Accuracy in Media

ted cruz nyt book dispute

After being omitted from The New York Times bestseller list last week, despite strong sales, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) book A Time for Truth debuts this week at No. 7.

The Times excluded the book from its list last week due to what they said was an “overwhelming preponderance of evidence…that sales [of Cruz’s book] were limited to strategic bulk purchases.”

That claim was disputed by both the publisher, Harper Collins, and online retailing giant Amazon, which said that they had found no evidence of bulk sales.

Sen. Cruz called on the Times to produce evidence of the alleged bulk sales, which of course they refused to do, since they didn’t have any.

In an email to The Hill, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy explained how the paper compiles the bestseller list:

This week’s NYT best seller list was arrived at using the same process as last week’s — and the week before that. That process involves a careful analysis of data, and is not influenced in any way by the content of a book, or by pressure from publishers or book sellers.

Our approach serves Times readers by authenticating broadly popular books through the confidential reporting of a wide range of retailers. In order to avoid compromising that process, we do not disclose who reports sales to us.

Cruz was pleased to learn that his book made it onto the bestseller list, but called on the public editor to investigate the paper’s methodology to ensure that this type of blatant discrimination doesn’t occur again.

That’s unlikely to happen, but this incident does expose how the list is subject to manipulation by those compiling it.

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