ON-Lion Letter

YouTube, which generally prides itself on the free exchange of information has begun banning Prager University videos on matters of the public interest. In an ironic twist, YouTube recently restricted a video on free speech entitled “The Dark Art of Political Intimidation” by author and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel, claiming it was “potentially objectionable”. This is one of more than fifteen PragerU videos that have been restricted.

PragerU regularly produces and freely disseminates a series of videos on the American Idea and topics of popular concern. More than a hundred videos are available on subjects like the Electoral College, gun control, and why big companies leave the United States.

“The Dark Art of Political Intimidation”, based on Ms. Strassel’s book The Intimidation Game, details the ways in which progressives have used the power of government to shut down the First Amendment rights of Americans around the country. “The object of this very real game is to make political opponents pay a a high price for expressing their opinions,” she says in the video.  “It was a standard technique in the Jim Crow south in the 1950’s. It was used by racist southern Democrats to shut up black civil rights groups like the NAACP. And now these tactics have been revived and improved upon by today’s Democratic party and their allies on the Progressive Left. They want to shut up conservatives just like racists once wanted to shut up blacks and their liberal supporters.” 

YouTube has a feature which permits users to limit access to the full range of its content, presumably intended for parents to shield their children. But the algorithm also takes into account “community flagging” making it possible for anyone who is offended to mark a video for restriction. The restrictions mean that the videos cannot be accessed by schools, libraries, or by young people whose parents are concerned about obscenity on the internet.

Apparently topics like free speech, diversity, Islamic extremism, and the Korean War are too controversial for general viewing.

Although a Wall Street Journal column reports that its inquiries led to the removal of restrictions on Ms. Strassel’s video, the other videos remain blocked. 

Prager University is a grantee of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and Ms. Strassel is a past winner of the Bradley Prize.


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