PragerU

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PragerU
Prager University Logo.png
Formation 2009
Founders Dennis Prager
Allen Estrin
Website www.prageru.com

PragerU (short for Prager University) is an American non-profit organization that creates videos on various political, economic, and philosophical topics from a conservative perspective. The videos are posted on YouTube and usually feature a speaker who gives a mini-lecture for about five minutes.[1] Despite having "University" in its name, PragerU is not an academic institution, does not hold classes, and does not grant certifications or diplomas.[2]

History[edit]

PragerU was founded in 2009 by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager and radio producer and screenwriter Allen Estrin,[3] in order to present his conservative views and to offset what he regards as the undermining of college education by the left.[4][5] PragerU is based in the San Fernando Valley and had more than 20 employees as of March 2018.[6]

Two of PragerU's largest donors are the hydraulic fracturing billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks.[6] Two members of the Wilks family are on PragerU's board.[6] The organization has a $10 million annual budget, of which it spends more than 40% on marketing.[6]

Since a lawsuit over the use of a photograph in 2013, PragerU has used animation in its videos.[7] As of 4 April 2018, its YouTube channel included 376 videos.[8] The organization depends on donations. According to its CEO, Marissa Streit, a group of approximately 500 students, "PragerFORCE", promotes its videos.[5] PragerU is on track for a billion views in 2018.[6]

Google lawsuit[edit]

On October 23, 2017, PragerU filed a federal lawsuit against Google claiming that 37 of its videos were unfairly demonetized or flagged so that they could only be viewed with restricted mode disabled.[9] The restricted mode filter "limits views based on certain characteristics, including the age of the viewer".[9] On March 26, 2018, the case was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, who ruled that because Google was a private company PragerU had failed to show that it had infringed its free speech rights.[10]

YouTube fact-checking on climate change[edit]

In August 2018, when asked to comment, PragerU criticized YouTube for adding fact-checks to YouTube videos which cover climate change. [11]

Content[edit]

PragerU releases one video per week on various topics from a conservative viewpoint. It does not generally cover contemporary American politics as they are covered by news outlets. For example, as of March 2018, PragerU had no videos about Donald Trump or DACA. Each video costs between $25,000 and $30,000 to create.[6]

Videos on PragerU have defended capitalism, argued against a $15 minimum wage, argued that gun ownership is a right, and argued that the media cannot be trusted. In one video, a presenter argues that "racism, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, and Islamophobia" are "meaningless buzzwords". In a video on the alt-right, a PragerU presenter argues that it is similar to the American Left, saying "the alt-Right has nothing in common with conservatism, and is in fact much closer to leftism... Except of course, the left is much, much larger."[6]

Other PragerU videos defend the Electoral College, arguing that "pure democracies do not work" and that the electoral college thwarts voter fraud. Some argue against the scientific consensus on climate change, that police do not discriminate against African-Americans and that the gender pay gap does not exist.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "YouTube restricts access to Alan Dershowitz video". Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray October 14, 2016
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". PragerU. 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2018-07-20. 
  3. ^ a b "Inside the right-wing YouTube empire that's quietly turning millennials into conservatives". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2018-05-25. 
  4. ^ Hiawatha Bray (October 14, 2016). "YouTube restricts access to Dershowitz video". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Lisa Klug (June 14, 2017). "Super-conservative PragerU aims to arm pro-Israel students for their campus 'wastelands'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved August 28, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Bernstein, Joseph. "How PragerU Is Winning The Right Wing Culture War Without Donald Trump". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-03-12. 
  7. ^ Donnelly, Madaline (November 4, 2015). "How Dennis Prager’s Conservative Online University Reaches Millions." DailySignal.com. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Uploads from PragerU". YouTube. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Mullin, Joe (2017-10-25). "PragerU sues YouTube, says it censors conservative videos". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  10. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (March 27, 2018). "Google defeats lawsuit claiming YouTube censors conservatives". Reuters. 
  11. ^ "YouTube Is Now Fact-Checking Videos About Climate Change". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2018-08-08. 

External links[edit]