The Corner

YouTube Vs. Prager U

As an occasional host (instructor? talking person?) in Prager University videos — and a great admirer of Dennis and his team’s work — I wanted to call attention to the fact that YouTube apparently thinks smart, conservative, video lectures are a threat to the public. The Wall Street Journal summarizes:

Dennis Prager’s “PragerU” puts out free short videos on subjects “important to understanding American values”—ranging from the high cost of higher education to the motivations of Islamic State. The channel has more than 130 million views, and the spots tend to include an expert guest and background animation. As you might guess, the mini-seminars do not include violence or sexual content.

But more than 15 videos are “restricted” on YouTube, a development PragerU announced this month. This means the clips don’t show up for those who have turned on filtering—say, a parent shielding their children from explicit videos. A YouTube spokesperson told us that the setting is optional and “based on algorithms that look at a number of factors, including community flagging on videos.” Yet it’s easy to imagine a flood of users reporting a political video—microagressed college students have a lot of free time—and limiting a viewpoint’s audience.

Here are some of the topics that are apparently too sensitive to learn about and discuss freely: Did Bush Lie About Iraq?; Israel’s Legal Founding; Why Did America Fight the Korean War?; Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women? PragerU started a petition calling for YouTube to remove the restriction, and more than 66,000 people have signed.

You can sign the petition here.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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