation, which is that the books aren’t selling, is transparently false, preposterous.”
He said it would be a different matter if Costco had let his book sit for a month and discovered it had only sold 12 copies.
“If Costco really wants to make that case, let them release a list of all the books they have and what the sales figures are, and let’s compare and see if my book is at the bottom of the list,” D’Souza said.
He said it’s not so much a First Amendment issue as it is one in which a company is using its power to reduce his exposure and ability to sell books.
“They’re making a free market decision to pull my book, and their customers are making a free-market decision to stop shopping there,” he said.
“And people are saying, ‘Well, you can do that, but we can cut up our Costco card, and we can go find the book in Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Sam’s Club,’ all of which, happily, are carrying the book. So, that’s America.”
He said the very political intimidation tactics he exposes in the book and the movie, articulated and popularized by 1960s radical Saul Alinsky, are being used against him.
“So, it’s happening to me, which is particularly ironic,” he said. “I think one way to fight back is just to support the movie and the book.”
In a previous interview with WND, D’Souza said the political left is coming out “screaming,” with “guns blazing,” in an attempt to dampen the audience for the film.
WND also reported the film includes scenes of a debate between D’Souza and Weather Underground co-founder Bill Ayers, whose interview with the Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly was set up by D’Souza.
In January, Obama paid a visit to a Costco store in a Washington, D.C., suburb, “proving,” as Jaime Fuller of the Washington Post commented, “that his administration’s romance with the second-largest retailer in America is stronger than ever – and might just be the most successful union of a politician and a supermarket in American history.”
Sinegal spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, which nominated President Obama for a second term.
Sinegal, who retired as Costco CEO in January 2013, said Obama’s re-election would be better for businesses than a country led by Mitt Romney.
American companies, he said, need “a president who takes the long view and makes the tough decisions,” said Sinegal.
“That’s why I am here tonight supporting President Obama, a president making an economy built to last,” he said.
Fuller said that in the 2012 campaign, Costco played “an important role in countering Walmart’s support of Republican candidates and issues while also proving an easy way for Obama to mention income inequality and smart job creation on the campaign trail.”
In total, Costco has given $100,000 to Obama and another $100,000 to Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC.
Sinegal was the author of an email blast sent out by the Obama campaign in July 2012. Obama also held a fundraiser at Sinegal’s house in Seattle, during which the incumbent president said “the story of Costco and everything that you guys have done I think is representative of what America is all about.”
Concerned individuals may contact Costco President and CEO W. Craig Jelinek by email or by calling (425) 313-8100 and/or Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Richard A. Galanti by email or by calling (425) 313-8100.