Prager University is not exactly nationalist content. Dennis Prager has posted some genuinely cringeworthy, inaccurate, and outright embarassing things over the years [PragerU Gets American History Wrong, by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, November 7, 2018]. Yet it's also posted some good material. Whatever Prager says about VDARE.com, PragerU has an absolute right to produce its content and it deserves a platform. It's an outrage that it has been censored and throttled by Big Tech, and Dennis Prager deserves credit for speaking against it. Of course, it's just his obvious self-interest to do so, but self-defense is still far better than what most Conservatism Inc. operators are capable of.
It's not just Big Tech pushing for deplatforming. A stunning amount of contemporary journalism consists of thinly veiled calls for deplatforming, and PragerU has been a consistent target. The Los Angeles Times went after them in August. Now, The Grey Lady is complaining than PragerU is allowing students to obtain information that professors and parents haven't vetted first.
Lawrence Rosenthal [Email him] chair of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, said he has noticed an impact from PragerU’s content. “It sits at this border between going off a cliff into conspiracy thinking and extreme kinds of prejudices in the name of anti-political correctness,” he said.
On PragerU’s website, there is little differentiation between its video presenters. So the late Pulitzer-prize winning Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer appears on the same page as Michelle Malkin, the commentator who has defended overtly racist elements of the right. There’s Bret Stephens, the New York Times Op-Ed columnist; Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host; George F. Will, the anti-Trump conservative commentator; and Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader. For a teenager approaching the site, each headshot in the same size circle, it would be hard to tell the difference between them all...
PragerU’s own experience with Big Tech has only fueled its fans’ perceptions that conservatives are the losers of the culture war. The company is suing Google, which owns YouTube, arguing that the platform is suppressing its content by marking some of its videos as restricted — and in doing so, lumping videos about the Ten Commandments in with violent or offensive content.
In PragerU’s corner is Zach Vorhies, a former YouTube employee turned whistle-blower who says liberal employees at YouTube had the ability to censor conservative content creators.
Mr. Vorhies has promoted conspiracy theories like QAnon and spread anti-Semitic messages, a pattern first reported by The Daily Beast. He is not an employee of PragerU, but they count him as a supporter, an example of the soft barrier between PragerU’s mainstream conservative allies and fans and the vast land of right-wing conspiracy.
[Right-wing Views for Generation Z, Five Minutes at a Time, by Nellie Bowles, New York Times, January 4, 2020]
What's interesting is that many journalists really do see their job as making sure information can only flow through approved channels. They "report" a story, which consists of the usual "point-and-sputter." Big Tech thus has the excuse to censor. The China-style Social Credit System that is already in place is growing more rigid and systematic every day. While there is still time, Republicans desperately need to force Big Tech to respect free speech online, lest even their milquetoast outlets by PragerU be stranded.
What's especially interesting is that a recent study says that the "radicalization" narrative is bunk [Algorithmic Extremism: Examining YouTube's Rabbit Hole of Radicalization, by Mark Ledwich and Anna Zaitsev, Arxiv.org, December 24, 2019]. YouTube's algorithm, as to be expected, discriminates against conservatives and funnels people away from nationalist content.
1. I worked with Anna Zaitsev (Berkely postdoc) to study YouTube recommendation radicalization. We painstakingly collected and grouped channels (768) and recommendations (23M) and found that the algo has a deradicalizing influence.— Mark Ledwich (@mark_ledwich) December 28, 2019
The comment section on the New York Times's tweet is dominated by conservatives. But even the Conservatism Inc. bluechecks are at the mercy of Big Tech, and I expect if/when President Trump is out of office, the purges will begin for real. There will be nothing to stop them.
Where is President Donald Trump on this? Without the relatively free Internet in 2015, he wouldn't have been elected. Unless he stops "monitoring" the situation and does something, he won't be in 2020.