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Date published 2021-08-27
Curation date 2021-08-27
Curator Dr. Victoria A. Stuart, Ph.D.
Editorial practice Refer here  |  Dates: yyyy-mm-dd
Summary PragerU, short for Prager University, is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit media company that creates videos on various political, economic, and sociological topics from an American conservative perspective
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PragerU logo
Name PragerU
Nationality American
Founded 2009
Type 501(c)(3) non-profit
Genre current affairs  |  politics
Areas served United States
Revenue 2020: $28 million
Expenses 2020: $28 million
Staff 44
Description Non-academic, pseudoscience-promoting organization advancing "Judeo-Christian" values.
Known for
  • anti-LGBT hatred
  • conservatism
  • conspiracy theories (e.g. climate change denial)
  • disinformation
  • educational infiltration, reform
  • racial intolerance  |  xenophobia
  • support for Trump administration
Influencer of


PragerU, short for Prager University, is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit media company that creates videos on various political, economic, and sociological topics from an American conservative perspective. The organization was co-founded by Allen Estrin and talk show host and writer Dennis Prager in 2009. PragerU relies on tax-deductible donations, and much of its early funding came from billionaires Dan Wilks and Farris Wilks.

Despite the name, PragerU is not an academic institution and does not hold classes, does not grant certifications or diplomas, and is not accredited by any recognized body. PragerU's videos, which cover a range of topics including climate change denial, racial issues, and opposition to immigration have been criticized for misleading or factually incorrect content.


PragerU was founded in 2011 by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager and radio producer and screenwriter Allen Estrin, in order to advocate for conservative views and to offset what Prager regards as the undermining of college education by the left. The two originally considered making it a brick-and-mortar university, but the idea was revised into a digital product to save money. PragerU is based in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California, and it had around 50 employees as of January 2020. PragerU encourages students to join "PragerFORCE," an international student organisation to promote PragerU's videos and ideology, about 6,500 college and high school students promoted its videos as of 2020.

Since a lawsuit over the use of a photograph in 2013, PragerU has used animation in its videos. PragerU reached a billion views in 2018.

In July 2019, PragerU representative Allen Estrin attended then-United States President Donald Trump's Social Media Summit, along with other conservative organizations and people such as Charlie Kirk and James O'Keefe.

In the fall of 2020, PragerU started fundraising for PragerU Resources for Educators and Parents (PREP), a program targeted towards kindergarten and school-aged children. PREP released its first content on April 5, 2021.

Conflicts With YouTube and Facebook

In October 2016, PragerU claimed that YouTube had put 21 of PragerU's videos in the "restricted mode" setting, which ensures content is age appropriate. YouTube responded, saying: "We aim to apply the same standards to everyone and we don't censor anyone. Often it's not the right approach to say that videos with the same topic should get the same rating. We'll need to take into consideration what the intent of the video is, what the focus of the video is, what the surrounding metadata of the video explains."

In October 2017, PragerU filed a federal lawsuit against YouTube's parent company, Google, claiming that 37 of its videos were unfairly demonetized or flagged so that they could only be viewed with "restricted mode filtering," which limits views based on viewer characteristics such as age. PragerU claimed that Google's demonetization and flagging violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by arguing that YouTube was a public forum. In March 2018, U.S. District Judge   Lucy Koh dismissed the case, ruling that because Google was a private company, PragerU had failed to show that Google had infringed its free speech rights. In February 2020, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this ruling.

In 2018, YouTube added fact-checks containing basic information about climate change to PragerU's videos about the topic [re: promotion of climate change denial by PragerU].

In August 2018, Facebook removed two PragerU videos from its platform. It later restored the videos, saying that they "were mistakenly removed." According to Francesca Tripodi, Professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill, there are plausible non-ideological explanations for Facebook's removal of several of the videos. PragerU contended that Facebook had engaged in deliberate censorship.


The organization depends on donations to produce its content. Much of PragerU's early funding came from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) billionaires Dan Wilks and Farris Wilks. Two members of the Wilks family sit on PragerU's board. The next-largest donor is the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Other donors include the Morgan Family Foundation,   Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, DonorsTrust, the late Republican Party megadonor Sheldon AdelsonLee Roy Mitchell, and the Minnesota-based Sid and Carol Verdoorn Foundation, led by former C.H. Robinson CEO Sid Verdoorn.

As of 2018, the organization reportedly had a $10 million annual budget, of which it spent more than 40% on marketing. In 2020, PragerU reported to have received about $28 million in revenues, most of it from donations, and reported approximately $28 million in expenditures, with 39% going into marketing. PragerU consistently spends more on Facebook advertising than major political campaigns and national advocacy groups. In 2019, it ranked among the 10 biggest political spenders on the platform.

In 2020, PragerU received $704,057 in COVID-19 relief loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.


PragerU releases one video per week on various topics from a conservative viewpoint that according to its site "advances Judeo-Christian values." Its videos, although topical, largely avoid mentioning former U.S. President Donald Trump  [Comment: likely for optimization of search engine optimization]. As of May 2020, its YouTube channel included 968 videos. Each video costs between $25,000 and $30,000 to create. Some prominent video presenters have included Tucker Carlson,   Nigel Farage,   Charles Krauthammer,   Michelle Malkin,   Bret Stephens, and George Will.

Among topics covered, PragerU videos have argued against a $15 minimum wage, against increased gun control, and in support of capitalism. Dave Rubin stated in a video that: "racism, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, and Islamophobia" are "meaningless buzzwords." In a video about the alt-right,   Michael Knowles argued that it has nothing in common with conservatism and instead is close to leftism, except the left is much larger. PragerU videos also promote the Electoral College, arguing that it thwarts voter fraud and that "pure democracies do not work."

Climate Feedback,   Reuters, and the Weather Channel have found that PragerU's videos promote inaccurate and misleading claims about climate change [promotion of climate change denial by PragerU]. Over a dozen videos promote fossil fuels and dispute the scientific consensus on climate change  [see also: The Reason Fossil Fuel Companies Are Finally Reckoning With Climate Change]. According to the non-profit think tank InfluenceMap, targeted ads posted on Facebook included misleading material that cast doubt on science, framed climatic concerns as ideological and hysteria and promoted a conspiracy theory that "big government control" is the real motivation behind energy policies to reduce gas emissions.

By 2015, PragerU developed two partnership programs to promote its views, including religious material, in public and private schools. PragerU's Educator Program supplies teachers with lesson plans and study guides that accompany their videos. Secondary school teachers and college professors can register their classes through PragerU's Academic Partnership program, which lets students sign up and allows teachers to monitor their students' progress.


According to a 2019 report in the Los Angeles Times, PragerU videos have been watched more than 2 billion times and were becoming a staple on college campuses. In its 2020 annual report, PragerU stated that its videos have received over 4 billion lifetime views.PragerU has ranked highly in influence compared to other free-market advocacy organizations, such as Reason magazine, and National Review.

Vanity Fair said PragerU "packages right-wing social concepts into slick videos" and that PragerU was "one of the most effective conversion tools for young conservatives."

Sociologist Francesca Tripodi has studied PragerU's marketing and messaging for the nonprofit Data & Society. She found that PragerU relies on search engine optimization and "suggested content" to market its videos. She noted that PragerU was popular among the respondents in her study and that they all either liked or shared PragerU videos on Facebook. Tripodi argued that PragerU allows viewers to dabble in content that "makes connections to" the alt-right's talking points. In this way, viewers identifying as mainline conservatives gain "easy access to logic." She also demonstrated an algorithmic connection on YouTube between PragerU, Fox News, and alt-right personalities.

A Buzzfeed News article published in 2018 attributed PragerU's success to the quality of its production values compared to similar outlets and to its use of popular presenters with established audiences. The article also noted that it had received comparatively little attention from news and media analysts due to PragerU's lack of coverage of topical issues, such as Donald Trump.

In an August 2019 article written by Drew Anderson of GLAAD, an LGBT media monitoring organization, Anderson noted PragerU's ties to white supremacy and white supremacists, and also noted PragerU's "horrific anti-LGBTQ record."

Reason has criticized PragerU's claims of being censored by big tech companies  [related: Internet Accountability Project] for being false, as the company's content had not been removed from any social media platforms, and that they indicate a misunderstanding of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as protecting a party from any type of censorship, when that law merely protects content from censorship by the government.

Some PragerU videos claim that the gender pay gap does not exist and, according to Mother Jones, argue that there is no police discrimination toward African-Americans.

According to Joseph McCarthy of Weather Channel, in one of the organization's videos, fossil fuel proponent Alex Epstein promotes misinformation about climate change [promotion of climate change denial by PragerU], including false and misleading claims.

PragerU's coverage of COVID-19 has been criticized for spreading false and misleading information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, Mike Gravel, a former United States Senator from Alaska, launched The Gravel Institute, , progressive left-leaning think tank, to counteract PragerU.

Criticisms of Videos

Historian Paul Gottfried, who has written extensively on the subject of fascism, harshly criticized a PragerU video hosted by Dinesh D'Souza which stated that fascism was a leftist ideology. D'Souza maintained that Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who influenced Italian fascism, was a leftist, to which Gottfried noted that this contradicted the research by almost all scholars of Gentile's work who view him as a distinguished intellectual of the revolutionary right.

Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute criticized a 2018 PragerU video by Michelle Malkin that argued for stricter restrictions on immigration. Nowrasteh wrote that the video was full of errors and half-truths and omitted relevant information.

In 2018, the PragerU video "The Suicide of Europe" by Douglas Murray argued that Europe is "committing suicide" by allowing mass immigration. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described the video as a "dog whistle to the extreme right." Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League described it as "filled with anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric." "Why Did the Democratic South Become Republican?" is another video that the SPLC says contains such dog whistles. In this video, Vanderbilt University professor Carol M. Swain argues that the Southern strategy, the political strategy which saw the Republican Party exploit racial tensions to appeal to white Southerners, was false revisionism. History professor Kevin M. Kruse said that the video presented a "distortion" of history, "cherry-picked" its evidence, and was an "exercise in attacking a straw man."

In June 2020, Snopes criticized the video "How To End White Privilege," which argued that white privilege is a myth because a black police officer's race did not provide a barrier to his success. According to Snopes, recent history and statistics indicate that white privilege still exists.

In October 2020, Gita Jackson of Vice noted that "There's already a cottage industry of YouTubers trying to debunk PragerU."

Addendum: PragerU Cofounder Dennis Prager

  • Source for this subsection: Wikipedia.

  • Dennis Mark Prager (born August 2, 1948) is an American conservative radio talk show host and writer. His initial political work concerned Soviet Jews who were unable to emigrate. Dennis Prager gradually began offering more and broader commentary on politics. His views generally align with social conservatism. In 2009, he co-founded PragerU, an American non-profit organization that creates five-minute videos on various political, economic, and philosophical topics from an American conservative perspective.

    Dennis Prager is the host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show Dennis Prager Show, produced by PragerU cofounder Allen Estrin.

    Dennis Prager: Political Views

    In 1994 the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published a report on antisemitism in the Christian right movement; Prager, who aligned with the social and political conservatism of the Christian right, attacked the ADL and its report. In 1995 he urged conservative Jews to be open to working with conservative Christians, like the Christian Coalition. In 1995 Dennis Prager named Jacob Petuchowski,   Eliezer Berkovits,   Harold Kushner,   C.S. Lewis,   Richard John Neuhaus,   Michael Novak, and George Gilder as the people who had influenced his theology the most.

    In 1995 Prager criticized the Illinois Supreme Court decision in the Baby Richard case that removed a child from his adoptive parents. With KABC he held a "Rally for Baby Richard," where he got support from actors Priscilla Presley,   Tom Selleck, and John McCook.

    In 1996 Prager testified in Congress in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act. Prager testified that "the acceptance of homosexuality as the equal of heterosexual marital love signifies the decline of Western civilization." Prager worked with Bob Dole's campaign in the United States 1996 presidential election; when polls prior to the election showed that the Dole campaign did not have much Jewish support, Prager said this was because "American Jews are ignorant regarding the anti Israel aspects of the current Democratic Party."

    Since 1999, Dennis Prager has hosted a nationally syndicated talk show on the socially and politically conservative Christian radio station KRLA in Los Angeles. KRLA is part of the Salem Media Group that carries other conservative hosts, including James Dobson,   Randall Terry,   Janet Parshall,   Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder. KRLA is a key voice of the Christian right that seeks to change American politics as well as the way that individual people live.

    In 2003, Dennis Prager considered running for the US Senate against Barbara Boxer in the United States 2004 election.

    In 2006, Prager criticized Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, for announcing that he would use the Quran for the reenactment of his swearing in ceremony. Prager wrote: "Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress." In response, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch called for Prager to end his service on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council.

    In 2009 Prager joined other Salem Radio Network hosts to oppose the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). In 2014, while same-sex marriage in the United States was in process of being legalized, he wrote that if that were to happen, then "there is no plausible argument for denying polygamous relationships, or brothers and sisters, or parents and adult children, the right to marry." In 2014, he also said that the "heterosexual AIDS" crisis was something "entirely manufactured by the Left."

    Prager endorsed Donald Trump in the United States 2016 presidential election, but said that Trump was his "17th choice out of 17 candidates." He clarified that he "was not a Trump supporter, when there was a choice" but added, "There is no choice now." Prager had previously said that Trump was "unfit to be a presidential candidate, let alone president." Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic described how Trump's adultery, character assassination of others, embrace of torture, bad behavior, whining, and use of profanity violate values and principles that Prager has upheld as essential to civil life and noted that Prager had said that endorsing Trump was in line with his principles because "we hold that defeating Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, and the Left is also a principle. And that it is the greater principle." Friedersdorf wrote, "If that's all principle means now, we haven't much need for public moralists to write weekly columns with appeals to Judeo-Christian ethics and the importance of good character. Just pick the political party you like best and let the ends justify the means on its behalf."

    In 2017, Prager was invited to be a guest conductor for the volunteer orchestra of Santa Monica, California, as part of a fundraising concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Some of the orchestra members protested the invitation, which they considered promoting bigotry. The orchestra leader had invited Prager because he admired him, as Prager often discussed and promoted classical music on his shows and had guest-conducted a few times in the past, and because he thought Prager's presence might help raise more money. Guido Lamell, music director of the Santa Monica Symphony, in spite of the controversy surrounding Prager's presence, called Prager "a great man, leader and friend."

    In February 2020, Dennis Prager told a caller: "Of course you should never call anybody the , that's despicable," but complained about the word itself being considered unacceptable. In April 2020, Prager called the COVID-19 lockdowns "the greatest mistake in the history of humanity." He was subsequently criticized in the media for misrepresenting the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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