PRAGER U v. YOUTUBE: Yes It’s Unfair, Live With It

Posted on November 2, 2017 by

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By: Christian Rogers

Today’s Quote

“It is just wrong that in 2017, you can lose your job, lose your home, or—if this administration gets its way—be denied a wedding cake simply because of who you are or who you love.” – Hillary Clinton

 

 

Time Check

November 2, 1921 – Margaret Sanger’s National Birth Control League combined with Mary Ware Denetts Voluntary Parenthood League to form the American Birth Control League.

November 2, 1962 – U.S. President Kennedy announced that the U.S.S.R. was dismantling the missile sites in Cuba.

November 2, 2001 – The computer-animated movie “Monsters, Inc.” opened. The film recorded the best debut ever for an animated film and the 6th best of all time.

 


 

 

 

 

 

real time

Iss. 65

November 2, 2017

 

Dear Thinkers,

 

You may know, last week Prager University, a nonprofit founded by national Salem Radio host, Dennis Prager, initiated a lawsuit against YouTube. Alphabet Inc’s Google, the parent company of (several subsidiaries including )YouTube has restricted and demonetized over 50 YouTube videos published by the PragerU channel. It seems apparent that PragerU is being targeted for no good reason other than the premise that they aim to educate from an intellectually-conservative vantage. Yet, many of the videos receiving such scrutiny, ostensibly, do not necessarily promote values that are exclusive to Conservatives. For instance, of the videos banned, some include, “The Ten Commandments: 6. Do Not Murder,”  “Why Did America Fight the Korean War?” and “Why America’s Military Must Be Strong.” Seemingly, these titles should not be the least bit offensive to the average person, nor the political Left for that matter. In fact, the titles listed above, are, by no means partisan issues—at least they weren’t in the past. (For a comprehensive list of the videos that were barred, click here).

Prager University’s website states,

 

In correspondence cited in the filing, Google/YouTube made it clear that the censorship of certain videos was because they were deemed “inappropriate” for younger audiences.”

 

Aside from the glaring revelation that Google, the Left-leaning tech behemoth, has shown their true colors, taking the stance that 1. They find it unfit to teach that America ought to have a strong military, and 2. They have outlawed the instruction of history topics like the Korean War, there is an incomprehensible moral error here that craves immediate attention. The most pressing flaw on their behalf comes forth in their inability to process the deeply hateful and polarizing stance that murder is somehow wrong (that was sarcasm by the way). But that’s right, it’s no joke, PragerU’s video on the basis of ethics, on the bedrock of every legal society, The Ten Commandments (in this case, the elementary lesson: why murder is bad), is now forbidden from being taught to children because videos like this are now flagged “inappropriate”. Truly bizarre.

Conservative Media’s Crisis

So now you know the reason for the case. And as far as any free-thinking liberal is concerned (a classic liberal includes anyone who recognizes the right to free speech among other intrinsic rights), you know who is right and who is wrong here. To add insult to injury, Google and YouTube claim to harbor the ideology that “voices matter.” This appears to be the case, unless of course, you are a Conservative. Sound familiar?

Furthermore, YouTube states that they are “committed to fostering a community where everyone’s voice can be heard.” May I reiterate, you needn’t be ‘on the right’ (politically) to recognize that Google and YouTube are in the wrong. In a statement, Dennis Prager noted,

“Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech in not only California, but the United States, and the world.”

Prager cannot be more spot on. Actually, he may well be underselling the dire fate facing free speech in the modern, 21st century forum. Google (much like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and a dozen other tech giants) has an overwhelming levy of influence. Almost all of these Silicon Valley firms subscribe to some version of trademark-Leftist ideology. (Remember the incident with Mozilla’s CEO who was pressured to step down because of his ‘evil’ views on traditional marriage) If and when these companies begin to stomp out dissenting viewpoints, then very important debates—debates in which both sides have had an even playing field for years—will cease to be heard. Friends, we should welcome a marketplace of ideas and let the best one win. If your side must silence the opponent in order to be seen as credible, well then, NEWSFLASH you may not actually have the winning ideas.

With 1.3 Billion YouTube users worldwide, and an estimated 44% of Americans getting their news from Facebook alone, it is not difficult to foresee the dim future for Conservative media. What if Google just decided overnight that they wanted to tailor their search algorithm to prefer the particular political outlook that the company favors. Forget censorship! What if they simply decide that Leftism = good, sending that information straight to the top, and Conservatism = less important, which would make it the secondary option for information.  When you search for material, you therefore, will only be getting one side! This is especially crucial because of the (unsurprising) trend that humans are lazy. Instead of doing research on an issue, reading multiple sources, and comparing their merits, we instead are far more likely to read headlines rather than the story and click on only the first or second search result. Much like “four legs good, 2 legs bad,” on Orwell’s Animal Farm, tech companies can now mold opinion however they see fit and make us all into loyal, ignorant, sheep. The sheep takes whatever the pigs tell you at face value. The contemporary propagandist actually feeds us misinformation through our own keyboard. That is a phenomenon Orwell’s Animals could only dream of. 

Dear thinkers, I know it sounds a bit odd but this is not all that far fetched, this week FastCompany published an article stating that,

Google, in response to growing public criticism since that time, has created initiatives to address the problem of fake news. In April, the search giant announced an effort to tweak its algorithm, codenamed “Project Owl,” to stop “the spread of blatantly misleading, low-quality, offensive, or downright false information” polluting its search results, as engineering VP Ben Gomes said in a company blog post.

Great. I’m sure they only have the best intentions (that’s not sarcasm). I’m sure they’re sincere in attempting to weed out fake news, which has become a solemn predicament. Fair enough, we’re all for the happy owl project or whatever it’s called. But what if algorithms (which are written by humans) happen to single out sites and channels like Prager University as #fakenews! It’s not that far fetched…

 

Who has the Law on their Side?

Since YouTube claims to be open to all voices, PragerU may stand to have a viable case. According to the Hollywood Reporter:

To prevail on a claim that YouTube is violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Prager will probably need to convince the judge that YouTube has transcended its private ownership to be a public forum with at least some guarantee of access.

But Who is really Right?

Aside from the legal realm though is the court of right and wrong (yes that may be news for some people, Legal decisions do not always mirror ethical purity). What I will say, which may come as a surprise, is that I think it unwise and mildly precarious for us to set a precedent where the government and the courts mandate that a private business, like Google, comply with what the government deems their policy. As inconvenient and as wrong as Google’s behavior may be, their vast efficacy still pales in contrast to the full extent of the U.S. Government. Google, in all their glory, still lacks a military, a police force, courts, legislators and an FBI. They do not require us to pay them with tax dollars, and they may have a history of banning free speech, but at the time, they still lack an IRS who has a history of targeting Conservative groups.

This, I contend, is what PragerU is blind to. Establishing this precedent runs contrary to everything that a Conservative institution ought to teach. And it is my belief that they would most likely agree with me if they were removed from the fog of the controversy.

When the government mandates that a baker bake a cake for a gay couple or that a video forum play videos that run contrary to their core values (and I know that Google’s actions here have been anything but forthright), then you find yourself in a less free society—even more so than the danger that I have described above. Yes, Conservatives must address the pending monopoly that the Left has on speech. But as a Conservative, my friend Dennis Prager, Prager University, and I all believe in the decentralization of power, for Federalism, and for freedom and this is not the correct recourse. We believe the baker can run his business in alignment with his conscience—regardless of what the law says. It shouldn’t matter what is legally on the books. That does not determine right and wrong.  In regard to YouTube using “restricted mode” to target and discriminate against a certain group, we must live with the utterly inconvenient and unfair consequences. Forcing them to do otherwise will only undermine our core values and principlesLife is unfair! Conservatives understand this more than anyone! Is the answer to unfairness a Government charter? Since when have Conservatives abandoned competition as the answer and bought into the attack on private business? I’m sorry, though I side with Prager University, I cannot idly endorse their strategy. 

Also, Dennis Prager, an ardent proponent of President Trump, (so far as I know) has not condemned Trump’s act of blocking Twitter users. To be consistent, Prager would need to unmercifully condemn the statement written by the Trump Justice Department on this issue:

“[T]he premise of Plaintiffs’ First Amendment argument — that the President’s Twitter account is a ‘forum’ to which they have been denied access — is baseless… At most, the account is a channel for the President’s speech, and the requirement of viewpoint neutrality accordingly does not apply.”

Because, after all, if YouTube is somehow a public forum that usurps the private sector and is now a public entity (which doesn’t even make sense in any case) then isn’t the President’s Twitter account a public entity as well. If the President is espousing Policy that shapes our own lives, then why is he able to deny access to certain citizens? Who is he to pick and choose? 

I know, it’s hard. It’s outright maddening when the Left refuses to play by the same rules, it’s hard when Hillary Clinton says crap like,

“It is just wrong that in 2017, you can lose your job, lose your home, or—if this administration gets its way—be denied a wedding cake simply because of who you are or who you love.”

But in the end, there is a reason that Conservatives advocate freedom, and if we expect ourselves to be right, we must require ourselves to be consistent. A lamp that offers good light should not flicker. As you can see, I understand the circumstances of modern censorship quite well and I agree that we must address it. But in order to find a solution we mustn’t abandon our principles all in the name of spreading those principles. Wouldn’t that be pointless? Just as lying in order to gain trust is an affront to honesty, also is the Conservative that requires the government overtly intervene on their behalf. That’s Conservative-heresy! And the side that is right should not succumb to the the tactics of the side that is wrong, for that is the reason the Left is wrong to begin with. The bad team must cheat in order to win. Likewise, the wrong argument must stomp out the truth…in this case through censorship. I hope we are above that. 

 

 

Keep it Real

Christian Rogers

 

 

The Real Times- a degree in common sense…

 

~Intellectual Entertainment~

E-mail the author at: christianrogers@realtimesblog.com

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