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Tue Mar 13, 2018, 08:46 AM

Inside the Right-Wing YouTube Empire Trying to Turn Millennials Conservative

The viral videos from Dennis Prager’s “university” have clocked more than 1 billion views.

Mark Oppenheimer

In the weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, Americans flocked to the internet with pressing questions. Some inquired about immigration to Canada. Others Googled “sanctuary city.” A few wanted to know what a “manafort” was. And millions were newly curious about the Electoral College, which for the second time in recent memory was going to contravene the will of the majority. What was it? Why was it? Could electors defy their voters’ wishes?

People turned to the New York Times and the Washington Post, Fox News, and even the Constitution for answers. But few sources were as widely consulted as “Do You Understand the Electoral College?” a five-minute video hosted by retired lawyer and television pundit Tara Ross. Her genial lecture, illustrated with colorful cartoons and pop-up text—”pure democracies do not work”—can be found at Prager University, an online video portal curated by the conservative talk-radio host Dennis Prager. The Electoral College video had about 850,000 views before the election, says Allen Estrin, Prager’s producer and consigliere. “Two weeks later, it had 50 million.”

[...]

At PragerU, police are not biased against black men, and man-made climate change is debatable. You’ll find takes on animal rights (against), the $15 minimum wage (against), the gender wage gap (doesn’t exist), and why the South turned Republican (nothing to do with race). Prager has hosted a few dozen videos himself, including “Just Say ‘Merry Christmas,'” his take on the “war on Christmas” genre, and “He Wants You,” an apologia for men who ogle women. He personally approves every item, edits every script, and courts “faculty,” including heavy hitters such as Dinesh D’Souza, Steve Forbes, and former White House press secretary Dana Perino. Some presenters, like Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, are credentialed. Others, like comedian Adam Carolla, merely speak with the confidence of people who are.

[...]

These instincts—Prager the Genial Radio Host and Prager the Gloomy Prophet—merge in PragerU, whose videos are too gentle in tone for the Infowars crowd and too conservative for committed liberals. Rather, they are engineered to sway those in the mushy middle, especially young people trying to figure out what they stand for. Prager’s radio show has about 2 million weekly listeners (to Rush Limbaugh’s 14 million), but PragerU’s appeal goes well beyond the graying talk-radio audience. More than 60 percent of its viewers are younger than 35, according to YouTube analytics.

[...]

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/dennis-prager-prageru-videos-aims-sway-millennials-right/

[This thing is tax-exempt and encourages schools to use its content. Backers include fracking billionaires.]

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